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After your initial lease term expires, you may be able to move to a new unit with continued assistance—that is, you may be able to take your Housing Choice Voucher with you.

If you are thinking about moving, ask about our current payment standards and start looking for a new unit (but don’t apply yet!) to see what may be available.  

It is very difficult to find a unit in Seattle’s current rental market, so make sure you think you will be able to find another place before you give your landlord notice.

Once you decide you will move, leave a message on Seattle Housing Authority's move request line at 206-239-1592.

SHA will then check to see whether you are eligible to move, including whether you owe SHA money or are behind on your public utility bills. If you are eligible, a staff person will contact you within 10 business days to confirm your household income and composition prior to scheduling a voucher issuance appointment.

Remember to plan ahead and give your landlord notice of your intention to move according to your lease terms.

If you plan to move to another unit in Seattle, give yourself at least 30 days to go through the voucher issuance process.

If you are planning to move out of Seattle, give yourself at least 60 days.


Although Seattle Housing Authority vouchers are intended for use within Seattle city limits, you may be able to utilize your voucher outside of Seattle after your first year on the program; this is called porting out.

Generally speaking, you may take your voucher to any other housing agency in the country that administers a Housing Choice Voucher program.  This process takes additional time to transfer your paperwork and have the new housing agency issue your voucher.

Similarly, if your voucher was issued by a housing authority in another city, you may be able to use the voucher in Seattle; this is called porting in.

Porting out: Using a Seattle Housing Authority voucher outside Seattle's city limits

Generally, everyone who is newly issued an SHA voucher must lease a unit in Seattle for at least one year before porting out to the jurisdiction of another housing authority.

If you are an existing Housing Choice Voucher Program tenant, you may begin the portability process by requesting a voucher to move as stated above ("Moving") and then requesting a Voluntary Portability form to tell Seattle Housing where you plan to move after you're issued a new voucher.

Porting in: Using a voucher issued by another housing agency within Seattle city limits

A family that would like to use a voucher issued by another housing agency within this housing authority's jurisdiction (Seattle city limits) should contact the Portability Certification Specialist at 206-239-1640 or at for information regarding the process, which is called porting in.

Seattle Housing is billing for port ins from western Washington & Alaska, but is absorbing all others.

Prior to porting to Seattle, please look at a map to ensure Seattle is the right housing authority for you.  Our jurisdiction is roughly the Seattle city limits.

Renton Housing Authority and King County Housing Authority serve Seattle suburbs and may be good choice suitable for you.

Steps for porting in:

  1. You must contact the housing agency that issued your voucher and tell them you would like to port their voucher to Seattle. That housing agency will forward all applicable documents to the Portability Certification Specialist here at Seattle Housing Authority. Then you must contact the Portability Certification Specialist to complete our forms.  Once we have all the forms, we will schedule an issuance interview. An appointment cannot be scheduled until Seattle Housing receives certain information from the housing agency that issued the voucher.  Typically the family will meet with SHA staff two weeks from the time all documentation is complete, including a criminal background check.

  2. After all documentation is complete, you will be issued a Seattle Housing Authority voucher and will be given a leasing packet. All vouchers are processed based on SHA’s eligibility criteria for income, Voucher Payment Standards, and bedroom size subsidy standards.

  3. Once you locate a unit in Seattle, the owner must complete the leasing packet and return it to our Central Office.  Leasing packets can be mailed, dropped off, or faxed to 206-239-1760.  Upon receipt of a complete leasing packet, SHA’s Inspection Scheduler will contact the owner to set up an inspection of the unit.