Portability Requirements

Portability Requirements 

In most cases, families who are participants in the HCV program are eligible to move under portability as long as they don’t violate the terms of their lease agreement, with some exceptions, and as long as they comply with their PHA’s policies on moves. 


Typically, there is a residency requirement that the head of household or spouse must be a resident of the PHA’s jurisdiction at the time their initial application for assistance is submitted in order to be eligible to port out once a voucher is issued. If the head of household or spouse is not a resident, the family would then be required to reside in the PHA’s jurisdiction for 12 months before being eligible to port out to a different PHA.  

Initial PHAs may allow portability moves during this 12-month period under the following circumstances: 

  • When the move would respond to a specific family need, such as employment opportunities.  
  • The PHA is required to document any exceptions to the residency requirements in their administrative plan.  
  • The PHA may choose not to impose a one-year residency requirement and allow for portability immediately for all applicants.  

Residency is determined based on the family’s legal residence at the time they submit their initial application for assistance, not at the time they reach the top of the PHA’s waiting list. The PHA will need to set a policy in their administrative plan outlining how residency will be verified for those resident applicants wishing to exercise portability.  

Make sure you are familiar with what your PHA’s administrative plan says about the residency requirements for portability. 


Income eligibility does not apply to participant families, meaning families who are already voucher holders. Since income eligibility is not re-determined once a family is issued a voucher, income eligibility would only apply to applicant families, or families who have not yet been issued a voucher from the initial PHA.  Applicant families who want to port out must meet the applicable income limits of the receiving PHA’s jurisdiction. 

There are a few circumstances in which the receiving PHA would need to re-determine income eligibility for applicant families. For example, if the applicant family initially reported they had zero income but then subsequently obtained new employment, the receiving PHA may need to re-determine income eligibility for the applicant family to ensure they are income eligible in the receiving PHA’s jurisdiction.