Once you receive a Tenant-Based voucher or if you are a current voucher holder who wishes to relocate, the next step is to find an apartment. Under the program, you are responsible for finding an apartment that accepts Housing Choice vouchers in the private market. It is important to find a place to live before the voucher expires!
Once you have received your voucher, it is important to follow these steps before you can move into your new apartment.
Step 1: Research Eligible Apartments
To help individuals or families find an apartment, BHA maintains an apartment listing with information provided by owners who accept Housing Program vouchers. It is your responsibility to find an apartment that is suitable for your specific situation. You can also find an apartment on your own that accepts Housing Choice vouchers.
The new apartment should have the number of bedrooms listed on your voucher. In most cases, BHA cannot approve an apartment with fewer bedrooms than the number listed on your voucher. An apartment with more bedrooms will likely be too expensive.
Step 2: Request for Tenancy Approval
Once you find an acceptable apartment, you must request the landlord complete and sign the Request for Tenancy Approval. This form is available through your BHA Leasing Officer and should be returned to the Leasing Officer as soon as it is completed.
Step 3: Get an Inspection
BHA will contact the landlord for inspection within seven business days of the Request for Tenancy being completed. If the inspection has not been scheduled within seven business days, you should call the Inspection Department at (617) 522-0048.
If the unit does not pass inspection or the landlord is unwilling to make necessary repairs in a timely manner, you must start looking for another apartment immediately.
Step 4: Approval of Rent Offer
The rent must be reasonable. If the unit passes inspection, BHA will make a rent amount offer. As part of the inspection process, BHA compares the unit you selected to those that are not available under the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
If the offer is accepted by the landlord, the lease is ready to be signed and completed. If the landlord does not accept the rent offer, you must start looking for another apartment immediately.
Always be aware of the time you have left on your voucher – you have 120 days to find an approved apartment. Learn more about voucher expiration.
Step 5: Sign the Lease with the BHA Leasing Officer
Once the unit and rent is approved, the BHA Leasing Officer will make an appointment with you to sign the lease and collect any outstanding documents needed. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions, and the Leasing Officer to explain details of the lease.
For information about finding the right apartment for you, read A Good Place to Live.