What are my obligations under the Housing Choice Voucher program?

Tenant obligations are covered in detail in Chapter 5 Part I.C. of the Section 8/Voucher Administrative Plan

5-I.C. FAMILY OBLIGATIONS (from the 2021 Section 8/Voucher Administrative Plan)

Obligations of the family are described in the housing choice voucher (HCV) regulations and on the voucher itself. These obligations include responsibilities the family is required to fulfill, as well as prohibited actions. The PHA must inform families of these obligations during the oral briefing, and the same information must be included in the briefing packet. When the family’s unit is approved and the HAP contract is executed, the family must meet those obligations in order to continue participating in the program. Violation of any family obligation may result in termination of assistance, as described in Chapter 12.

Time Frames for Reporting Changes Required By Family Obligations

PHA Policy

Unless otherwise noted below, when family obligations require the family to respond to a request or notify the PHA of a change, notifying the PHA of the request or change within 10 business days is considered prompt notice.

When a family is required to provide notice to the PHA, the notice must be in writing.

Family Obligations [24 CFR 982.551]

The family obligations of the voucher are listed as follows:

  • The family must supply any information that the PHA or HUD determines to be necessary, including submission of required evidence of citizenship or eligible immigration status.
  • The family must supply any information requested by the PHA or HUD for use in a regularly scheduled reexamination or interim reexamination of family income and composition.
  • The family must disclose and verify social security numbers and sign and submit consent forms for obtaining information.
  • Any information supplied by the family must be true and complete.
  • The family is responsible for any Housing Quality Standards (HQS) breach by the family caused by failure to pay tenant-provided utilities or appliances, or damages to the dwelling unit or premises beyond normal wear and tear caused by any member of the household or guest.

PHA Policy

Damages beyond normal wear and tear will be considered to be damages which could be assessed against the security deposit under state law or court practice.

  • The family must allow the PHA to inspect the unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice, as described in Chapter 8 of this plan.
  • The family must not commit any serious or repeated violation of the lease.

PHA Policy

The PHA will determine if a family has committed serious or repeated violations of the lease based on available evidence, including but not limited to, a court-ordered eviction or an owner’s notice to evict, police reports, and affidavits from the owner, neighbors, or other credible parties with direct knowledge.

Serious and repeated lease violations will include, but not be limited to, nonpayment of rent, disturbance of neighbors, destruction of property, living or housekeeping habits that cause damage to the unit or premises, and criminal activity. Generally, the criterion to be used will be whether or not the reason for the eviction was the fault of the tenant or guests. Any incidents of, or criminal activity related to, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking will not be construed as serious or repeated lease violations by the victim [24 CFR 5.2005(c)(1)].

  • The family must notify the PHA and the owner before moving out of the unit or terminating the lease.

PHA Policy

The family must comply with lease requirements regarding written notice to the owner. The family must provide written notice to the PHA at the same time the owner is notified.

  • The family must promptly give the PHA a copy of any owner eviction notice.
  • The family must use the assisted unit for residence by the family. The unit must be the family’s only residence.
  • The composition of the assisted family residing in the unit must be approved by the PHA. The family must promptly notify the PHA in writing of the birth, adoption, or court-awarded custody of a child. The family must request PHA approval to add any other family member as an occupant of the unit.

PHA Policy

The request to add a family member must be submitted in writing and approved prior to the person moving into the unit. The PHA will determine eligibility of the new member in accordance with the policies in Chapter 3. PHA will also require documentation of landlord approval to add the additional family member to the lease.

  • The family must promptly notify the PHA in writing if any family member no longer lives in the unit.
  • If the PHA has given approval, a foster child or a live-in aide may reside in the unit. The PHA has the discretion to adopt reasonable policies concerning residency by a foster child or a live-in aide, and to define when PHA consent may be given or denied. For policies related to the request and approval/disapproval of foster children, foster adults, and live-in aides, see Chapter 3 (sections I.K and I.M), and Chapter 11 (section II.B).The family must not sublease the unit, assign the lease, or transfer the unit.

PHA Policy

Subleasing includes receiving payment to cover rent and utility costs by a person living in the unit who is not listed as a family member.

  • The family must supply any information requested by the PHA to verify that the family is living in the unit or information related to family absence from the unit.
  • The family must promptly notify the PHA when the family is absent from the unit.

PHA Policy

Notice is required under this provision only when all family members will be absent from the unit for an extended period. An extended period is defined as any period greater than 30 calendar days within a 45 day period. Written notice must be provided to the PHA at the start of the extended absence.

  • The family must pay utility bills and provide and maintain any appliances that the owner is not required to provide under the lease [Form HUD-52646, Voucher].
  • The family must not own or have any interest in the unit, (other than in a cooperative and owners of a manufactured home leasing a manufactured home space).
  • Family members must not commit fraud, bribery, or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with the program. (See Chapter 14, Program Integrity for additional information).
  • Family members must not engage in drug-related criminal activity or violent criminal activity or other criminal activity that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents and persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises. See Chapter 12 for HUD and PHA policies related to drug-related and violent criminal activity.
  • Members of the household must not engage in abuse of alcohol in a way that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the other residents and persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises. See Chapter 12 for a discussion of HUD and PHA policies related to alcohol abuse.
  • An assisted family or member of the family must not receive HCV program assistance while receiving another housing subsidy, for the same unit or a different unit under any other federal, state or local housing assistance program.
  • A family must not receive HCV program assistance while residing in a unit owned by a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister or brother of any member of the family, unless the PHA has determined (and has notified the owner and the family of such determination) that approving rental of the unit, notwithstanding such relationship, would provide reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities. [Form HUD-52646, Voucher]

Show All Answers

1. What are my obligations under the Housing Choice Voucher program?
2. How do I move to another Housing Authority's jurisdiction (portability)?