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Affordable 55+ Senior Housing

How Do I Port My Section 8 Voucher

Paula Bennett • Apr 26, 2021

You have a Section 8 Voucher and you are considering moving. How does this work?

How Do I Port My Section 8 Voucher (Use My Voucher and Move to A New Area)?

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program allows voucher holders to transfer their vouchers to another geographic area. This is called portability.

The first requirement is that you can only port (move) to another area after you have lived in that housing authority’s jurisdiction for one year. Once you have been a resident for one year in a jurisdiction, you can request a port (move) to a different jurisdictional area. For example, suppose you live in Sacramento County, California, and want to move to San Mateo County, California. In that case, you must live in Sacramento County for at least one year before porting (moving).

However, if you live in Burlingame (located in San Mateo County) and want to move to South San Francisco (also located in San Mateo County), you do not have to wait for a year. You can request to port your voucher at any time.

The second requirement is that you can only port your voucher to another housing authority that also offers the same housing choice voucher program.

There will be other expenses involved, such as moving costs, travel costs, and paying your new rental deposit. Those costs should be factored in your move, which is not reimbursed by the local housing authority.

There may be other requirements: check San Mateo County Housing Department website for further notice on the requirements. 

Do I Need to Tell My Section a Caseworker and My Landlord That I Wish to Move?

If you decide that you want to move, you must start the portability process. It is a good idea to begin that process at least three months before you would like to move. Let your caseworker know as well as your landlord.

It is essential to determine in advance if the new housing authority will accept your voucher. Your caseworker can assist you with discovering this information, and they are required to give you contact information for the housing authorities in the area you wish to move to.

You can also contact the housing authority and ask for the person in charge of the staff person in charge of handling “portability.”

It is best practice to notify your caseworker and your landlord of your move-out date in writing by email or a letter. If you have trouble coordinating the dates of your move-out, ask your caseworker to assist you.

If you need to move out early, you can usually get an agreement in writing that releases you from any rental payments that may be due. If you do not get something in writing from your landlord, you may risk that the landlord will either keep your rental deposit or sue you for the rental payment.