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BHHC ACOP - Chapter 12

Chapter 12



This chapter explains the PHA’s transfer policy, based on HUD regulations, HUD guidance, and PHA policy decisions.

This chapter describes HUD regulations and PHA policies related to transfers in four parts:

Part I: Emergency Transfers. This part describes emergency transfers, emergency transfer procedures, and payment of transfer costs.

Part II: PHA Required Transfers. This part describes types of transfers that may be required by the PHA, notice requirements, and payment of transfer costs.

Part III: Transfers Requested by Residents. This part describes types of transfers that may be requested by residents, eligibility requirements, security deposits, payment of transfer costs, and handling of transfer requests.

Part IV: Transfer Processing. This part describes creating a waiting list, prioritizing transfer requests, the unit offer policy, examples of good cause, deconcentration, transferring to another development and reexamination.

The PHA may require the tenant to move from the unit under some circumstances.  There are also emergency circumstances under which alternate accommodations for the tenant must be provided, that may or may not require a transfer.

The tenant may also request a transfer, such as a request for a new unit as a reasonable accommodation.

The PHA must have specific policies in place to deal with acceptable transfer requests.



HUD categorizes certain actions as emergency transfers [PH Occ GB, p. 147].  The emergency transfer differs from a typical transfer in that it requires immediate action by the PHA.

In the case of a genuine emergency, it may be unlikely that the PHA will have the time or resources to immediately transfer a tenant. Due to the immediate need to vacate the unit, placing the tenant on a transfer waiting list would not be appropriate. Under such circumstances, if an appropriate unit is not immediately available, the PHA should find alternate accommodations for the tenant until the emergency passes, or a permanent solution, i.e., return to the unit or transfer to another unit, is reached.


If the dwelling unit is damaged to the extent that conditions are created which are hazardous to life, health, or safety of the occupants, the PHA must offer standard alternative accommodations, if available, where necessary repairs cannot be made within a reasonable time [24 CFR 966.4(h)].

BHHC Policy

The following is considered an emergency circumstance warranting an immediate transfer of the tenant or family:

Maintenance conditions in the resident’s unit, building or at the site that pose an immediate, verifiable threat to the life, health or safety of the resident or family members that cannot be repaired or abated within 24 hours. Examples of such unit or building conditions would include: a gas leak; no heat in the building during the winter; no water; toxic contamination; and serious water leaks.  BHHC will provide temporary accommodations to the resident using its model unit and/or a hotel for emergency temporary transfers, if other housing is not available.


BHHC Policy

If the transfer is necessary because of maintenance conditions, and an appropriate unit is not immediately available, BHHC will provide temporary accommodations to the tenant by arranging for temporary lodging at its model unit and/or a hotel location. If the conditions that required the transfer cannot be repaired, or the condition cannot be repaired in a reasonable amount of time, BHHC will transfer the resident to the first available and appropriate unit after the temporary relocation.

Emergency transfers are mandatory for the tenant.


BHHC Policy

BHHC will bear the reasonable costs of temporarily accommodating the tenant and of long term transfers, if any, due to emergency conditions.  BHHC will not bear the cost of temporary accommodations for residents were Emergency conditions are caused by the tenant.

The reasonable cost of transfers includes the cost of packing, moving, and unloading.

BHHC will establish a moving allowance based on the typical costs in the community of packing, moving, and unloading. To establish typical costs, BHHC will collect information from companies in the community that provide these services.

BHHC will reimburse the family for eligible out-of-pocket moving expenses up to BHHC  established moving allowance.



HUD regulations regarding transfers are minimal, leaving it up to the PHA to develop reasonable transfer policies.

The PHA may require that a resident transfer to another unit under some circumstances.  For example, the PHA may require a resident to transfer to make an accessible unit available to a disabled family. The PHA may also transfer a resident in order to maintain occupancy standards based on family composition. Finally, a PHA may transfer residents in order to demolish or renovate the unit.

A transfer that is required by the PHA is an adverse action, and is subject to the notice requirements for adverse actions [24 CFR 966.4(e)(8)(i)].


BHHC Policy

The types of transfers that may be required by BHHC, include, but are not limited to, transfers to make an accessible unit available for a disabled family, transfers to comply with occupancy standards, transfers for demolition, disposition, revitalization, or rehabilitation, and emergency transfers as discussed in Part I of this chapter.

Transfers required by the PHA are mandatory for the tenant.  Notice PIH 2011-33 allows PHAs with a work preference to include work activities as a condition of continued occupancy at a public housing development.  However, failure to meet the work requirement is not grounds for termination of assistance.  In such cases the PHA must instead transfer the resident to a development without a work requirement.


Transfers to Make an Accessible Unit Available

When a family is initially given an accessible unit, but does not require the accessible features, the PHA may require the family to agree to move to a non-accessible unit when it becomes available [24 CFR 8.27(b)].

BHHC Policy

When a non-accessible unit becomes available, BHHC will transfer a family living in an accessible unit that does not require the accessible features, to an available unit that is not accessible. BHHC may wait until a disabled resident requires the accessible unit before transferring the family that does not require the accessible features out of the accessible unit.

Occupancy Standards Transfers

The PHA may require a resident to move when a reexamination indicates that there has been a change in family composition, and the family is either overcrowded or over-housed  according to PHA policy [24 CFR 960.257(a)(4)]. On some occasions, the PHA may initially place a resident in an inappropriately sized unit at lease-up, where the family is over-housed, to prevent vacancies. The public housing lease must include the tenant’s agreement to transfer to an appropriately sized unit based on family composition [24 CFR 966.4(c)(3)].

BHHC Policy

BHHC will transfer a family when the family size has changed and the family is now too large (overcrowded) or too small (over-housed) for the unit occupied.

For purposes of the transfer policy, overcrowded and over-housed are defined as follows:

Overcrowded: the number of household members exceeds the maximum number of persons allowed for the unit size in which the family resides, according to the chart in Section 5-I.B.

Over-housed: the family no longer qualifies for the bedroom size in which they are living based on the PHA’s occupancy standards as described in Section 5-I.B.

BHHC may also transfer a family who was initially placed in a unit in which the family was over-housed to a unit of an appropriate size based on BHHC’s occupancy standards, when BHHC determines there is a need for the transfer.

BHHC may elect not to transfer an over-housed family in order to prevent vacancies.

A family that is required to move because of family size will be advised by BHHC that a transfer is necessary and that the family has been placed on the transfer list.

Families that request and are granted an exception to the occupancy standards (for either a larger or smaller size unit) in accordance with the policies in Section 5-I.C. will only be required to transfer if it is necessary to comply with the approved exception.

Demolition, Disposition, Revitalizations, or Rehabilitation Transfers

These transfers permit the PHA to demolish, sell or do major capital or rehabilitation work at a building site [PH Occ GB, page 148].

BHHC Policy

BHHC will relocate a family when the unit or site in which the family lives is undergoing major rehabilitation that requires the unit to be vacant, or the unit is being disposed of or demolished. BHHC’s relocation plan may or may not require transferring affected families to other available public housing units.

If the relocation plan calls for transferring public housing families to other public housing units, affected families will be placed on the transfer list.

In cases of revitalization or rehabilitation, the family may be offered a temporary relocation if allowed under Relocation Act provisions, and may be allowed to return to their unit, depending on contractual and legal obligations, once revitalization or rehabilitation is complete.

12-II.C. ADVERSE ACTION [24 CFR 966.4(e)(8)(i)]

A PHA required transfer is an adverse action. As an adverse action, the transfer is subject to the requirements regarding notices of adverse actions.  If the family requests a grievance hearing within the required timeframe, the PHA may not take action on the transfer until the conclusion of the grievance process.


BHHC Policy

BHHC will bear the reasonable costs of transfers that BHHC requires, except that residents will be required to bear the cost of occupancy standards transfers.

The reasonable costs of transfers include the cost of packing, moving, and unloading.

BHHC will establish a moving allowance based on the typical costs in the community of packing, moving, and unloading. To establish typical costs, BHHC will collect information from companies in the community that provide these services.

In accordance to BHHC’s Procurement Policy if the moving expense is less than $1,000.00 only one quotation will be solicited if the price received is considered reasonable.  If the moving expense is greater than $1,000.00 the small purchase procedures will be followed, No less than three offers shall be solicited.  Quotes may be obtained orally, by telephone, or in writing as allowed by State Laws.

BHHC will reimburse the family for eligible out-of-pocket moving expenses up to the BHHC’s established moving allowance.



HUD provides the PHA with discretion to consider transfer requests from tenants. The only requests that the PHA is required to consider are requests for reasonable accommodation. All other transfer requests are at the discretion of the PHA. To avoid administrative costs and burdens, this policy limits the types of requests that will be considered by the PHA.

Some transfers that are requested by tenants should be treated as higher priorities than others due to the more urgent need for the transfer.


BHHC Policy

The types of requests for transfers that BHHC will consider are limited to requests for transfers to alleviate a serious or life threatening medical condition, transfers due to a threat of physical harm or criminal activity, reasonable accommodation, transfers to a different unit size as long as the family qualifies for the unit according to BHHC’s occupancy standards, and transfers to a location closer to employment. No other transfer requests will be considered by BHHC

BHHC will consider the following as high priority transfer requests:

When a transfer is needed to alleviate verified medical problems of a serious or life-    threatening nature

When there has been a verified threat of physical harm or criminal activity. Such circumstances may, at BHHC’s discretion, include an assessment by law enforcement indicating that a family member is the actual or potential victim of a criminal attack, retaliation for testimony, a hate crime, or domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

When a family requests a transfer as a reasonable accommodation. Examples of a reasonable accommodation transfer include, but are not limited to, a transfer to a first floor unit for a person with mobility impairment, or a transfer to a unit with accessible features

BHHC will consider the following as regular priority transfer requests:

When a family requests a larger bedroom size unit even though the family does not meet the BHHC’s definition of overcrowded, as long as the family meets the BHHC’s occupancy standards for the requested size unit

When the head of household or spouse is employed 25 miles or more from the public housing unit, has no reliable transportation and public transportation is not adequate

Transfers requested by the tenant are considered optional for the tenant.


Transferring residents do not have to meet the admission eligibility requirements pertaining to income or preference.  However, the PHA may establish other standards for considering a transfer request [PH Occ GB, p. 150].

BHHC Policy

Except where reasonable accommodation is being requested, or a residents request is being made in accordance to the ‘Final Rule’ as it relates to VAWA in accordance with  section 16-VII.D, BHHC will only consider transfer requests from residents that meet the following requirements:

Have not engaged in criminal activity that threatens the health and safety or residents and staff

Owe no back rent or other charges, or have a pattern of late payment

Have no housekeeping lease violations or history of damaging property

Can get utilities turned on in the name of the head of household (applicable only to properties with tenant-paid utilities)

A resident with housekeeping standards violations will not be transferred until the resident passes a follow-up housekeeping inspection.

Exceptions to the good record requirement may be made when it is to the BHHC’s advantage to make the transfer.  Exceptions may also be made when BHHC determines that a transfer is necessary to protect the health or safety of a resident who is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking and who provides documentation of abuse in accordance with section 16-VII.D of this ACOP.

If a family requested to be placed on the waiting list for a unit size smaller than designated by the occupancy guidelines, the family will not be eligible to transfer to a larger size unit for a period of two years from the date of admission, unless they have a change in family size or composition, or it is needed as a reasonable accommodation.


BHHC Policy

When a family transfers from one unit to another, BHHC will transfer their security deposit to the new unit. The tenant will be billed for any maintenance or others charges due for the “old” unit.


BHHC Policy

The resident will bear all of the costs of transfer s/he requests. However, in cases of documented financial hardship, BHHC will consider assuming the transfer costs when the transfer is done as a reasonable accommodation.


BHHC Policy

Residents requesting a transfer to another unit or development will be required to submit a written request for transfer.

In case of a reasonable accommodation transfer, BHHC will encourage the resident to make the request in writing using a reasonable accommodation request form. However, BHHC will consider the transfer request any time the resident indicates that an accommodation is needed whether or not a formal written request is submitted.

BHHC will respond by approving the transfer and putting the family on the transfer list, by denying the transfer, or by requiring more information or documentation from the family.

If the family does not meet the “good record” requirements under Section 12-III.C., the manager will address the problem and, until resolved, the request for transfer will be denied.

BHHC will respond within ten (10) business days of the submission of the family’s request. If BHHC denies the request for transfer, the family will be informed of its grievance rights.



Generally, transfers should be placed on a transfer list and handled in the appropriate order. The transfer process must be clearly auditable to ensure that residents do not experience disparate treatment.


BHHC Policy

BHHC will maintain a centralized transfer list to ensure that transfers are processed in the correct order and that procedures are uniform across all properties.

Emergency transfers will not automatically go on the transfer list. Instead emergency transfers will be handled immediately, on a case by case basis. If the emergency will not be finally resolved by a temporary accommodation, and the resident requires a permanent transfer, that transfer will be placed at the top of the transfer list.

Transfers will be processed in the following order:

1. Emergency transfers (hazardous maintenance conditions)

2. High-priority transfers (verified medical condition, threat of
harm or criminal activity, and reasonable accommodation)

3. Transfers to make accessible units available

4. Demolition, renovation, etc.

5. Occupancy standards

6. Other BHHC-required transfers

7. Other tenant-requested transfers

Within each category, transfers will be processed in order of the date a family was placed on the transfer list, starting with the earliest date.

With the approval of the executive director, BHHC may, on a case-by-case basis, transfer a family without regard to its placement on the transfer list in order to address the immediate need of a family in crisis.

Demolition and renovation transfers will gain the highest priority as necessary to allow BHHC to meet the demolition or renovation schedule.

Transfers will take precedence over waiting list admissions.


BHHC Policy

Residents will receive one offer of a transfer.

When the transfer is required by BHHC, refusal of that offer without good cause will result in lease termination.

When the transfer has been requested by the resident, refusal of that offer without good cause will result in the removal of the household from the transfer list and the family must wait six months to reapply for another transfer.


BHHC Policy

Examples of good cause for refusal of a unit offer include, but are not limited to, the following:

Inaccessibility to source of employment, education, or job training, children’s day care, or an educational program for children with disabilities, so that accepting the unit offer would require the adult household member to quit a job, drop out of an educational institution or job training program, or take a child out of day care or an educational program for children with disabilities.

The family demonstrates to BHHC’s satisfaction that accepting the offer will place a family member’s life, health or safety in jeopardy. The family should offer specific and compelling documentation such as restraining orders, other court orders, or risk assessments related to witness protection from a law enforcement agency. Reasons offered must be specific to the family. Refusals due to location alone do not qualify for this good cause exemption.

A health professional verifies temporary hospitalization or recovery from illness of the principal household member, other household members (as listed on final application) or live-in aide necessary to the care of the principal household member.

The unit is inappropriate for the applicant’s disabilities, or the family does not need the accessible features in the unit offered and does not want to be subject to a 30-day notice to move.

The unit has lead-based paint and the family includes children under the age of six.

BHHC will require documentation of good cause for unit refusals.


BHHC Policy

If subject to deconcentration requirements, BHHC will consider its deconcentration goals when transfer units are offered. When feasible, families above the Established Income Range will be offered a unit in a development that is below the Established Income Range, and vice versa, to achieve BHHC’s  de-concentration goals. A deconcentration offer will be considered a “bonus” offer; that is, if a resident refuses a deconcentration offer, the resident will receive one additional transfer offer.


BHHC Policy

The reexamination date will be changed to the first of the month in which the transfer took place.

Copyright 2008 Benton Harbor Housing Commission 721 Nate Wells sr Drive, Benton Harbor, MI 49022