Appealing Housing Choice (Section 8) Assistance Termination

Eligibility Team
Researcher & Writer
January 23, 2016

Your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) can terminate your Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program assistance for a variety of reasons. Some reasons include being evicted for a serious lease violation, a family member engaging in drug-related criminal activity in the home and owing money to your PHA.

In most cases, when a rule is broken, your PHA has the authority to deny assistance on a case-by-case basis — considering all the facts, the severity of the violation and the impact the decision has on other family members. In some cases, a PHA may continue assistance with the stipulation that the violating family member move out. If the violation was drug or alcohol related, a PHA may consider time in a supervised rehab program when making their final decision. The decision is not always black and white. It is in a family’s best interest to retain as much documentation as possible when facing termination.

If your PHA rules to terminate your Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program assistance, you have a right to appeal the decision. Your PHA is required to notify you in writing that your assistance is being terminated. If this happens to you, you can request a hearing before the deadline set by the PHA. No matter the reason for termination, your assistance will not be terminated before you’ve had a chance to appeal the decision.

The hearing is conducted by a neutral party hired by your PHA. They cannot have been directly linked to the decision to terminate assistance. If you think the person overseeing the hearing is not impartial, you should voice your concerns and request a new person be selected.

Before the hearing you should review your tenant file and make copies of any documents related to your termination (e.g. lease, program contract, repayment contracts, documented complaints, witness statements, damage claims, police reports). The PHA is required to share any documentation they plan to present at the hearing. You can review these documents to gather evidence and prepare your case. The PHA is not permitted to present any documents they do not share with you beforehand.

You have the right to have a lawyer or representative at the hearing. There you will be able to present the evidence and witness testimony to support your case. The PHA will have the same opportunity. You will receive a copy of the decision from the party overseeing the hearing, which will include notes on the reasons for the final decision.

Eligibility Team
Written by
Eligibility Team
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