An applicant may be denied assistance under the HCV program only for violations of program requirements that are identified as grounds for denial of assistance. Denial of assistance may occur at any or all of the following points:

  • Denial of listing on the PHA waiting list
  • Denial or withdrawal of a voucher
  • Refusal to enter into a HAP contract or approve a lease
  • Refusal to process or provide assistance through portability

Each PHA does have some liberty to influence denials based on the information.

All decisions to deny assistance are subject to civil rights and antidiscrimination laws such as the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Titles II or III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

You can find more information on the above-mentioned regulations here:

The PHA cannot deny admission solely based on certain family characteristics, including families with children, families with unwed parents or children born to unmarried parents, families that receive public assistance, or whether the family decides to participate in the family self-sufficiency program (FSS). The PHA is also prohibited from denying admission on the basis of any protected class, including age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability. Consistent with HUD’s Equal Access Rule, HUD-assisted and HUD-insured housing must be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

For applicants with a disability, a PHA must grant a reasonable accommodation request made by an applicant unless it constitutes an undue financial and administrative burden, a fundamental alteration to the program, or results in a direct threat that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.

An example of this would be a reasonable accommodation request made by an applicant who was denied admission due to a previous eviction from housing, assisted under the program, for serious violation of the lease where the tenant claims that the eviction or lease violation was related to their disability.

In deciding whether to deny assistance because of action or failure to act by members of the family, PHAs have discretion to consider any of the circumstances in each particular case. Circumstances to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • The seriousness of the case
  • The extent of participation or culpability of individual family members
  • Mitigating circumstances related to the disability of a family member
  • The effects of denial or termination of assistance on other family members who were not involved in the action or failure to act

Informal Reviews and Hearings

Families seeking admission to the housing choice voucher program have the right to receive an informal review or hearing in most circumstances in which a PHA makes a decision affecting their eligibility or amount of assistance. The purpose of an informal review or hearing is to resolve applicant or participant disputes with the PHA without legal action and to correct PHA errors that might have occurred in the decision-making process.

The difference between an informal review and a hearing is, with the exception of decisions related to restrictions on non-citizens, an informal review is for program applicants and an informal hearing is for program participants.

A PHA must give an applicant or participant prompt written notice of the family’s right to ask for an informal review or an informal hearing to determine whether the PHA’s decision is in accordance with the law, HUD regulations, and PHA policies. The notice must contain the following information:

  • A brief statement of reasons for the decision
  • A statement that if the family does not agree with the decision, the family may request an informal review or informal hearing
  • The deadline for the family to submit its request.

Upon receiving the family’s request, the PHA must proceed with the informal review or informal hearing in a reasonably expeditious manner.

Informal Review Process

Any person or persons designated by the PHA may conduct an informal review, other than the person or a subordinate of that person who made or approved the decision under review.

The program applicant must be given an opportunity to present written or oral objections to the PHA decision.

The PHA must notify the applicant of its final decision after the informal review, including a brief written statement of the reasons for the final decision.
PHAs are not required to conduct an informal review or informal hearing to reconsider every PHA action or decision.