Termination from Participation in Section 8 Voucher Program
Authored By: Colorado Legal Services
- Can a housing authority terminate my participation in the Section 8 Voucher Program?
A housing authority may not terminate your participation in the Section 8 Voucher Program without first providing you with a written notice of the reasons for its decision to terminate. You must also be provided an opportunity for an informal hearing to challenge the housing authority's decision to terminate you from the program. In order to get a hearing, you must request one in writing and within the time frame set forth in the notice. The housing authority must have an administrative plan which states the housing authority's hearing procedures. You must request a copy of the administrative plan or simply a copy of the housing authority's hearing procedures from the housing authority.
When notified by a housing authority of its intent to terminate your participation in the Section 8 Voucher Program, you should immediately make a written request for a hearing to challenge the proposed termination. If you fail to request a hearing, your housing assistance will be terminated and you may lose the right to appeal that termination. This means that after you are terminated, the housing authority will no longer subsidize your rent and you will become responsible to pay the full contract rent.
A housing authority can only terminate participation in the Section 8 Voucher Program for the following reasons:
1. A member of the family commits drug-related or violent criminal activity;
2. A member of the family commits any 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 rental premises;
3. A member of the household is subject to a lifetime registration requirement as a result of being a convicted sex offender;
4. A household member has ever been convicted of drug-related criminal activity for manufacture or production of methamphetamine on the premises of federally assisted housing;
5. The family has been evicted from housing assisted under the program for serious violation of the lease;
6. A member of the family commits fraud, bribery or other criminal act in connection with any federal housing program;
7. A family owes rent or other amounts to any Public Housing Authority (PHA) in connection with Section 8 or public housing assistance. Note: The PHA has the discretion to allow reasonable payments;
8. A family fails to make payments under a repayment agreement with the housing authority;
9. A family has engaged in or threatened abusive or violent behavior towards housing authority personnel;
10. A family fails to supply any information that the housing authority or HUD determines is required in the administration of the program, or fails to provide true and complete information to the housing authority;
11. A family fails or refuses to provide social security numbers for all household members, fails to provide evidence of citizenship of eligible immigration status or fails or refuses to sign consent forms required by the housing authority;
12. The family is responsible for causing conditions in the home which constitute a breach of housing quality standards (HQS);
13. A family fails to allow the housing authority to inspect their home at a reasonable time and after reasonable notice;
14. A family member commits a serious or repeated violation of their lease;
15. A family fails to notify the housing authority before moving out of their home;
16. A family fails to give the housing authority a copy of an eviction notice received from the property owner;
17. A family fails to use the home as their only place of residence;
18. A family fails to notify the housing authority of absences from the unit, or fails to supply the housing authority with requested information relating to family absences from the unit;
19. A family owns or has an ownership interest in the unit (except if the family is participating in a Section 8 home ownership program);
20. A family receives housing assistance under more than one program at the same time.
21. A family member has been evicted from federally assisted housing in the last 5 years;
22. The family failed to timely report income, failed to obtain permission from the housing authority before allowing other individuals to reside in the unit or failed to inform the housing authority when household members moved out of the unit;
23. A family may not sublet or assign the subsidized housing unit;
24. A family member abuses alcohol in a manner that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents and persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the rental premises.
- What are my rights regarding a housing authority hearing?
1. Before the hearing, you may inspect any housing authority documents and regulations that are directly relevant to the hearing, and copy any such documents at your own expense (you should not be charged more than $.25 per page for these copies). If the housing authority does not make the document available for examination upon request, the housing authority may not rely upon the document at the hearing;
2. You have the right to question all witnesses testifying against you;
3. You have the right to present evidence and establish all important facts and circumstances by oral testimony and documents;
4. You have the right to be represented by a lawyer or other representative, at your own expense. If you cannot afford a lawyer, it is highly recommended that you contact Colorado Legal Services at 303-837-1313 as soon as possible to see whether they can represent you at the informal hearing.
5. If you are currently residing in a home with Section 8 Voucher and the housing authority is proposing to terminate your Section 8 housing assistance, the housing assistance payments to your landlord should continue to be made unless and until a decision is made against you after an informal hearing (presuming you timely requested an informal hearing).
- What are the considerations in making a decision about my case?
In making the decision to terminate Section 8 assistance, the housing authority has discretion to consider all of the circumstances of a case, including the seriousness of the case, the extent of participation or guilt of individual family members, and the effects of termination on other innocent family members. The housing authority may let some members of a household keep the Section 8 assistance on the condition that any family member who violated Section 8 rules will not continue to live with the family. If the housing authority does not exercise its discretion or consider these important factors, you should ask the hearing officer to consider all the circumstances of your case before issuing a decision on the proposed termination of your Section 8 Voucher.
At the hearing, you have several options. First, if you did not commit a program violation, you will want to present documents and testimony showing that you have not done what the housing authority has accused you of doing. Second, if you did commit a program violation, you will want to argue to the housing authority that what you did is not serious enough for the housing authority to terminate your assistance and that you are willing to take steps to correct the violation--for example, by paying back money you owe to the housing authority. An option to consider when a family member has committed a fairly serious program violation is to offer to the housing authority that the guilty person will move out of your home if the rest of the family is allowed to keep its Section 8 assistance. If the termination is based upon the use or abuse of drugs or alcohol, the housing authority and hearing officer should consider whether the offending family member has been rehabilitated.
Following the hearing, the person who conducted the hearing must issue a written decision, stating briefly the reasons for the decision. A copy of the decision must be given to you promptly.
The information above is provided by Colorado Legal Services. It is intended as general information only, and is not meant as legal advice for any specific situation. If you need legal advice, consult an attorney of your own choosing. If you cannot afford an attorney, talk to Colorado Legal Services: 303-837-1321.