The voucher is a HUD form that states the family has been determined eligible to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program. It is an opportunity for the family to seek a suitable and affordable unit.
When the agency issues the voucher, it is stating that the family has been determine eligible and as long funds are available it will enter into a Housing Assistance Payment Contract with the owner.
Nevertheless, the agency has no obligation nor liability to the family or the owner if it is unable to enter a contract.
The voucher is issued to the family, not to the unit. So, if or when the family moves, the voucher goes with the family. The family will present the voucher to the prospective landlord of any unit they are applying to rent as verification of eligibility for rental subsidy assistance.
The bedroom size on the voucher is utilized to determine the level of subsidy the agency will provide based on the family size and composition. A family can search for a unit that has more bedrooms than on the voucher, as long as it’s within the allowed payment amounts that have been determined by the agency.
The voucher also comes with an issue date and expiration date, this is the search time. The agency is obligated to provide a minimum search time of 60 days. If the family does not find a unit prior to the expiration date, the agency will not be able to enter a contract. If the voucher expires and the family has not found a unit, the family has just lost the opportunity to seek for a unit and must reapply when waiting list is open.
When the family representative signs the voucher, the family is agreeing to follow the policies and procedures of the program. The family must read the voucher entirely as it lists or contains all the obligations with the program.
As a family you want to make sure you are aware of everything that will be required, and take whatever steps are necessary to stay in compliance.