The Most Northeastern City in the United States.

Moving With Your Voucher

Caribou Municipal Building
25 High St
Caribou, Maine 04736
Phone: (207) 493-4234
Fax: (207) 376-0178
E-mail: housing@cariboumaine.org

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MOVING WITH YOUR VOUCHER

Once your family has been issued a Housing Choice Voucher, you may use that voucher to lease a unit anywhere within the jurisdiction of Caribou Housing Authority. 

MOVING INSIDE OF CARIBOU

 You can request a move and continue receiving assistance if you:  Have lived in your unit for the full initial lease term of 12 months.  

  1. Have given CHA and the owner or property manager a written 30 days’ notice
  2. Are in good standing with the HCV Program
  3. Have no outstanding lease violations and are not under eviction

CHA may deny you permission to move if:

  • You have violated a family obligation under the HCV Program
  • You owe CHA money
  • You owe the landlord money
  • You have previously requested to move and failed to complete the move process after a HAP contract with the new landlord was signed.

EXCEPTIONS

CHA may grant exceptions and allow you to move to a new unit during your initial term or more than once in a 12-month period if:

  • You have an emergency as determined by CHA
  • Your family is overcrowded according to HQS standards
  • Your unit has two consecutive landlord-caused HQS inspection failures
  • Your landlord has failed to correct non-emergency inspection failures within 90 days.

To save yourself some time, it’s a good idea to look for housing and find a suitable unit before you request moving papers.  You will also want to make sure the new unit you select is likely to pass an inspection the first time.

REQUIRED MOVES

 CHA considers you a required move.  A move is considered required for many different reasons. For example:

  • If the unit no longer meets HCV Program standards due to failed inspections
  • If the owner has failed to comply with requests by CHA, such as providing required documents.
  • If you have too people living in your current unit

If you are a Required Move, you must complete the moving process within the maximum allotted time frame or risk losing your voucher, including possible termination from the Program.

MOVING PROCESS

Current voucher holders who are interested in moving must contact CHA to request a move.  If you move without prior approval from CHA, you risk losing your subsidy.

Even if your landlord or someone from CHA has told you that you can move, you cannot move unless you have completed the following:

 The moving process consists of 10 basic steps:

  1. Provide proof that you are in good standing with your current landlord
    • CHA will give you a Notice of Intent to Vacate form that both you and your landlord will need to sign and return to CHA. This form certifies that you are in good standing with your rent and that you will vacate your unit and remove your belongings by the date that you and your landlord agree you will move out.  CHA must verify the landlord’s signature on the release
  2. Complete a new reexamination package
  3. Once CHA determines that you are eligible to move, you will be issued a move package that contains:
    • Housing Choice Voucher (move voucher)
    • CHA Landlord Package
  4. Find a new unitAfter you receive a move voucher and a move package, you may begin to search for a new unit.
    • If you do not locate a new unit, you may remain in your current unit if the owner allows.
  5. When you find new housing, the prospective landlord must complete the Landlord Package and it must be returned to CHA.
  6. Await the results of the new property owner eligibility screening, CHA’s Rent Reasonableness and Affordability Test, and the unit’s HQS inspection
  7. Sign a lease with the new owner and pay security deposit
  8. Turn keys into old landlord.
  9. Move in to the new unit

A new Landlord Package, HQS Inspection, Lease and HAP Contract arerequired before you move to a new unit, even if the new unit is in the same building or with the same landlord.

LEAVING YOUR OLD UNIT

No matter how anxious you are to move into your new unit, you need to be sure to leave your old unit on good terms. That means that you should:

  • Provide a Notice to Vacate to your old property owner/manager in writing 30 days in advance. The owner is requested to sign the notice.
  • Leave your unit in the same condition (clean and undamaged) as when you first took possession.
  • All items and trash should be removed from your unit and all rooms should be restored to their original condition.
  • Take photos so you have proof of how you left the unit prior to vacating (you should have also taken photos when you moved into the unit for comparison)
  • Turn in the keys to the property owner/manager

You will be issued only ONE moving voucher in a calendar year,

or every 12 months.

TIMING

The length of the move process depends on how quickly you provide CHA with proper and complete documentation, how long it takes to obtain signed documents from your current landlord and new landlord, and how long it takes to conduct inspections of the new unit.  The new unit must pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection before CHA can provide you with the transfer approval documents.

You will need to find a new rental and return your completed landlord package before the end of the voucher expiration date (within 60 days).

  • If your HCV move voucher expires before you find a new apartment, you will not be eligible to receive another move voucher for 12 months.

You may not occupy two units at the same time.  As of the effective date of the HAP contract for the new unit, payments will stop to your prior landlord.  Failure to move by the effective date may make you responsible for the full contract rent at the prior unit.

 ASSISTANCE / RENT

When you move, your assistance (the HAP payments to your landlord) stops at your old unit at the end of the 30-day notice.

Assistance will begin on the new unit on the effective date of the new lease and HAP contract. HAP payments cannot overlap.

Payments to your new Landlord will not start until the landlord signs the HAP contract and a copy of the signed lease that matches the term of the HAP contract.  These contracts must be returned to CHA’s office.  Once the contracts are processed, CHA will make payments effective as of the start date on the HAP contracts.

  • If you move anywhere within the jurisdiction of Caribou Housing Authority, CHA’s Payment Standards will apply in determining your assistance. If you move to a unit where the gross rent is greater than the Payment Standard, you will be required to pay more than 30% of your monthly adjusted income.
  • CHA WILL NOT approve a move to a unit where you would pay more than 40% of your monthly adjusted income.
  • CHA will not approve a move to a unit whose rent is higher than the rents of comparable apartments in the building or area.

MOVING COSTS

CHA does not pay moving fees, real estate broker fees, security deposits, or HAP payments for two housing units for a family at the same time.  You must determine if you can make such payments out of your own pocket before you move.

 

MOVING OUTSIDE OF CARIBOU

As a participant in the Section 8 Program, your rent assistance can move along with you.  You can transfer your voucher to other cities and even other states.  This is called “porting.”  CHA only handles vouchers for participants in Caribou Housing Authority’s jurisdiction.  If you are interested in moving to an area outside of Caribou’s area, you will need to port your voucher to the Housing Authority that handles the area to which you’d like to move.E

ELIGIBILITY FOR PORTABILTY

  • If you are New to the Section 8 Program
    • If your family has received a voucher from CHA but has not yet leased a unit under the Section 8 Program, you are eligible for portability if the head of household or spouse was a resident in CHA’s jurisdiction at the time that you submitted your application for assistance.
    • If your family does not reside in CHA’s jurisdiction, you will be required to initially to lease a unit in CHA’s jurisdiction before CHA can you issue you a portability voucher. CHA is under no obligation to allow you to exercise portability if you do not reside in CHA’s jurisdiction when your voucher is issued.
  • If You Are Already a Section 8 Program Participant
    • You can move to another jurisdiction only when you are able to move out of your current unit under the terms of your lease. You are not eligible for portability if you move out in violation of your lease.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Portability offers you the flexibility to relocate.  However, you should consider the possible challenges you may face in moving to a new location.

  • Locating a New Unit

You may find it difficult to locate a new unit before your portable voucher expires if there is a shortage of available housing in your new location. 

  • Family Requirements

When you search for a new unit, you will have to comply with the requirements of the receiving PHA.  These may be different from CHA’s requirements.  Make sure that you understand these requirements before you decide to move.

CHA or the other Housing Authority can terminate you from the Program while you port if you violate any rule

  • Voucher Size

Each Housing Authority has its own policies for how many bedrooms can be given to each family.  If you port out, be aware that the number of bedrooms permitted by your voucher may change.

You can still submit reasonable accommodation requests regarding bedroom size wherever you choose to port.

  • Payment Standards

Payment Standards determine the amount of subsidy available for each family.  Each housing authority creates their policies based on available funds, local housing prices and affordability to participants.  As a result, the amount of subsidy you receive may change if you port out.

  • Screening

At CHA the screening process means passing a criminal background check.  Other housing agencies may have stricter criminal background checks or additional screening requirements that you must meet to lease up in their jurisdiction.  If you are planning on porting to another housing agency, be sure to ask them about their screening criteria.

  • Other Considerations

If you are thinking about porting to another place, consider the benefits of porting to an area that often have better amenities, more jobs, more colleges, and even public transportation.  For assistance in finding more information about a specific community, you may research and contact the local chamber of commerce, the neighborhood police station or community associations.

  • Extensions and Cancellations

CHA will issue you a move voucher with an expiration term of 60 days.  If you cannot find a unit within 60 days, you must request an extension from the new Housing Authority.  It is up to the new Housing Authority to determine if you will receive an extension on your voucher.

You can cancel your port out request if your file has already been “ported out.”  You will need to notify both CHA and the new Housing Authority of your intent.  Once the file is returned to CHA, and if you have time remaining on your voucher, you will receive a duplicate set of moving papers to continue the search within CHA’s jurisdiction.

 PORTABILITY PROCESS

You must initiate the portability process by informing CHA that you want to move outside of CHA’s jurisdiction as soon as your voucher is issued.

  • Once CHA has verified that you are eligible to for a move under the portability requirements, you should determine where you wish to move and identify the Public Housing Authority (PHA) in that area.
  • You should obtain the following importation information about the PHA where you wish to move:
  • Name of the PHA
  • Address of the PHA
  • Contact person of the PHA
  • Phone number of the PHA
  • E-mail address of the PHA

If you have difficulty obtaining this information, please contact CHA’s office for assistance.

  • CHA will prepare the paperwork to be sent to the PHA in the jurisdiction where you wish to move.
  • You must contact the receiving PHA and set up a time to meet with its portability staff to begin processing your move.
  • When you arrive at the receiving PHA, if you have met of all the PHA’s requirements, the receiving PHA will issue you a voucher so that you can search for a unit in its jurisdiction.