Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy Ch 7: Transfer Policy

Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy

Chapter 7:Transfer Policy

7.1 General Transfer Policy

A Transfer application may be initiated by a resident Head of Household occupying an apartment under a BHA lease, or under certain circumstances such as an apartment fire, under a Use and Occupancy Agreement pursuant to this Policy (Resident Initiated Transfer).  A transfer may also be initiated by the BHA.  The BHA will initiate transfers required as a result of a scheduled capital improvement or building maintenance program; required use of an Accessible Apartment or an  Apartment with adapted features by another resident or Applicant with a disability; Over or Under  Housed Households; apartment conditions which seriously endanger health or safety and   cannot be repaired in a reasonable period of time or while the apartment is occupied; or addition of  minor child(ren)   to the Household at the future date specified by an Applicant during the final application process (see Section 9.1.3.3) (BHA Initiated Transfer).  

All requests for Transfer are reviewed and final decisions made in a timely manner by the BHA’s Management staff except for Reasonable Accommodations, Security and Civil Rights Special Circumstances Transfers which shall be referred by Management to the Transfer Review Committee for a final determination, as established by the Administrator of the BHA.
 
To qualify for an On-Site or Special Circumstances Transfer, a Resident:

  1. Must have been in residence for at least one (1) year. 
  2. Must be considered in “good standing” at the time of an Application for Transfer, at the time of determination of Transfer eligibility, and at the time of actual implementation.  “Good standing” means the household is:
  • Current in its rental payments unless it is legally withholding rent pursuant to the provisions of the Lease or applicable law.
  • Not currently under a Fourteen (14) Day or a Thirty (30) Day Notice to Quit, Summary Process Action or action pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws, Chapter 139, section 19.3.2

Some or all of these requirements may be waived in certain situations pursuant to the provisions of this policy.  For example, a resident in a situation which may constitute a life-threatening situation to the health, safety or well-being of the resident or a Household Member who does not meet all of the criteria may have some or all of these conditions waived[1].  If the resident is a party to or under a Use and Occupancy Agreement, s/he may be transferred and any legal action against the resident will continue. 

Residents seeking non-Special Circumstances Transfers may apply for an On-Site transfer only.  Residents seeking an Special Circumstances Transfer will be placed on all of the BHA’s Public Housing waiting lists/AMPs for which their household meets the Threshold Eligibility Requirements exclusive of annual income limits (See 5.1.2) and in accordance with any approved requests for Good Cause and/or Reasonable Accommodation.

7.2  Transfer Categories

BHA has three categories of transfers: Administrative, Special Circumstances, and Under or Over Housed.  Special Circumstances and On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers are placed in Priority order as described in Sections 4.4.3 “Priority and/or Preference System” and 4.4.5 “Point System” of the ACOP.  Administrative Transfers are processed as described in Section 4.5 “Administrative Transfers “of this Policy:

7.2.1  Administrative

Administrative transfers are transfers due to the following reasons and will be on-site transfers unless it may not be accommodated at the site:

1..The current apartment has become uninhabitable and immediate relocation is required as a result of the following:

  • Destruction by fire or other disaster; or
  • The existence of a major maintenance problem that constitutes a substantial violation(s) of the state sanitary code and presents a serious danger to health and safety that cannot be repaired in a reasonable period of time or while the apartment is occupied.

2.  The apartment is located in a building or section of building scheduled for capital improvement pursuant to a funded capital improvement program or other major rehabilitation effort. (See BHA’s Residential Relocation & Rehousing Policy for detailed procedures on transfers because of capital improvement programs.)

3.  The transfer is required to permit occupancy of an accessible apartment or apartment with adapted features by another resident or an Applicant with a disability.

4.  A temporary transfer is required to permit work required for a maintenance or repair problem that cannot be repaired while the apartment is occupied.  The Resident will be returned to the same apartment if the apartment is of the appropriate size, following completion of the maintenance or repairs.

5.  In Federal Housing, the Household is Over housed by two (2) or more bedrooms.

6.  In State Housing, the Household is Over housed by two (2) or more bedrooms.

7.  The relocation is necessary due to the household’s current and on-going threat(s) as a result of domestic violence/sexual assault/dating violence/stalking which has been documented, investigated, and recommended by the BHA’s Public Safety Department or other sources deemed acceptable by the BHA Director of Occupancy or such other person as may be designated by the BHA Administrator.

7.2.2  Special Circumstances

Special Circumstances Transfers are transfers necessary to the health and/or safety of one or more Household members and shall be offered the every other 4th available unit by development by bedroom size.  Special Circumstances Transfers will be offered housing at the first available every other 4th unit of appropriate size and type at any of the BHA sites, except for those transfers requested as the result of the Designated Housing Plan or if qualify to transfer from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment at a development of choice. Residents will be required to document any special needs such as floor location, bedroom size, or neighborhood during the transfer application process or before a housing offer is made. Approved Special Circumstances Transfers will receive one housing offer. Failure to accept a housing offer will result in the withdrawal of the approved Special Circumstances Transfer and the resident may not re-apply for the same transfer type for a period of one year. The following are criteria for Special Circumstances Transfers:

1.  A Household Member has a serious, medically determinable, physical or mental condition that is aggravated by the present housing such that the condition is life threatening or a condition not qualifying as life-threatening  that can be alleviated and/or substantially improved only by relocation to another apartment; or

2.  The head or other Household Member is a victim of physical harassment, extreme or repeated vandalism to personal property and/or extreme and/or repeated verbal harassment, intimidation or coercion which places them in imminent danger and that cannot be expeditiously remedied in any other way[2]; or

3.  The Household needs to be relocated because of a Household Member’s participation in a witness protection program or in order to avoid reprisal as a result of providing information to a law enforcement agency or participation in a witness protection program; or

4.  The transfer requested is for a person with a disability who requires reasonable accommodation to address dire circumstances posing serious and direct threat to health, life or safety which can only be alleviated by relocation to another apartment.  The resident shall provide documentation of the disability and how the transfer will reasonably accommodate the disability.

5.  The Household is Under housed by three (3) or more bedrooms

6.  In accordance with the BHA’s Designated Housing Plan, a Household with a Non-Elderly Disabled Head or Co-Head currently residing in the Elderly/ Disabled Federal Housing Program who wishes to transfer to the Federal Family Housing Program. 

7.  In accordance with the BHA’s Designated Housing Plan, a Household with an Elderly Head or Co-Head currently residing in the Family Federal Housing Program who wishes to transfer to the Federal Elderly/Disabled Housing Program. 

7.2.3     On-site Under or Over housed Transfers

An under/over housed transfer waiting list will be established for each development/AMP. These lists will be maintained by the Occupancy Department. Housing offer assignments will be made when the development/AMP occupancy rate is at least 98% (at smaller sites this means one vacancy).  At that time, every 8th vacancy by bedroom size will be assigned to the next approved under/over housed transfer.  These transfers will be ranked based on the unit size required and application date and time.

Under or over housed transfers are those transfers made for the following reasons:

1.  In Federal Housing, the Household is Over by one (1) bedroom or Under housed by either two (2) or one (1) bedroom(s). Over/Under housed residents shall be processed for BHA transfer at the time of re-examination or interim re-determination in order to conform to BHA's Occupancy Standards.  Residents will be informed in writing that a transfer is necessary and pending.  Residents who fail to transfer will be subject to eviction; or

2.  In State Housing, the Household is Over housed by one (1) bedroom or Underhoused by either two (2) or one (1) bedrooms. Over/Under housed residents shall be processed for BHA transfer at the time of re-examination or interim re-determination in order to conform to BHA's Occupancy Standards.  Residents will be informed in writing that a transfer is necessary and pending.  Residents who fail to transfer will be subject to eviction.

Note: Residents over housed at sites where the unit size required does not exist shall be transferred under an Administrative Transfer.

Residents who under housed at sites where the unit size required does not exist shall be allowed to select other developments of choice, and they shall be considered as an “On-site” under housed transfer.

7.3  Good Cause or Reasonable Accommodation

In certain cases, residents seeking transfers may require special consideration regarding their transfer.  This consideration is essential to address a particular verifiable need with respect to housing accommodations or to avoid a verified hardship.  This documentation must be submitted with the transfer request. If the Authority determines, after reviewing the request for such consideration and the documentation submitted in support of it, that the Applicant or transfer applicant qualifies for such consideration, he/she will be approved for an assignment for Good Cause or Reasonable Accommodation to a unit of appropriate size and type. Good Cause or Reasonable Accommodation requests shall be submitted for review prior to a housing offer.  (Please see Section 6.2.5 for a complete description of the BHA Good Cause procedure).

7.4  Verification of Reason for Transfer

7.4.1 Verification Examples

Residents will be asked to provide reliable documentation of the reasons for a Resident-Initiated transfer at the time the transfer is requested.  Such verification may include the following items:

  1. A letter(s) from Qualified Healthcare Provider describing a transfer applicant’s physical or mental condition  and specifying housing conditions required on account of the condition;
  2. For reasonable accommodation requests, reliable documentation from a Qualified Healthcare Provider or professional non-medical service agency whose function it is to provide services to the disabled should verify that the transfer applicant or a member of his/her Household is disabled under the applicable definitions in Federal and State law and describe the limitations attributable to the disability.  Documentation must describe how the accommodation being requested will overcome or alleviate those limitations;
  3. Police reports;
  4. Civil Rights incident reports;
  5. Copies of restraining orders;
  6. Information on maintenance conditions;
  7. Documentation to show “Good Cause”  or “Reasonable Accommodation” to move to or from a certain part of the city of Boston, or certain type of apartment; or
  8. Any other documentation that provides the BHA with evidence that the request for a transfer is based on fact and meets the transfer criteria.

7.5  Denial of Transfer Requests

In all instances, transfer approval shall be denied if the resident does not provide appropriate documentation to substantiate the transfer request; or if the BHA determines that the resident, other Household Member, or guest was the cause of the situation resulting in the need for transfer unless the existing condition of the apartment makes it uninhabitable in which case any approved transfer may be under a Use and Occupancy Agreement.

7.6  Transfers on a Waiting List/AMP

Administrative Transfers will be processed on a case-by-case basis as described in Section 4.5 “Administrative Transfers”. 
 
Special Circumstances Transfers will be placed on every applicable waiting list/AMPand shall be offered the first available every other 4th unit by development by bedroom size and unit type that will meet the households’ needs.

Transfers will be maintained on each public housing development’s/AMP’s waiting list. BHA will rank transfers by the type of transfer: Special Circumstances or On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers as specified above.  An offer of an apartment shall be made in accordance with Chapter 6 and 7 of this ACOP.  Special Circumstances Transfer offers are made on the basis of ranking Priority and Preference points and date of application to the first one in every other fourth unit by development by bedroom size and appropriate unit type. On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers are made on the basis of bedroom size required and date of application but are also subject to the following additional apartment assignment process.

7.7  On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfer Apartment Assignments

In recognition of the need to maintain a balance of apartment assignments allocated to waiting list Applicants and BHA residents, the BHA will assign apartments to approved On-Site Under or Over Housed transfer applicants in accordance with the following “one in eight” policy:

Vacant apartments are assigned to Applicants and certain transferring residents in order of; Priority and/or Preference points; the date such Priority and/or Preference points are granted; and in the case of Standard Applicants the date of application pursuant to Chapters 6 and 7 of this ACOP.  Special Circumstances Transfers, Eligible and Qualified Priority One and Priority Two Applicants will receive offers of vacant apartments ahead of On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers and Standard Applicants as a result of the ranking process.  It is the policy of the BHA that every eight available apartment for each bedroom size category shall be offered to the On-Site Under or Over House transfer when next in line to receive an offer when the site’s occupancy rate is 98% or, for smaller sites when there is only one vacancy. This “one in eight” allocation will be calculated separately for each development/AMP by bedroom size. If no On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfer Applicant exists, the offer will be made to the next Under or Over Housed person on the waiting list.

7.8  Transfers at Residents’ Expense

All transfers are at the resident's expense, except those required by capital improvement programs (see the BHA’s Residential Relocation and Rehousing Policy (RRRP).
 
Residents offered a transfer to a unit of appropriate size and type must accept said offer, move to their new unit and vacate their current unit within 30 calendar days from the offer of housing notification unless otherwise agreed upon by the BHA in writing.
 
BHA residents who will be relocating to another unit who fail to vacate and return the key by the determined and agreed date shall be responsible to pay a pro-rated use and occupancy for the unit being vacated in addition to their regular monthly rent for the new transferred unit. Once the unit is accepted, the resident must move to the new unit within ten (10) calendar days after they have received the key to the new unit. BHA will consider extenuating circumstances and/or reasonable accommodation requests.

7.9  Transfer Waiver/Reasonable Accommodation  

 An Elderly or non-elderly disabled BHA Household residing in a Family Development/AMP which is Over housed by not more than one bedroom may apply for a reasonable accommodation due to advanced age and/or seriously infirm health of a Household Member to remain in his or her current apartment instead of transferring. A household for which separate bedrooms have been approved for health reasons is not eligible for a waiver under this section.  Denial of such a waiver is reviewable pursuant to BHA’s Grievance Policy.

7.10  Continued Occupancy for Veterans, Widows/Widowers of Veterans or Gold Star Mothers (Applicable to State Housing Developments Only)

In State-aided housing only, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws    the BHA shall not, if a resident in an apartment consisting of two bedrooms or less is a veteran or a widow or widower of a veteran or is a Gold Star Mother and has lived in the residence for at least the last eight (8) consecutive years, deny such resident continued occupancy at such residence provided that the rent is not more than three (3) months in arrears. 

7.11  Consequences of Rejection of Approved Transfer by Resident

Special Circumstances and Administrative Transfers

In the case of Special Circumstances or Administrative Transfers, rejection of an offer of an Apartment of appropriate size and design will result in revocation of the resident’s approved Special Circumstances or Administrative Transfer status.  His/her name will be withdrawn from the transfer waiting list. Furthermore, the resident will not be eligible to apply for an Special Circumstances or Administrative Transfer for the same circumstances for a period of one year from the date of the most recent apartment assignment rejection. During the one-year period, the BHA will consider a change in circumstances resulting in a new request for transfer.

Upon receiving notification from the resident of the housing offer rejection, the development/AMP managers shall initiate eviction against residents who are Over Housed by three (3) bedrooms or more.
In addition Over Housed residents in the State housing program will be charged 150% of their monthly rent upon the housing offer refusal as required by State regulations.

On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers

In the case of On-Site Under or Over Housed Transfers, rejection of an offer of an Apartment of appropriate size and design will result in revocation of the resident’s approved  Under or Over Housed Transfer status and his/her name will be withdrawn from the waiting list. Furthermore, the resident will not be eligible to apply for a Under or Over Housed Transfer for the same circumstances for a period of one year from the date of the most recent apartment assignment rejection. During the one-year period, the BHA will consider a change in circumstances resulting in a new request for transfer.

Upon notification by staff in the Occupancy Department, the development/AMP manager will proceed with eviction against an Over or Under housed resident who has rejected the offer. 

In addition Over Housed residents in the State housing program will be charged 150% of their monthly rent upon the housing offer refusal as required by State regulations.

Residents seeking to relocate to other BHA sites for other reasons not described above shall apply as an “Internal Applicant” and be processed in the same manner as an “Applicant” for new admission and must meet all eligibility requirements See Chapters 4 and 5.  Except for residents transferring from a State-Aided development to another State-Aided development where the Transfer Criteria eligibility requirements will be applicable and not the requirements set in Chapter 4 and 5.

In addition, 1) “Internal Applicants” who are over or under housed and fail to either successfully complete the screening process or fail to accept a housing offer of a unit of appropriate size and type will be subject to legal action(s) and 2) Over Housed residents in the State housing program will be charged 150% of their monthly rent upon the housing offer refusal as required by State regulations.
 


[1] The Administrator or his/her designee may approve a waiver of any provision of this policy not required by law if the waiver of such provision would avoid substantial hardship or substantial injustice to a Transfer applicant (See Section 10.8 Waiver Provision).

[2] Transfers in this category will be processed pursuant to BHA’s Civil Rights Protection Plan (“CRPP”).


Revision date:  09/19/16