How to Port

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Art: Robing Mead

If you have a Section 8 or HUD Housing Voucher, you may be able to use your voucher in another city, county or state. Your voucher moves around with you! This is called “porting”.

If you are considering porting, here’s a few things it may be handy to know.

Can I Port?

You may not be able to port to all locations. You will need to ask both your current and new Housing Authority if they will allow the port.  Some reasons you may not be able to port:

  • Old Housing Authority is not willing to pay for the voucher and new Housing Authority is also not willing! (This is called “billing” and “absorbing.”)
  • Housing Authority may be in a budget freeze and not allowing ports
  • If you are trying to port to a more expensive area, and your current Housing Authority will not cover the cost.
  • If you just got approved for a voucher, and you were not a resident of the area when you applied, you may need to move there and live in that area for twelve months before you can port.

Exceptions to Porting Rules

If you are told that you are not allowed to port, in some situations, you may be able to request that they make an exception to these rules. You can request an exception if:

  • You need to port because you or someone in your household is disabled or
  • You need to port because of domestic violence or stalking

Requesting a reasonable accommodation for exception to porting rules: Requesting a Exception to the Porting Rules

Research Your New Housing Authority

🌸 After you port, you will need to follow the new policies at the new Housing Authorities. This can cause a change to your voucher amount, number of bedrooms, who can live with you, your portion of the rent, and many other things.

🌸 Sometimes porting can make things worse! Before porting, please read: Twelve Reasons NOT to Port Your Housing Voucher

🌸 Here’s some important: Questions to Ask Housing Authorities If You Want To Port

Finding a New Landlord

🌸 It is a big challenge to find a new home when you don’t live in the area. Some people wind up homeless or lose their vouchers because they cannot find a place. Please be careful. We recommend that you do not port unless you have already secured housing in the new area or definitely have somewhere to stay before you make the port.

🌸 Some people have success by applying for Low Income Tax Credit Buildings. These buildings all accept vouchers. Most have wait lists. You can find these buildings on the HUD map (look for the purple symbols). You can also find them at affordable housing online.

🌸 You can also choose to give up your voucher and instead apply for a building that comes with Section 8. Some of our readers have very good experiences applying for elderly or disabled buildings (many accept disabled people at any age).

🌸 You can also Request Disability Accommodations to apply by mail or email (not in person).

Breaking Your Current Lease

🌸 If you need to break your current lease: some areas have laws that allow a tenant to break a lease early for disability-related needs.

🌸 Even if your area does not have these protections, you can still make a reasonable accommodation request to be released from the lease. For HUD or a publicly-funded building, this should be approved if the request is properly documented. A private landlord could try to claim “undue financial hardship,” or could approve it. Request Disability Accommodations

🌸 Check your lease, some leases will allow you to terminate after 30 days or 60 days. Some places convert to 60 day notice after the first year.

Making the Port

🌸 Ask your Housing Authority for their policy on how to request a port.

🌸 Here’s an example of a policy on Porting or Transferring Your Voucher

🌸 Be prepared for deposits, application fees and moving fees. Here’s some ideas for: How to Escape Move-In Fees

Can All Section 8 Port?

🌸 You can port if you have a Section 8 Voucher. These may also be called Housing Choice Vouchers.

🌸 You cannot port if you have project-based Section 8. Project-based Section 8 belongs to one specific building or property. If you leave, you leave behind the Section 8 and the next tenant gets it. Learn more about the Different Kinds of Section 8

🌸 Exception: If the apartment you are in is called “Project Based Voucher.” There is a chance you can request to convert this to a “Tenant Based Voucher” and then port, using a rule called Family Right to Move.

Learn More

HUD Policies on Moves and Portability.

Law Bulletin on Portability Rights

HUD Laws on Porting

HUD Rules for Streamlining the Porting Process

How to Use a Housing Voucher to Actually Find Housing!

How to Get Help or File Complaints for HUD Housing Problems

Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 for People with Disabilities

Thanks for Reading

🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Affordable Housing Survival Guide

🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌷 Page Updated: 8/1/19

What Do You Think?

🌷 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

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2 thoughts on “How to Port”

  1. I’m disabled, and because of that i need to port back to my original county. It has not been a year yet, so, i need to do it early. Where do i start. The testimonial posted said the woman contacted like 5 different people. She mentioned a HUD lawyer, but I’m not so sure he’d be on my side.

    Like

    1. First you would need to find out if you can get out of your current lease. Do you have a lease? Does it have an escape clause? How much time is left on the lease? Are you living with renting from a private landlord or a building that has publicly funded?

      If you know that you can get out of your lease, then the next step would be to make a reasonable accommodation request to port out early. You can make that request if the reason you were moving is related to your disability and you can get a doctor to verify this for you.

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