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Housing Transfers

HousingLink Resource Center: 
A Guide to NYC Housing Resources


Housing Transfers

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
NYCHA Section 8 Transfers
FEPS Transfers

NYCHA Public Housing Transfers

Emergency Transfers: Emergency transfers are only available for certain priority cases
  • Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Intimidated Victims
  • Child Sexual Assault Victims
  • Intimidated Witnesses
Like the process for new applications, victims of domestic violence must meet specific documentation criteria to receive a Public Housing transfer.

To request an emergency transfer, Public Housing tenants should contact Safe Horizon at 1-855-234-1042. Safe Horizon is contracted with NYCHA to provide assistance to tenants requiring emergency transfers.

Public Housing transfers can take up to six months or longer depending 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.

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. Click here to read more about the bifurcation process.

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 be required to choose a borough where they wish to reside moving forward.  Please be aware that NYCHA will not refer domestic violence transfer tenants to buildings in zip codes considered too close to where the abuse occurred for safety reasons.  Click here to learn more about the zip codes of exclusion rules.

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

Emergency Transfers : Emergency transfers are only available for certain priority cases:
  • 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 help of an advocate is advised in this process). 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 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 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. Click here to read more about the bifurcation process.

FEPS Transfers

There are no official domestic violence transfer regulations for FEPS.  While FEPS 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 FEPS (OTDA) to do so.  Tenants should contact the nonprofit FEPS preparer for their borough for assistance in requesting permission to move.

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Domestic violence is a leading cause of
homelessness for women & children