Voucher Program Resources

MOVES/PORTABILITY

Opportunity Home allows families to move to a new unit with continued assistance for the following reasons:

  • The owner has violated the lease and the family gives written notice to the owner to terminate the lease; The family must also give Opportunity Home a copy of the notice at the same time;
  • The family is moving in order to protect the health or safety of an individual who has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking and who reasonably believes he or she is threatened by further violence if he or she remains in the assisted unit;
  • The lease has been terminated by mutual agreement between the owner and the family; the family must give Opportunity Home a copy of the termination agreement signed by both parties. If the owner has given the family a notice to vacate and has commenced an action to evict the family, the family must give Opportunity Home a copy of any owner eviction notice;
  • Opportunity Home has terminated the lease because the owner has violated the lease; and
  • Opportunity Home determines that the family’s current unit does not meet Housing Quality Standards (HQS) because of an increase in family size or a change in family composition.

Opportunity Homemay deny a family permission to move if Opportunity Home does not have sufficient funding for continued assistance (only if the family has initiated the move, not Opportunity Home or the owner) or if Opportunity Home has grounds for denying or terminating the family’s assistance.

Opportunity Home will deny a family permission to make more than one move during any 12-month period except to protect the health or safety of a family member, to accommodate a change in family circumstances, or to address an emergency situation.

Moving Process

Notification
The family must notify Opportunity Home and the owner before moving out of the unit or terminating the lease.

Approval
Opportunity Home will determine whether the move is approvable in accordance with the above policies. Opportunity Home will notify the family in writing of its determination within 10 business days.

Reexamination
Opportunity Home will perform a reexamination of family income and composition.

Voucher Issuance and Briefing
Opportunity Home will issue a new voucher within 10 business days of Opportunity Home’s written approval to move. The families are required to attend a briefing. If the family does not locate a new unit within the term of the voucher and any approved extensions, the family may remain in its current unit with continued voucher assistance if the owner agrees and Opportunity Home approves. Otherwise, the family will lose its assistance.

Portability
A family may move to another unit outside of Opportunity Home’s jurisdiction, as long as there is at least one Public Housing Authority (PHA) administering a voucher program in the area.

Opportunity Homemay deny a family permission to move if Opportunity Home does not have sufficient funding for continued assistance or if Opportunity Home has grounds for denying or terminating the family’s assistance. In addition, Opportunity Home may deny a family permission to move during the first 12 months after being admitted into the program or if a family has moved out of its unit in violation of the lease (except for families who have moved to protect the health or safety of an individual who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking and who reasonably believed he or she was threatened by further violence if he or she remained in the unit).

Porting Out of Opportunity Home’s Jurisdiction
Portability Request Form is located here.

When a family moves from Opportunity Home’s area to another housing authority’s area, Opportunity Home serves as the initial housing, while the other housing authority serves as the receiving PHA.

As the initial PHA, Opportunity Home takes the following steps:

  1. Applicant families must be income eligible for the receiving PHA’s area. The income eligibility for participant families does not need to be re-determined.
  2. For participant families, Opportunity Home will conduct a reexamination of family income and composition only if the family’s annual reexamination must be completed on or before the initial billing deadline specified on the Family Portability Information form.
  3. Opportunity Home will provide the contact information for the receiving PHA and advise the family that they will be under the receiving PHA’s policies and procedures.
  4. Opportunity Home will issue a new voucher within 10 business days of Opportunity Home’s written approval to move. The initial term of the voucher will be 60 days. Opportunity Home will not approve an extension for a voucher unless the initial term of the voucher will expire before the receiving PHA issues a voucher to the family, the family decides to return to Opportunity Home’s jurisdiction, or the family decides to search for a unit in a different PHA’s jurisdiction.
  5. Opportunity Home will contact the receiving PHA and send the family’s documentation to the receiving PHA.
  6. Opportunity Home will make monthly assistance payments to the receiving PHA.
    1. homesaMay deny a family permission to move within the receiving PHA’s jurisdiction if Opportunity Home lacks sufficient funding, unless the move is a reasonable accommodation for a family member with disabilities. Opportunity Home is responsible for issuing the family a voucher if they decide to move outside the receiving PHA’s jurisdiction.
    2. homesaMay act on the grounds for denying or terminating assistance for any portable family.

Porting In to Opportunity Home’s Jurisdiction 
The Family Portability Information form is available on the Forms and Packets page located here.

When a family moves from another PHA’s area to Opportunity Home’s area, Opportunity Home serves as the receiving PHA, while the other PHA serves as the initial PHA. As the receiving PHA, Opportunity Home takes the following steps:

  1. The family’s unit size is determined using Opportunity Home’s assistance standards. The family’s housing assistance payment is determined in the same manner as for other families in Opportunity Home’s voucher program.
  2. Opportunity Home will notify the initial PHA within 10 business days after the portable family requests assistance whether it intends to bill the initial PHA on behalf of the portable family or absorb the family into its own program.
  3. Opportunity Home will require the family to attend a briefing and will provide the family with a briefing packet.
  4. Opportunity Home will conduct a new reexamination of the family for family income and composition.
  5. Opportunity Home will issue the family a voucher that expires on the same date as the initial PHA’s voucher. Opportunity Home will consider a voucher extension as a reasonable accommodation.
  6. Opportunity Home will notify the initial PHA if the family has leased an eligible unit or if the family fails to submit a request for tenancy approval.
  7. homesaMust send its initial billing notice to the initial PHA no later than 10 business days after executing a HAP contract on behalf of the family.
  8. homesaMust send the initial PHA a copy of a portable family’s updated Family Portability Information form after each annual reexamination. Opportunity Home must also notify the initial PHA of any change in the billing amount for a family due to a change in the HAP amount, an abatement of HAP payments, termination of the HAP contract, payment of a damage/vacancy loss claim for the family, and/or termination of the family from the program.
    1. If a family decides not to lease in Opportunity Home’s jurisdiction, Opportunity Home must refer the family back to the initial PHA.
    2. homesaMay deny or terminate assistance to a portable family and must notify the initial PHA within 10 business days if the denial or termination is upheld after the informal review/hearing.

For more information on Portability, please call 210.477.6000, or e-mail portability@homesa.org.


INSPECTIONS

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspections
In order to provide decent, safe and sanitary conditions in all assisted homes, Opportunity Home conducts annual inspections on all housing units participating in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. In addition to Housing Quality Standard (HQS) inspections, random quality control inspections are conducted on at least 10 percent of the participating units to ensure program compliance and to confirm that repairs are consistent with current industry standards. Opportunity Home’s HQS inspection policies are located in Chapter 8 of the Housing Choice Voucher Program’s Administrative Plan.

Types of HQS Inspections

  • Initial/Move-In Inspections: Opportunity Home conducts initial inspections to approve a unit for participation in the HCV program. The unit must pass the HQS inspection before any Housing Assistance Payments can be paid to the owner; therefore, it is best if the family does not move into the unit before approval.
  • Annual Inspections: HUD requires Opportunity Home to inspect each unit under lease at least annually to confirm that the unit still meets HQS. The inspections may be conducted in conjunction with the family’s annual reexamination, but is typically conducted separately.
  • Special Inspections: A special inspection may be requested between annual inspections by the owner, the family or a third party as a result of problems identified with a unit between annual inspections.
  • Quality Control Inspections: HUD requires that a sample of units be inspected by a quality control inspector to ensure that HQS is being enforced correctly and uniformly by all inspectors.

Commonly Failed HQS Items:

  • Unit must be in “made-ready” status. “Made-ready” status is defined as a unit ready for immediate move-in; for example, units must have all utilities on, a working stove/refrigerator, no trash/debris on site and working heating/cooling equipment (regardless of time of year).
  • Units built pre-1978 can’t have any chipping or peeling paint inside or outside the unit. This also applies to the exterior of secondary buildings, playgrounds, railings and common areas of the property.
  • Stove/Refrigerator must be clean and in working order (no missing kick plates or torn door seals, etc.).
  • Ensure electric, plumbing and gas services are operating in a safe manner and present no danger to occupants. For example, units must not have electric hazards, plumbing leaks, missing/broken P-traps under sinks, gas leaks, etc.
  • All windows must have working locks or a permanently attached locking device.
  • All windows must be in good working condition and able to remain open. Window panes cannot be missing, broken or cracked (cutting hazard.) Plexiglass is not an acceptable repair for glazed windows.
  • All common areas will be inspected for safety hazards (Laundry room/pool area, etc.).
  • The roof must not leak; Indications of a leak or discolorations or stains on the ceiling.
  • The hot water heater tank must have a temperature pressure relief valve with a downward discharge pipe.
  • Floor covering cannot be torn nor have holes/cracks that can cause a tripping/cutting hazard.
  • Stairs and railings must be secure. Handrails are required for steps with four or more consecutive steps or 30 inches or higher above the ground such as around stairwells, balcony, walkways, etc.
  • There should be no trip hazards such as gaps/cracks greater than ¾ inch on sidewalk, walkways, driveways, common areas, etc.
  • Working smoke detectors are required in all bedrooms and adjacent hallways. See manufacturer’s specifications for proper installation.
  • All conversions/additions must pass HQS inspection and be properly permitted by City or local agency having jurisdiction over the unit. Opportunity Home may request copies of approved permits.
  • All security/burglar bars must have a quick release mechanism (cannot use key, tool or special knowledge to open).
  • Double-keyed deadbolts, also known as double cylinder locks, are not allowed at any location.

These commonly failed HQS items are just a small sample of the required HQS items. You can find the entire list of HQS items in Chapter 8 of the Assisted Housing Programs Administrative Plan.

Family Responsibilities
The family must allow Opportunity Home to inspect the unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice. “Reasonable notice” is considered to be not less than 24 hours, except in the case of a life-threatening emergency. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, Opportunity Home will give as much notice as possible, given the nature of the emergency.

Inspections may be scheduled between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m on business days and an adult (age 18 or over) is required to be present during the inspection.

If the family misses a scheduled inspection without Opportunity Home approval or if the inspection notice is returned by the post office with no forwarding address, Opportunity Home may consider the family to have violated its obligation to make the unit available for inspection.

The family may request to reschedule an inspection for good cause, or if it is needed as a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities. “Good cause” is defined as an unavoidable conflict that seriously affects the health, safety, or welfare of the family.  Requests to reschedule an inspection must be made orally or in writing and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Opportunity Home may request documentation of the “good cause” prior to rescheduling the inspection.

The family is responsible for any HQS deficiency caused by the family, including the following:

  • Tenant-paid utilities not in service;
  • Failure to provide or maintain family-supplied appliances; or
  • Damage to the unit or premises caused by a household member or guest, beyond normal wear and tear. “Normal wear and tear” is defined as physical deterioration which occurs in the normal course of tenancy, without negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse of the unit or premises by the household members or guests.

Owner Responsibilities
The owner is responsible for all HQS violations not listed as a family responsibility above, even if the violation is caused by the family’s living habits (e.g., vermin infestation). However, if the the family’s actions constitute a serious or repeated lease violation, the owner may take legal action to evict the family or submit documentation of the serious or repeated lease violation to Opportunity Home as evidence that the family breached its obligations.

If Opportunity Home cannot determine the cause of an HQS deficiency, the owner will be responsible for correcting the item.

Inspection Results and Reinspections
The owner and the family will be notified in writing of the results of all inspections. Generally, Opportunity Home will send the owner and the family a written notification of the inspection results within 5 business days of the inspection. Generally, no more than 30 days will be allowed for all HQS deficiencies to be corrected. Opportunity Home will conduct a reinspection immediately following the end of the corrective period or any Opportunity Home-approved extension.

Self-certification of Corrective Action
In lieu of conducting a physical re-inspection to verify corrections of five or fewer HQS deficiencies that are not considered life-threatening, Opportunity Home may accept a self-certification of repairs signed by the landlord and tenant. All self-certifications are subject to a quality control inspection. Self-certifications are not accepted for move-in/initial inspections.


HCV ADMIN PLANS