Tenants residing in subsidized apartments experiencing domestic violence may have the option to transfer to a different, safe apartment while keeping their housing assistance if necessary. See below for a list of transfer options in different types of housing.
NYCHA Public Housing Transfers
Emergency Transfers: Emergency transfers are only available for certain priority cases.
- Victims under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking
- Intimidated victims
- Victim of a traumatic incident
- Intimidated witnesses
Emergency transfer requests must be accompanied by specific documents based on the type of transfer they are requesting. Review page two of NYCHA’s emergency transfer FAQ for details regarding the documents required for your transfer request.
To request an emergency transfer, public housing tenants should notify the Property Management office of their building.
There is no guaranteed timeline for NYCHA transfers and the time can depend on availability of a comparably sized unit in a safe location. Public housing tenants must continue to pay rent on their NYCHA apartments as they wait for their transfer, even if they are living in shelter or elsewhere. If rental arrears are collected on a NYCHA apartment, the transfer request could be denied. However, if a tenant needs to vacate their current unit for safety reasons due to domestic violence, NYCHA will not pursue a non-payment proceeding or an administrative termination of tenancy. Review page 14, “Move-in and Move-out Process” of the NYCHA emergency transfer plan for more details.
If the abuser is on the lease, it may be possible to bifurcate (split) the lease to allow non-offending family members to retain their housing assistance. Read more about the bifurcation process. The abuser or harming party will not be eligible to remain in public housing if the bifurcation is approved.
Transferring families may need to move to a smaller apartment if changes to their family size make them ineligible for their current apartment size. For example, a family moved who moved in to a three bedroom apartment many years ago with four children but only has two children living there at the time of the transfer request will be asked to transfer to a two-bedroom apartment.
Transfer tenants will have the option to be added to a NYCHA-wide waiting list that includes developments in all five boroughs or select a borough specific waiting list. Transfer tenants may choose to exclude up to two zip codes for safety reasons, regardless of which waiting list option they select, and they are not required to exclude their current zip code. Tenants eligible for an emergency transfer will receive up to two vacancy offers. Tenants requesting a third offer on the basis that the first two offers were unsafe will be required to submit additional documentation. For answers to frequently asked questions about the emergency transfer process, please review this FAQ.
Non-emergency Transfers: Non-emergency transfers are occasionally authorized for tenants experiencing changes to household size. Public Housing tenants should contact the NYCHA housing assistant in their development to request a transfer. Tenants may have to wait a long period of time before their transfer request is granted.
Section 8 Transfers
Transfers are available to victims of domestic violence who have tenant based Section 8 (also known as Housing Choice Vouchers) throughout New York City. When requesting a transfer, tenants must make the request with the local agency responsible for administering their Section 8 assistance. New York City has three agencies that administer Section 8: NYCHA, HPD and HCR.
HPD Section 8 Transfers: Transfers are available to victims of domestic violence who can demonstrate a safety risk in their current housing. Persons in need of a transfer should report to 100 Gold Street in Manhattan to make the request and bring any documentation of the DV they may have. If a tenant does not have documentation, HPD will ask the tenant to complete a HUD form attesting to their status as a victim. Visit HPD’s website for more information about moving with HPD Section 8 or call 917-286-4300.
HCR Section 8 Transfers: Transfers are available to victims of domestic violence who can demonstrate a safety risk in their current housing. Persons in need of a transfer should contact the Subsidy Services Bureau at 25 Beaver Street in Manhattan to make the request and bring any documentation of the DV they may have. If a tenant does not have documentation, HCR will ask the tenant to complete a HUD form attesting to their status as a victim.
NYCHA Section 8 Emergency Transfers: Emergency transfers are only available for certain priority cases and NYCHA requires specific documentation to process requests for transfers:
- Victim of Domestic violence
- Intimidated Victims
- Individuals who need reasonable accommodation for a disability
- Individuals whose subsidy has been suspended for Housing Quality Standards (HQS) violations
- Individuals who are being evicted due to an expired lease in a non-regulated building
Victims of domestic violence must meet specific documentation criteria to receive a Section 8 transfer.
The following steps should be taken to receive a Section 8 transfer. The Section 8 tenant should:
- Bring documentation of domestic violence incidents to their local Section 8 office and worker
- Make sure to get a receipt from the Section 8 worker verifying submittal of transfer request and documentation
- Follow up and check the status of the voucher request on a regular basis
Once the request is approved the Section 8 tenant should receive a transfer voucher within 6-8 weeks. Transfer vouchers are usually valid for 4 months and the same extension request rules apply as with new vouchers. Tenants will be responsible for finding their own apartments. As of September 2013 there are no longer restrictions on which areas survivors are allowed to move but, rentals are still subject to agency approval.
Section 8 tenants should apply for an emergency transfer as quickly as possible. Section 8 tenants who vacate their apartment for safety reasons prior to making a transfer request should work with an advocate to ensure that Section 8 does not penalize the tenant for leaving the apartment.
Section 8 tenants are no longer required to have their landlord sign a “lease release” form if they are in the middle of the lease at the time of the transfer request; the agency can and will process transfer requests for tenants who are mid-lease without requiring landlord permission. However, it is advisable to negotiate with the landlord to terminate the lease early if the transfer is approved whenever possible to avoid being held responsible for the tenant share of the rent due under the remainder of the lease term.
Non-emergency Transfers: In order to meet the basic requirements for a non-emergency transfer, tenants must have lived in the current apartment beyond the initial term of their first 1-year or 2-year lease. Few non-emergency transfers are processed by Section 8. Tenants requesting a non-emergency transfer may have to wait over a year for a transfer approval.
Portability: Section 8 tenants that are interested in moving outside of New York City’s 5 boroughs, must request “portability” when requesting a transfer. “Portability” is NYCHA’s term for transferring vouchers over to another city and/or state. In addition to navigating the portability process in the NYCHA Section 8 office, the Section 8 tenant will also need to make contact and determine the portability rules and process in the area to which she/he hopes to move. The portability process usually takes approximately two months.
If the abuser is on the lease, it may be possible to bifurcate (split) the lease to allow non-offending family members to retain their housing assistance. Read more about the bifurcation process.
There are no official domestic violence transfer regulations for FHEPS. While FHPS was never designed to be a portable/transferrable subsidy tenants may be able to get permission to move due to domestic violence but will need approval of the state agency in charge of FHEPS (OTDA) to do so. Tenants should contact a nonprofit FHEPS preparer for their borough for assistance in requesting permission to move.