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. Please explain difference between billing and absorbing

    • Hello crystal, from what I been informed absorbing is when you move to another state and they are taking new section 8 vouchers. That means they take over and they give you a new voucher with their limit standards. Billing is when you are moving to another state and they are not taking new vouchers. You can still move to that state, but your voucher will still belong to the state you moved out from. What would happen is the new housing authority will bill the housing authority from where you moved out of. That means the new housing authority will receive the checks from your original housing authority every month and they will send it to your landlord.

  2. Im trying to port from one city to another in Louisiana

  3. charlette says:

    hey I have a question I want to transfer my voucher from Alabama to California I know that I have to be in my state a year before I can do that which is fine. but how do I come about transferring?? I just want to get a head start on everything…. I wont be on a year until august 1 2015 what do I need to do? my voucher here is for a 3 bedroom roughly almost 1,300 how will that work transferring to cali? will the amount stay the same or will it change? I just want to know in advance what im dealing with if someone can please help me?

    • Rainleegen says:

      Charlotte, I urge you to call the California housing authority of which you wish to move to.
      In 2011, I transferred my voucher from Virginia to San Bernardino California and it was after I arrived that I met with my new caseworker who told me the housing authority required 90 day employment in order to accept my voucher. My portable voucher only gave me 30 days however, I was given one extension of 30 days.
      After 7 months of living in California, I moved to another state because I lost my voucher and could not find employment- not even a grocery job, even though I had clerical/accounting/management skills. Before you move, find out what they require and what their procedures are because not all housing authorities have the same rules.

  4. Mayra E Lopez says:

    Hello I have a question I just ported to Chicago from Puerto Rico my housing authority has sent my paper’s 3 different ways and my paper’s seem not to show up nor appear in none of the place they have been faxed, emailed and Mailed directly to a Mrs. Melissa Pagan AKA Montgomery but no one seems to know where my paper’s are and can’t get a hold of this person to verify that she has received my paper’s nor is my info been registered fax # give to me doesn’t seem to work what can I do so someone could return me a call to explain to me what has happened to my paper’s. I understand that I have 90 days till my paper’s are rejected by CHA Chicago . I do have my paper’s from PR housing can some one help me. please help thank you in advance my Tel# is 773-367-8091 and email mayraelopez@yahoo.com Address: 2326 N 73ct Elmwood park ILL 60707

  5. Erica Bernard says:

    Can anybody tell me the payment standard for Fulton county ga and henry county ga with out utilities and with?? 3bedroom voucher. Which county is more safe?

  6. I’m looking to move from one county to another in New York State. I’ve been on Section 8 for well over a year, but I’d like to move. How would that work? I know my current voucher is supposed to be able to be used within the the city. But I would like to move to another city, which is in another county. Where do I start, who do I need to contact?

  7. my pha portability list has not moved in 8 years they say they have nut received any funding. i have brought medical letters stating i must move to a warmer climate due to my lung condition was informed that this is not a medical necessity. is there any help for me. i do not want to continue to suffer the way iam tyvm HAPPY HOLIDAYS

  8. Can any one help me with this one all Broward County housing authority
    Given a 2 bedroom for 1 adult head of house hold with two young adults boy and girl ages 22 & 17 states they are saying that both can share a room what are they trying to do this is to not encourage you to enter into their county who wants to put there daughter that’s
    17 in a room with in their brother 22 if they were the around the same age or the same gender it wouldn’t be a problem it’s just that I do not thank its right just because we have housing that doesn’t mean to take our morals and dignity they say heartbeats a heartbeat even zoos and sciences separate males from the females until they want them to produce offspring’s in other words I would like to take my 3Bedroom with me from dade county to Broward county

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Sorry to say this but their reasoning is by age 22 your son should be out on his own.

    • If your son is on your voucher then by code 24 CFR 891.760 over occupancy . A male and female can not share a room if over the age of 6. Study the codes inform yourself and then present the facts and now one can dispute.

    • Rainleegen says:

      Linda, the housing authority often issue SINGLE parents 2 bedrooms whether they have one or three children no matter their age. It is expected that the single parent shares their room with the same-sex child. Since you are the mother, you would share a room with your daughter. The son would get the 2nd bedroom. If you become involved in an intimate relationship and would want your partner to move in, he would have to be approved prior to moving in then the housing authority would issue you a 3-bedroom.
      Just because you are an adult or “head of household” does not mean you are entitled to your own private bedroom as you are receiving government assistance. You live by their guidelines. I wouldnt complain too much on how many bedroom you do or dont have, just be glad your receiving the help so many others are still waiting for.

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Well said!

  9. I’ve been on section8 since 2011 in Humboldt County CA. I want to move to southern California but can’t find a county that will accept Portability Section 8. They all require Humboldt County to pay for the Section 8 part of the rent. Is there an easier way to find a county that will accept, pay, portibility than going county by county? I’m 61, didsblef,single female. If there is any information or ideas please let me know at 8butterfly53@gmail.com Sherry

  10. If you look up every housing authority in California early in the morning and call every last one of them you wil find one that is absorbing or call his in Washington dc good luck

  11. I am a single person in a three bedroom, but the rent is a cheap as a one bedroom apartment. I am told I have to move. this does not make sense to me,

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      I’ll need a lot more information to offer an opinion.

    • Rainleegen says:

      Rayon, based on what you said, it doesn’t make sense to me either. Each housing authority has their own set of rules but one thing they all have in common is their income guidelines. Each voucher allocates a bedroom size and an maximum rental amount according to your area. For example, if you were living in King County Washington with a 1-bedroom voucher, the maximum rent allowed would be $915. If you found a 3-bedroom for under $915, it would be allowed because your within your maximum voucher limit.
      If you are a single person (sharing) a 3-bedroom home, you would be required to move. You cannot rent-a-room or reside with other people as the housing authority would need to pre-approve your roomates/partner prior to move-in. You would need to sign a contract with only yourself alone living in the residence.

    • It’s against federal laws for one person to live in a two, three, etc bedroom apartment,period. If you were allowed multiple bedroom that means the manager broke federal laws. Probably because they needed to fill apts at that time and they cheated putting you in there.
      By law you belong in one bedroom. Plus rent goes by your income. So it should be same for one bedroom.

  12. I have a question about portability. Do they still make you wait one year after you aquire your voucher for the first time.

  13. Tonia Lindsey says:

    what if you relocate from state to state with section 8 and no income

  14. Hello my question is I have lived in Fl fortmyers on section 8 for seven years. I want to move to SC. My amount for rent now is 811.00$ will this change? Do I have to get a place with two bedrooms even if the amount of rent is in the guideline? I’m so nervous not to sigh lease here again. And not find a place or get approved I guess in sc please help me..

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Yes, the amount will change. You need to go through the proper channels to port but they should be able answer any and all questions you have. Read through the article again.

  15. Does anyone know for a new voucher recipient in Nebraska do you have to wait 12 months to port or can you port immediately ? I have been on the waiting list since october, i called the housing office and have been told yes by one person and that its a year by another ? Even if i ask around i am getting both answers. The website does not have an exact portability section like most other HUD websites……. where can I get clarity on this since the employees are giving conflicting info……. ?

  16. Are there any states that let you port immediately when approved for a voucher

  17. TINA STEVERSON says:

    I’m trying to move from Oklahoma City to Texas, I am trying to find out the steps to do so? My lease is not up until Oct. Just trying to get the details before its to late. Also I have a 4 bedroom voucher will Texas let me keep my 4 bedroom voucher and not reduce me to a 3?

  18. I am going to go to California from Arizona. I got section 8 here in Arizona. I need to take it with me to California. How do I do this? I am on some waiting lists and hope to go soon. I really want to be ready to go when they call.

  19. Section 8 to California from Arizona.

  20. Ive been on section 8 for 2years now and the county I currently reside in they say I owe them some back pay. They currently have me on a payment arrangement but what my question is… Can I still port out to another county while on this arrangement or do they have to be paid in full first?

  21. Ashley Jacobs says:

    I’m trying to port from Wisconsin to Illinois and Illinois is billing not absorbing this situation is confusing and irritating $1071 is Wisconsin amount $1300-$1800 is Illinois amount depending on the area. Can Wisconsin deny me from porting or refuse to pay because the amount is higher?? No one explained how this situation works ahead of time now that I’m ready to move I’m getting the run around HELP PLEASE

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      No, the payment amounts have nothing to do with you porting. The amounts are just different depending on the area.

    • Rainleegen says:

      Ashley, sounds like to me your in a pickle. The answer to your frightening question is “yes”. Housing Authorities try to control their state’s vouchers, how many they issued and how many or porting-in, therefore they have the option to ‘absorb’ or ‘bill’. States who choose to absorb vouchers are those who have lost vouchers and have the funding to support another voucher. Billing takes place when a housing authority has max’d its funding/voucher limits so the state who issued you voucher will be forced to pay.
      The chance of you losing your voucher after you move to Illinois is about 60/40 but this depends entirely on whether Wisconsin wants to keep the voucher or can afford to lose a voucher. A state never wants to lose a voucher because that is funding the agency loses and cannot get back. What is gone is gone. When a voucher-holder moves out of the (issuing) state where there is a higher rental rate, they often refuse to accept the billing terms. Its up to Wisconsin as to whether paying Illinois the extra $400 to $800 is worth more than losing one voucher AND if they have the extra funding to give. I’ve observed many lose their vouchers because their state would rather lose one voucher (and funding) than to pay-out more than what their voucher allotted them. If the overpayment was $100-$300 difference they would likely accept the billing terms but $400+ becomes questionable because they dont want to pay another state for a voucher they issued. If you moved to another city or county within the same state, they would accept the billing terms or just absorb it themselves. States try to keep their vouchers in their own state. For your sake, I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think I am. If things go wrong, request an extension to port back to Wisconsin so you don’t risk losing your voucher. Good Luck!

  22. Margaret Frost says:

    I am porting from Albany N.Y. to M.D. the nd housing authority has told me they can only give me 2 British voucher for myself, 2 grandkids boy & girl 1 great grandsons????? It’s breaking it’s own laws???

  23. margaret frost says:

    I Apologize, I didn’t intentionally keep posting the same thing, I was on my cell phone and it kept stalling and I didn’t know it had gone through!!! SORRY…. question I have is my old county is Absorbing, does that mean that new county has to give me same number of bedrooms on my voucher??? thank you. lot of info and not fully understanding all of it..

  24. Lori Owens says:

    I ported from California to new york my transfer time is almost out if i can’t find a place can i go back to California and not lose my section 8 ?

    • Hello, I was wondering how did that work out for you I am currently thinking of porting from L.A to NYC?

    • I’m still trying to raise money to move. So haven’t started process yet.

    • Tina mac says:

      Yeah they said only if I could get the landlord to break lease. How do you like LA? that’s where I want to move to . Still saving to

    • Tina mac says:

      Hey how is LA? I’m porting from Chicago there but they said there downsizing bedrooms

  25. Michelle says:

    I am going to port but ,I need to stay with a relative till I find a place to live. What happens while I am in limbo? I can’t afford to take a trip from one state to another to look for a place ahead of time. Anyone know the answer? Thanks

  26. Would like to relocate to Richmond County housing authority I am in need of a one bedroom apartment, currently residing in new haven conneticut my lease is up July 31, 2015 please inform what steps I need to make this process happen asap. Thanks with your assistance in this matter. 2036661178

  27. Hello All,

    I’m wondering how do I begin to transfer my voucher from Iowa to California (my home state).

    I have been living in Iowa for 3 years and I’m ready to go home, but this is my first year on section 8. My lease will be up in October and i need to know where do I begin and how long the process takes to transfer.

    Please help!!!

  28. Trying to transfer my Chicago voucher to las vegas.

    • Hi, I am porting to Vegas too!
      I was wondering about the difference in payments from Houston to Vegas, I called and spoke with someone and they answered a few questions. Try calling them.
      But what I can say is that they will take at least 30 days before completing your case, so therefore you would have to fend for yourself until then. Two bedrooms with utilities are $1038 there.

  29. Hi.. I’m moving to New Orleans from Gulfport, New Orleans are only doing billing.. My voucher now is only $660 for a 2 bedroom.. Will I have to find something $660 or will it possibly go up due to cost of living? Can my voucher size be upgraded.. My girls are 14,10 and 4? Please help

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Voucher size won’t change but the amount will fluctuate based on the county you’re in.

    • I had a 3 bd voucher before I got ported to Gulfport.. Then Gulfport gave me a 2

  30. ms peaches says:

    Hi I was wondering I want to move from mn to Vegas I have a two bedroom voucher my son is 12 years old will Vegas make me downgrade to a one bedroom sense I only have one child or how does it work when transferring vouchers

  31. I am finding that it seems easy to port a voucher, but when you are doing it in reality it is an entirely different matter..I am finding it difficult to get Ny to absorb the Fla voucher I have. It is so stressful and to make it more difficult, many of the PHA’s are total Section 8 housing Nazi’s..they talk down to you, they are rude more than not.
    It is not easy.

    • I am currently living in whatcom county WA and would like to port my BHA voucher to Seattle for school/work purposes. Is anyone familiar with porting to Seattle? Do I have to go through King county HA or can I go through Seattle HA? Can I port to both? Some of the apartments I’m looking at will only accept vouchers from SHA, not KCHA for whatever reason.

  32. I know that most places make you wait a year until you can use the portability option, but is there any circumstances in which they would let you use it asap???

  33. windycity says:

    I have a question i moved to las Vegas back in March 2015 from California an its not what i thought they charge u for every bill in your house a deposit was trying to see if i would be able to brake my lease earlier then march 31,2016 plus the house i live my kids cant even go out an play its two big dogs that live on both sides of me

  34. I want to know how long does the portability process take. From Baltimore to Fulton County

  35. For those who wish to port-in (portability) to New York City, it is important to know that the time frame that the state you are in defines how much time you are given to find a place. For example, in NYC they give voucher holders 120 days to find a place. Whereas, the state you are coming from will only give you 90 days. If you choose a 30 day or 90 day vacate, this will also severely affect the time you have to look for an apartment because which ever option you choose they will tell you that “you must stay in the unit until the end of the month because they paid up to that date.” Once you sign the vacate and voucher to port out the clock is begins to tick.

    Then, you’ll have to wait for NYC to call you for an appointment…etc

    Now, when you go to NYC for your briefing, they let you know that it is hard to find an apartment, let alone landlords that will be willing to rent to you. Also, be mindful that extensions are not granted as freely as in the past and you stand a chance at losing your voucher. It is a risky gamble to port into NYC, you are probably better off trying to get in while they are absorbing.

    With that said, if you are willing and able to treat your search for an apartment like a full-time job, you may stand a chance. If you are not willing to do so, I would advise you not to take that chance. These are hard times and even harder ones for people with low income. I was told that you need a realtor to find an apartment but if you do your research, know what is required and walk with a builders tape, you can do it. Always be prepared with your documents when you have an appointment to see an apartment. Dress as if you are interviewing for your dream job, emphasize your strengths as a tenant in previous apartments. For example, I always paid my rent on time, I have never been evicted and always received my security deposit back…. Also, make sure you have copies of your old leases as well. If you do find an apartment willing to rent, know that you are fortunate, be sure to have your security deposit ready to go.

    It is hard to find apartments in Queens, and Brooklyn, you may find one in Staten Island but you stand a better chance finding one in the Bronx. Don’t be too picky because before you know it you’ll have a week left and then no time left. Good luck.

  36. I lived in my home town all my life,an I applied for section 8 , 4 years ago now that my name is at the top of the list I live in another town can I port to my me town with out having to stay in my home town 12 months bc I already work and go to school in the new town. Which by the way are different counties. Is there some kind of rule or something they can brake to allow me to port out my voucher bc if not I’ll have to quit working and going to school just to move back home. Back home there’s no jobs hardly an not any schools for miles what can I do to make them see that it’s better for my future if I port out.

  37. Hi,, I’m moving. To new Orleans from Gulfport! New Orleans is only billing.. Can they downsize my voucher because Gulfport just upgrade me to a 3??

  38. Trying to move from Chicago to Phoenix Glendale. .how much is 2 bedroom going for on section 8 ..

  39. Will I know what the New RENT will be before I move. I have to know before I move or I’ll be homeless.
    I’m having an impossible time raising money to move. Any ideas.

    • You can apply for welfare help, they have a application you can fill out especially for security deposits and other housing problems

    • As far as your impossible time raising money… Now the initial question, I’m not sure.

  40. Kanera williams says:

    I wanted to port my voucher to another city but got new position at the job I’m working at an want to stay in the city I’m in now is it possible for me to stay or will I have to continue with my porting

  41. I will like to know I moved my section 8 to monroe country p.a do that mean I have to stay in that country or can I move it to different party

  42. shaneka says:

    I’m moving to North Carolina can some one tell me if Gaston county is absorbing if not then of any very close by county at less 30mins close that is absorbing thanks

  43. Hi we are looking to move from NH to Florida currently if can rent a place up to $1500 and idea how it works for me to transfer and what’s the amount for a voucher in Florida for a 3 bedrooms.

    • D. Motley says:

      I live in Bx, NY. Have a 2 bdrm. Been here for 39 years, since building opened up!! Was MitchellLama up until 2006. Worked up to.Retirement. 2003. Mostly ALL tenants got NYC Vouchers n 2006.
      I want to move to another New development/ in Bx or Harlem. I am one person, they will only allow *Studio.. I have 2 bdrm apt.Since 1989, I pay extra to keep it. Why do I have to downgrade so far. I would appreciate at least a 1 bedroom!! They will allow me to stay here in this 2 bedroom, / .. I was told if I move to another state. I can get 2 bedrooms/ and not have to lose out. I am considering Va., or Florida definetly n 2016. Is this true? I want to get all I can. I have worked all my Life and now receive SS. Its been nice here. But the move n rules or Not the Same. The people too, along with the drug situation in the building, for the past 3 years.And 2 Pit Bulls on my floor. **All advise is helpful and thanks. DESPARATE!!

  44. Tina mac says:

    I want to relocate to Cali from Chicago the thing is my new lease has started already but I been here for three years is it still possible for me to port after I signed my new lease?! Please help emergency

  45. i want to port out my section 8 voucher to another city because of medical condition and there is no sAfe place in Vallejo that section 8 can my doctor write me a letter

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Why would your location affect your medical condition? Unless there is a very valid reason, a doctor’s letter won’t help much.

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