Terminations

To preserve the integrity of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, it is important that families abide by their family obligations and lease agreements. It is also essential that owners comply with their obligations under the terms of the HAP contract.

Under the HCV program regulations, termination of assistance occurs when a tenant is no longer eligible for subsidy or to enforce HUD program requirements. It results in the loss of subsidy for the tenant.

Tenants whose assistance is terminated may remain in the unit, but they must pay the full contract rent. PHAs are authorized to terminate assistance only after following required procedures to ensure that tenants have received proper notice and an opportunity to respond.

Terminations may occur under the following circumstances:

  • A tenant fails to provide required information at the time of recertification, including changes in family composition, changes in income, or social security numbers for any new family members.
  • A tenant fails to sign/submit required consent and verification forms.
  • An annual or interim recertification determines that the tenant has an increased ability to pay the full contract rent and has been the recipient of zero HAP for 6 months.
  • A tenant has begun receiving assistance, but the owner is unable to establish citizenship or eligible immigration status for any family members from the information provided by the tenant and determines that the tenant does not meet the citizenship requirement.
  • A tenant is evicted from a unit assisted under the program for a serious or repeated violation of their lease agreement.
  • The family violates any family obligations under the housing choice voucher program.

Procedures

Upon admission into the program, the PHA must give the family a written description of the following:

Family obligations under the housing choice voucher program

Grounds on which the PHA may terminate assistance because of family action or failure to act

PHA informal hearing procedures

To avoid the potential for discrimination, it is important for the requirements and procedures to be applied consistently to all tenants.

Prior to terminating assistance, however, the PHA must give the family the opportunity to request a hearing. In making termination decisions due to family action or failure to act, the PHA has the discretion to consider the seriousness of the issue, the level of involvement of family members, mitigating circumstances related to the disability of a family member, and the effects of termination on non-involved family members.

In appropriate cases, the PHA may permit some members of the family to continue receiving assistance while imposing a condition that the family member or members who engaged in wrongful activity will not reside with the assisted family. If the family includes a person with disabilities, the PHA decision is subject to consideration of reasonable accommodation.

Termination Notice

Upon making a decision to terminate assistance, the PHA must give both the owner and the family written notice of termination that states:

  • Reason for the termination
  • Effective date of the termination
  • The family’s right to request a hearing

Termination of assistance may affect the housing choice voucher family’s right to the unit since the assisted lease automatically terminates when the HAP contract terminates, however, an owner can offer the tenant a separate, unassisted lease, in which case the family can remain in the unit.

Informal Hearings

Informal Hearing Process

An informal hearing is conducted by a hearing officer appointed as described in the PHA’s administrative plan. The hearing officer may be any person designated by the PHA, with the exception of the person or a subordinate of the person who made or approved the decision under review.

Before the hearing, the family must be given the opportunity to examine any PHA documents directly relevant to the hearing. The family must be allowed to copy any such documents at their own expense. Any documents not made available to the family may not be used as evidence.

The family is entitled to representation by a lawyer or other spokesperson at their own expense. Both the PHA and the family must be given the opportunity to present evidence, and each may question any witnesses.

The person who conducts the hearing must issue a written decision that briefly states the reasons for the decision and a copy of the hearing decision must be promptly given to the family.