PORTABILITY – General Facts

Housing Choice Vouchers are accepted by cities across the country, giving families real choice about where they live. In the Housing Choice Voucher Program the rental assistance is “portable,” which means, it “moves” with you.

Portability allows you to move with continued assistance to any housing authority in the country that has a Housing Choice voucher program.

Important Portability Facts

  • Each housing authority has its own rules, regulations and deadlines that you must follow.
  • Fair Market Rent limits or payment standards may be different.
  • The utility allowance may be different and may affect the rent amount you pay.
  • Subsidy standards may be different.
  • The new housing authority will issue you a different voucher, which may change the size (number of bedrooms).
  • When you move the new housing authority will re-verify your income.
  • When you transfer to another Housing Authority they may re-verify your household income, family composition and require a recent criminal background check.
  • If you are new to the Housing Choice Voucher Program and have not previously received rental assistance, your income must meet the Income Eligibility Limits of the area where you are transferring.


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  1. dee perez says:

    Hello, I moved from new york to PA a couple of months ago and I want to go back to new york. Does anyone know how long new york will take once the portability is received?..

    • Not long, I ported from ny to California, it was easy, now its been 2 years I wanna head back to ny as well, it shouldn’t be hard, however in california am seeing all kind of crazy stuff about billin and absorbing, I hope I don’t get stuck out west, but am sure ny has absorbing policies

    • I just moved to va from ny in august and I want to go back, as well . with the commonwealth states they say request your port 60 days before your lease is up I say about 90 days cause ny is over loaded with cases . and make sure you call regularly. the goo thing about being billed from ny to ca or ny to va ect is the fact that our voucher still is in our home state . so we are never really residents of the state we port to. because housing is broke. so those who have vouchers don’t lose them.

  2. Tarkeya says:

    I need help finding a Housing Authority in Georgia that’s absorbing coming from Alabama?

  3. I’m looking for more info on how to transfer but I found out that they cities are doing more billing than absorbing but I can’t move because the housing authority I’m with only going to let me move if the other city is absorbing… Can I get help on this because I thought you can move without a problem

    • It depends. First off the moving regulation vary by state. What state are you in? Most states do not allow you to move within the first 12 months. But after that, it should be relatively easy (even if you move to another state). In most cases, you do have to get pre-approval so do not move without permission or you risk losing your voucher. Some states allow you simply fill out a move request form or even just call them up and get approval that way.

    • I’m in va and I stayed in my area for 12months but I still can’t get nobody to get a approval from in the areas I wanna move to

    • Can’t get an approval from who? Your landlord or Section 8? Please provide more info.

    • Its against the law for them to tell you you cant move..tell them to show you proof that they cant afford to pay for your billing..thats the only way you will not be able to go.

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      It’s not against the law for them to tell you you can’t move. If the new county you are moving into is not absorbing, then you can’t move until they are. But you can move about freely within your current county.

  4. is there a chance you can get approved to port if the ha that your coming from payment standard is lower and the city is only billing

    • It’s possible to port, but if the payment standard is lower, the voucher amount will not match what your currently receiving in all likelihood.

  5. i dont think i understand so you still will be able to port if the payment standard is lower than the location your trying to port to and there billing. I’ve been trying to move but my county had a budget cut my worker know ive been trying my best to relocate and they finally approved people to move but im thinking ill still get denied due to the fact my country payment standard is $51 less than where im trying to relocate

  6. the fair market rent where im located at for 3 bedroom is $1581 and where im trying to relocate is $1568 but the voucher payment standard for my location is $1517 and the location im going to voucher payment is the same as there fair market rent which is $1568 so i wanna know will i get denied for sure or there is a chance ill be able to get approved

    • No, that does not mean you will get denied for sure. But if the fair market is higher over there, your rent portion may be a little bit higher.

  7. the paperwork also say if you are requesting to port out to a housing authority with higher payment standard that is not absorbing your move will be denied

  8. if its my recertiftion time you are not allowed to request to around that time the county i want to relocate to is absorbing is there a way i can work around this to be able to port

    • Yes, make the request to port first (right away), and then follow up. They may make you fill out another recertification but as long as they are willing to absorb you should be okay. In the meantime, don’t neglect your current re certification. you don’t want the deadline to pass.

  9. ok so my recertification is always in december paperwork is due around the 20th when should i put the request in if the other county is absorbing around that time. also i usually get my info back from my recert around march can i also put a request in right before march or i have to wait to receive that paper

  10. I want to port to Georgia how long does the process take if I have to put in a 30 day notice and is it hard to find housing there. Do u have to pay ur own security and light down payment and water down payment. does anyone know about that.

  11. I’m trying to understand what is the billing and absorbing about? I never heard until now in California, the thing is I ported from ny to cali 2 years ago with no problem, but now I wanna head back to ny my home state, and they are saying I might be denied, if the area of ny do billing? And if its absorbing then its ok? Can someone please explain to me what’s the difference with billing and absorbing? Cause am thinkin it has to do with housing charging for the move or willing to jus maintain the move? I don’t get it, this is all new to me, I’ve never heard of this b4 and I have moved b4 in the past back east without any problems!

  12. What I can see absorbing is where the HA you move to basically pays their part of the rent Billing means that the HA.you moved from pays their part. So say you move back to ny and they are absorbing then ny will pay the rent if they are Billing then cali will pay which is probably why they said if ny is Billing you may be denied.

    • Thank you, what a mess though I really hope this all clears up, I would be devastated if I get stuck out here in cali. Hopefully not, I will look into this matter more and see where my options are at.

  13. Hi, I have a question about being considered a month-to-month tenant. I have a housing choice voucher and have fulfilled the 1-year lease requirement at my complex. So during the recertification with the PHA, I asked if I was considered a m-t-m renter now and was told “no” because the complex does not use the HUD model lease….can this be true?

  14. Hi, I want to move to Ga but dey nt paying no where near the set amount for rent plus where im at now Im eligible for a 4 bedroom dare Im only eligible for 3 dats the craziest thing I ever heard do ne1 know why plus dey go by your income now if I moved dare I wuldn have a job r income its so difficult to move but Charlotte seems to pay enough on rent for a decent place on section 8 for a three bedroom Ga only wants to pay 734 per mth dats a low price but I culdn even find ne where for dat price so it looks like im gonna have ta remain where im at so unhappy!!!!!!!

  15. does anyone know how often states change from billing to absorbing? is it a once a year thing or is everything pretty messed up with the budgets and the shutdown

  16. I am a senior and presented two letters to my worker relating that I have a cold weather caused health problem. I wanted to move and picked out an area that wasn’t too expensive. They were not absorbing, but were accepting if my pha would pay. My housing authority was giving out vouchers at the time of my request, and my worker said they wouldn’t pay. Researching this topic, it seemed to me that they should have been willing to pay. From what the worker said, they had given out a lot of vouchers. Can you help me to understand their actions? They don’t seem willing to help me at all, even in giving info about places that might be absorbing, yet Hud says they want people to be free to move. I am ill from the weather and have told them, to no avail.

  17. Just to add to my above comment as there seems to be no way to edit my above post, the two letters were from two different MD’s.

  18. T.CLINTON says:

    HA currently absorbing… Savannah, GA, TULSA,OK ,HOUSTON,TX, MIAMI,FL WINSTON,NC,Gloucester County ,NJ,WEST HARTFORD,CT. MORE TO COME

    • I called Houston tx and they told me that there billing how often does that change??

    • More 2 come? I really do hope this will all clear up but at least it sounds like certain areas on the east side are openin up, just waitn to here abt the counties inNYS to begin absorbing, plze! If anyone knows of absorbing in nys please do share this info, I am in desperate situation to leave and head bk east.

  19. I want to move from Hope Arkansas to Dallas but I was told that I had to find a housing choice voucher program that’s porting how do Iget sstarted what do I do first

  20. Hello I know that there are 2 counties in nj that are absorbing which is Essex Co and Gloucester Co. Do anyone know if there are more that open up since we came into a new year it should be more funding available now???


  22. Hi I am trying to port to California from Atlanta … has anyon
    e had to do this recently? Atlanta does not own my voucher Ohio does … I’m just trying to
    What up with all.these housing authority denying people moves… I thought we could move anywhere we wanted this is crazy can.someone who who know anything please contact me please

  23. I received my voucher 6 years ago and am looking into moving from Boise Idaho to Washington,Oregon or California. But with the budget cuts to the housing authoritys o think are making it difficult to port out. My question is how can I tell if I can port out without starting the porting process?

  24. As far as porting goes, make sure where ur going absorbs u, its not like u cant move, its the fact that their billing in many states, to my knowledge hopefully this will all clear up by 10/14 of this year so I was told by a housing worker in NY, am hoping b4 but jus got see what happens.

  25. Meli Mel says:

    Hi!! hope all is well with everyone!! I need to find out some information on Section 8 portability. I reside in NYC and i am currently a section 8 voucher holder. I’ve had it for about 3 years and would love to move out of NYC to NJ. Can anyone tell me how long a Portability transfer takes? i already submitted my transfer papers but if anyone deals with any type of HRA services in NYC you know they can never give you a straight answer. I was told it can take anywhere from 8weeks to 1/2 Years. .. PLEASE HELP !!!

  26. I want to transfer to another state BUT Lincoln Nebraska wont allow me to unless it is concerning Domestic Violence or a job else where. I feel its my choice to move and Nebraska is taking that away. What can I do where do I turn for help!!!

  27. renae william says:

    Section 8 changed I been trying to port the last two yrs which every place I chose they say I couldnt move there cause they voucher is higher than dauphin county, pa.everybody is billing not absorbing billing is where you move but the city you port from is responsible fir your portion of the rent where absorbing is when you move the city where you mive to is fully responsible for your rent so it makes it hard to port now.

  28. renae william says:

    Shorna so ny says it should stop billing by oct of this yr.so does tht mean all states will be absorbing again

  29. renae william says:

    Rob u must make sure they voucher is the same amount or less cause with everbody building its hard porting nowadays.so contac the housing where you want to port and ask is they voucher the same rande as yours

  30. Hi I’ve have had my voucher for 18 years in Georgia… yes 18 years!!! Right now I’m very disappointed as I’m trying to move back home to NYC just recently found out I was denied from Ga Housing Authority and that they will be billing and can’t afford NYC standard. And also the standard amount has to be the same or less than Fulton County. It does not matter how much of rent you find in an apartment, housing etc, because the Housing Authority payment is what counts!!! This is the first time in my life as I truly do know that we can move any where. I’ve NEVER heard anything like this before between “BILLING” and “ABSORBING” and it really frustration me to understand what in the world going on??? I asked Housing Authority how can I change my Georgia voucher to NYC voucher?…. she says if NYC willing to “ABSORB” my voucher and take ownership. Isn’t that true? PLEASE HELP me understand clearly (there’s nothing better for me living in Georgia and want start fresh back home cuz GREAT BENEFITS can help building my life back and get myself back on track)

  31. @ Shorna… I hope is true and hopefully this will all clear up by 10/14 as you say by NY housing worker.

  32. I am trying to port out to a not so big town in Ga from Chicago.. I took my port out papers to my office so does anyone know what the next step is? Should I wait to hear something or should I be doing anything?

  33. Oh and any pertinent info would be greatly appreciated and Thank you in advance…

  34. I have a question i live in boise the payment standard is $730.00 i want to port out to las vegas nevada there payment standard is $1038.00 they are also billing what ever that means. Can anyone explain what could go wrong during my port or will nevada deny me.


  36. Crystal says:

    Has any one ported out from Boise HA which has a lower payment standard to Nevada HA which has a much higher payment standard when Nevada HA is billing? When a receiving state is billing I heard that the initial HA can stop making payments to the receiving HA at any time and make you come back to the initial state HA who is paying the bill, is this true? I was told by my HA representive in Boise To give a 45 day notice to vacate 1st then request to port then she would issue the voucher and send paper work to Nevada. Nevada would then issue a voucher. and I can begin looking for a house. Well I gave my 45 day notice and now she won’t send my paper work until the end of May 2014 and my lease expires on June 1, 2014. My HA rep says because she dont want my voucher to expire. I dont want to be left homeless I have a child and two dogs and no family to count on to stay with temperary if the transition is not timely. What should I do?

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