Housing Choice Vouchers

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is a rental subsidy program administered by this agency. As vouchers become available, Portsmouth Housing selects qualified families or individuals from the Wait List who are then certified and briefed on the requirements of the program. After these first steps, the voucher is issued and the recipient (renter) is responsible for finding an apartment of their choice within 60 days, and then arranging for the apartment to be inspected by one of our specialists.  If the apartment meets our quality standards and rental limits then you can use the voucher to receive rental assistance.

The dollar amount of the assistance is based upon the difference between rental amount agreed to by the tenant and landlord,  and the amount equal to 30% of the family’s adjusted gross income. Portsmouth Housing will submit this amount directly to the landlord to assist the tenant.

To apply for housing assistance see our Application and Wait List Information page or call us at 603-436-4310 is (TDD 1-800-545-1833 ext. 825) and ask us to mail an application to you.  

You can also pick up an application in person at:

Portsmouth Housing Authority
245 Middle Street
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801.

Housing Choice Voucher Application Process

  1. Complete Portsmouth Housing’s Preliminary Application and be sure to select "Section 8" as a housing option.
  2. Return the fully completed Preliminary Application, along with copies of Social Security cards and Birth Certificates for each member of the household, in person or by mail to Portsmouth Housing Authority, 245 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801, via fax at 603-436-4937, or via email to applications@nh-pha.com.
  3. Wait for your Preliminary Application to be processed by Portsmouth Housing. Processing an application can take 2-4 weeks after the completed application and all required documents are submitted. Once processed, you will hear from Portsmouth Housing to confirm or deny that you have been placed on our Wait List.
  4. When your name nears the top of the Wait List, you will be invited to a mandatory Voucher Holder Meeting held at the Portsmouth Housing Authority.
  5. Voucher holders will then locate an apartment or home to rent and be sure that the rental price is at or below our allowed limits. (Click here for Rent Limits)
  6. Work with Portsmouth Housing to arrange an inspection by one of our Housing Quality Standard (HQS) Inspectors.
  7. Await the HQS inspection results. If the unit passes the HQS inspection, Portsmouth Housing will provide a lease start date and give the tenant the rent amount.
  8. Sign the lease contract between you and the landlord.
  9. Move in to your new home!
  10. Comply with Portsmouth Housing’s program rules and regulations as spelled out in Portsmouth Housing’s Section 8 Administrative Plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

We administer two programs. The housing developments owned, managed and maintained by PHA are referred to as public housing. The Housing Voucher Program is a rental subsidy program administered by this agency. Qualified families in this program are selected from the Wait List, certified, briefed on the requirements of the program and can locate their own decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Rents are controlled by Fair Market Rents as established by HUD. The tenant’s portion of the rent payable to the owner is based on 30% of the family’s adjusted gross income. Portsmouth Housing subsidizes the difference between the tenant’s portion and the actual rent.
The portability feature allows an eligible family that has been issued a Housing Choice Voucher to use the voucher to lease a unit anywhere there is a housing agency operating the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Voucher holders in jurisdictions other than Portsmouth may transfer or “port” their vouchers to Portsmouth Housing’s program depending on availability.
The wait time for housing is difficult to determine at time of application. The total wait wait time is determined by the number of preference points that the applicant has and which properties the applicant has signed up for.
All changes must be reported to the PHA within ten days from the date of change. Documentation supporting the change should be submitted along with written notice. Your monthly rent could change depending on whether your income goes up or down. Not reporting changes to income is considered fraud and could cause termination of your tenancy.
Vouchers are issued for a period of 60 days. Two 30-day extensions can be granted based on PHA discretion for a total of 120 days.
Yes, there is a minimum rent requirement of $50.00. This amount will be taken into consideration when calculating the family’s Total Tenant Payment (TTP).
The share of rent is generally 30-40% of your monthly adjusted gross income (AGI).
Yes, it is possible to rent a unit that has more bedrooms than you are eligible for. In addition to advising your Housing Specialist, consider that the rent for the apartment must be equal or less than your voucher payment standard and also factor in the cost of utilities.
Neither you nor any member of your household may lease a unit from immediate family (such as parents, child, grandparents, grandchild, sister, brother, spouse or domestic partner).
No, the unit must pass inspection before we can give you financial assistance.
Family Obligations are the HUD rules that participating families must abide by to continue to receive a subsidy through the PHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program. Families that do not abide by these obligations may be terminated from the program. These Family Obligations are: The family must supply any information that the PHA or HUD determines to be necessary, including submission of required evidence of citizenship or eligible immigration status. The family must supply any information requested by the PHA or HUD for use in a regularly scheduled re-examination or interim re-examination of family income and composition. The family must disclose and verify social security numbers and sign and submit consent forms for obtaining information. Any information supplied by the family must be true and complete. The family is responsible for any Housing Quality Standards (HQS) breach by the family caused by failure to pay tenant-provided utilities or appliances, or damages to the dwelling unit or premises beyond normal wear and tear caused by any member of the household or guest. The family must allow the PHA to inspect the unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice. The family must not commit any serious or repeated violation of the lease. The family must notify the PHA and the owner before moving out of the unit or terminating the lease. The family must comply with lease requirements regarding written notice to vacate to the owner. The family must provide written notice to the PHA at the same time the owner is notified. The family must promptly give the PHA a copy of any owner eviction notice. The family must use the assisted unit for residence by the family only. The unit must be the family's only residence. The composition of the assisted family residing in the unit must be approved by the PHA. The family must notify the PHA in writing within ten days of the birth, adoption, or court-awarded custody of a child. The family must request PHA approval to add any other family member as an occupant of the unit. The family must notify the PHA in writing within ten days if any family member no longer lives in the unit. The family must notify the PHA in writing within ten days of any change in income. The family must not sublease the unit, assign the lease, or transfer the unit. The family must supply any information requested by the PHA to verify that the family is living in the unit or information related to family absence from the unit. The family must notify the PHA within ten days when the family is absent from the unit. The family must not own or have any interest in the unit. Family members must not commit fraud, bribery, or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with the program. Family members must not engage in drug-related criminal activity or violent criminal activity or 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 premises. Members of the household must not engage in abuse of alcohol in a way that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the other residents and persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises. An assisted family or member of the family must not receive HCV assistance while receiving another housing subsidy, for the same unit or a different unit under any other federal, state or local housing assistance program. A family must not receive HCV program assistance while residing in a unit owned by a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister or brother of any member of the family, unless the PHA has determined (and has notified the owner and the family of such determination) that approving rental of the unit, notwithstanding such relationship, would provide reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities.