For voucher terminations, it is the local public housing agency (PHA), not the landlord, who terminates the voucher. There are specific federal regulations that lay out when a PHA can terminate a voucher and when a PHA must terminate a voucher.
The mandatory grounds (i.e., required reasons) for which a PHA must terminate a voucher are:
- an eviction for a serious violation of the lease (e.g., failure to pay rent or other amounts due under the lease);
- a family member fails to sign consent forms;
- a family fails to establish citizenship status or eligible immigration status within the required timeframes;
- a family member enrolled in higher education does not meet the eligibility requirements; and
- certain types of criminal activity and drug/alcohol abuse.
NOTE: Even though these are mandatory grounds, termination is not necessarily automatic. See the section below about mitigating circumstances that the PHA can consider.
In addition, the PHA may terminate a Section 8 voucher if you violate a family obligation, such as you fail to:
- supply required information;
- fix any Housing Quality Standards breach caused by the family;
- make the unit available for Section 8 inspections;
- notify the housing authority and landlord when the family moves;
- not to commit any serious or repeated lease violation;
- provide the housing authority with any lease termination/eviction notices;
- use and occupy the unit within guidelines; or,
- notify the housing authority of any family absence from the unit.
Additional discretionary reasons a PHA may terminate a Section 8 voucher include if you or a family member:
- commit fraud or other program violation;
- engage in alcohol abuse or drug-related or violent criminal activity or activity that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents or persons residing in the immediate vicinity;
- have been evicted from HUD housing in the last 5 years;
- have been terminated from the Section 8 program;
- commit fraud, bribery or any other corrupt criminal act in connection with any federal housing program;
- have an outstanding debt owed to any housing authority in connection with Section 8 or public housing;
- violate a payment/repayment agreement to a housing authority;
- Fail to reimburse the PHA for payments paid by the PHA to the landlord for amounts owed by the tenant under the lease;
- fail to comply with the family self-sufficiency program (if applicable);
- show abusive conduct or threatens abusive conduct towards housing authority personnel; or,
- willfully and persistently fail to fulfill welfare-to-work requirements (if applicable).
Mitigating Circumstances - The PHA may consider "mitigating" circumstances before terminating the Section 8 voucher. Mitigating circumstances can include all relevant circumstances, such as:
- the seriousness of the case;
- the extent of participation or culpability of individual family members;
- the disability of a household member; and
- The effect of termination of assistance on innocent household members.
NOTE: There may be additional protections against voucher termination for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking under the federal Violence Against Women Act and Maryland law.
Review the materials you received from the PHA carefully. Contact your local PHA for more information.