The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 housing voucher program helps low-income residents pay their rent. If you receive Section 8 assistance but would like to move, you may be hesitant because you don’t want to lose your housing voucher. However, in most cases the voucher is portable, allowing you to relocate without losing your housing assistance.
Requirements to Move Out
You can move almost anywhere in the country or to a different home in your current town and use your Section 8 voucher for housing. Before moving, however, you must meet the terms of your current lease and provide your landlord with adequate notice that you’re leaving. Housing agencies will usually approve most types of housing if the unit meets specified requirements. You’re free to choose an apartment, single family home or any other type of housing that's safe and reasonable.
Moving to a New Area
If you’re heading to a new town it’s essential to make sure the area has a Section 8 program prior to your move. When you’ve selected a new home in the city you'd like to move to, complete a Portability Release Form from your current housing authority so your Section 8 file can be sent to the new area. Contact the housing authority in your new location to find out what steps you need to take before moving in. You may be required to live in the state where you got your voucher for one year before moving across state lines, so check with HUD before you start packing.
Moving, But Staying
Moving to a new home in the city where you live now means you’ll still be under the same housing jurisdiction. You must notify your landlord that you intended to move within the amount of time specified on your lease. Complete the moving forms the housing authority requires and provide the verifications they ask for. The authority will send you a new voucher in the mail. Sign it and ask your new landlord to complete the residency form. The housing authority will then schedule an inspection with your new landlord. If the home passes muster you can move in afterward.
About Section 8 Housing
The Section 8 voucher program helps low-income residents afford quality housing. Tenants pay 30 percent to 40 percent of their income towards the cost of rent and the housing authority pays the difference directly to your landlord. Tenants can apply for Section 8 housing if their income is 30 percent of area median income or less.
Laura Woods is a Los Angeles-based writer with more than six years of marketing experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.