Participant FAQs and Information for Walworth County Housting Authority - WCHA (2024)

What is the annual recertification?

Each year participant families will be required to complete an annual recertification packet and their rental unit will be inspected.

Do I have to report changes in income or family composition?

All changes in income and family composition must be reported in writing within 14 days of the change. Reporting via email or Assistance Check is encouraged. NO changes will be accepted by phone.

Can other people move into my unit?

You may add others to your family/household composition; however, they must be approved by your landlord and WCHA before they may move into your assisted unit.

What do I do if I want to move?

If you are interested in moving to a new unit after the first year of your lease or thereafter, you must make an appointment with your housing specialist at least 45 days in advance of the move. You will be supplied with a new housing voucher allowing you 60 days to find a new unit. An intent to vacate notice must be given to your landlord and a copy to the Housing Authority based on your lease requirements.

How do I transfer (port) my voucher to another Housing Authority?

Once approved to move, participants may request to have their assistance transferred to another Public Housing Authority (PHA). Your caseworker will forward documents to the PHA of your choice and you will be contacted by them directly to receive an appointment to obtain a voucher from that Agency.

What is the deadline to turn paperwork in if I find a new unit?

All Requests for Tenancy submitted for a new unit must be received by the 15th of the month. Requests received after the 15th of the month may be processed the following month.

What if my landlord increases my rent?

The Section 8 Program regulations require that all landlords provide the Housing Authority and the tenant with a 60-day notice of rent increase. Both the tenant and landlord will be given a 30 day notice of the rental payments change from the Housing Authority.

Can my landlord request extra rent or side payments?

Housing Choice Voucher participants must pay only the amount of rent authorized by WCHA. Any additional amount of rent other than what is authorized by WCHA is considered a “side payment.” Unauthorized side payments are grounds for program termination. Contact your Housing Services Specialist if you have any questions about your portion of the rent. Pet deposit fees, garage or storage fees are not considered side payments, as long as these fees are listed in the lease agreement.

Why are units required to pass a Housing Quality Standards inspection?

All units must pass inspection to make sure they meet a minimum set of health and safety requirements established by the federal government.

Which cities, villages, and towns are in Walworth County?

Bloomfield, Darien, Delavan, East Troy, Elkhorn, Fontana, Geneva, Genoa City, La Grange, Lafayette, Lake Geneva, Linn, Lyons, Richmond, Sharon, Spring Prairie, Sugar Creek, Troy, Walworth, Whitewater. Burlington and Mukwonago have small areas that fall into Walworth County.

What is Portability?

"Portability" in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program refers to the process through which your family can transfer or "port" your rental subsidy when you move to a location outside the jurisdiction of the public housing agency (PHA) hat first gave you the voucher when you were selected for the program (the initial PHA).

The agency that will administer your assistance in the area to which you are moving is called the receiving PHA.

New families have to live in the jurisdiction of the initial PHA for a year before they can port. But, the initial PHA may allow new families to port during this one-year period.

What Happens Next?

  1. You must notify the initial PHA that you would like to port and to which area you are moving.
  2. The initial PHA will determine if you are eligible to move. For example, the PHA will determine whether you have moved out of your unit in accordance with your lease.
  3. If eligible to move, the initial PHA will issue you a voucher (if it has not done so already) and send all relevant paperwork to the receiving PHA.
  4. If you are currently assisted, you must give your landlord notice of your intent to vacate in accordance with your lease.

Contacting the Receiving PHA

  1. Your case manager will let you know how and when to contact the receiving PHA. Your case manager must give you enough information so that you know how to contact the receiving PHA.
  2. If there is more than one PHA that administers the HCV program where you wish to move, you may choose the receiving PHA. The initial PHA will give you the contact information for the PHAs that serve the area. If you prefer, you may request that the initial PHA selects the receiving PHA for you.

    Generally, the initial PHA is not required to give you any other information about the receiving PHAs, but you may wish to find out more details when contacting them (such as whether the receiving PHA operates a Family Self-Sufficiency or Homeownership program).

Before Porting, Things You Should Know

Subsidy Standards: The receiving PHA may have different subsidy standards. In other words, the initial PHA may have issued you a three-bedroom voucher, but the receiving PHA may, if appropriate for your family, issue you a two-bedroom voucher. Note, however, that the PHA’s subsidy standards must comply with fair housing and civil rights laws. This includes processing reasonable accommodation requests that are necessary for qualified individuals with disabilities.

Payment Standards: The payment standards of the receiving PHA may be different for each PHA. Payment standards are what determine the amount of the rent that the PHA will pay on your behalf. If a receiving PHA’s payment standards are lower than the initial PHA, then the portion of the rent you pay may be more than what you were paying at the initial PHA.

Re-screening: The receiving PHA may re-screen you using their own policies, which may be different than the initial PHA’s policies and could result in them denying your request to move. When contacting the receiving PHA, you may want to ask whether they re-screen families moving into their area under portability and what are their policies for termination or denial of HCV assistance. This will assist you in determining if the receiving PHA's policies might prevent you from moving to their jurisdiction.

Time Management: You should manage the move so that you have enough time to arrive at the receiving PHA before the initial PHA voucher expires; otherwise, you may lose your assistance.

Once at the Receiving PHA

  1. The receiving PHA will issue you a voucher to search for a unit in its jurisdiction. Your voucher must be extended by 30 days from the expiration date on the voucher issued by the initial PHA.
  2. When you submit a request for tenancy approval, the time on your voucher will stop until you are notified in writing whether the unit is approved or denied. The request for tenancy approval is the form you will submit to the receiving PHA once you find a unit, so that the receiving PHA can determine whether you may rent that unit under the program.
  3. If you decide that you do not want to lease a unit in the area, the receiving PHA will return your voucher to the initial PHA. The initial PHA is not required to, but may, extend the term of your voucher so that you may search for a unit in the initial PHA’s jurisdiction or port to another jurisdiction.

Any additional instructions will be provided by the receiving PHA. PHAs must comply with all nondiscrimination and equal opportunity requirements in the portability process, including, but not limited to, the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the of the Rehabilitation Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Participant FAQs and Information for Walworth County Housting Authority - WCHA (2024)
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