Port Out (Moving Out of Montana)

Eligibility to Port Out

In the case where the head of household or spouse does not have domicile or legal residency in Montana, the family must lease a unit in Montana for 12-months before eligible to port out of Montana. There may be an exceptions depending on the individual situation.

How to decide where to move?

  • Research, research, research! The payment standards and utility allowance may be different from your current housing authority.
  • Decide where to move BEFORE submitting a request to port (consider: transportation, utility costs, weather and quality of schools).
  • Look at the average cost of rentals in the area where you want to move. 

What do I need to know before I move?

  • Inform your current housing authority as soon as possible of your intention to “port out” as transferring your voucher can take time. You must provide the name of the city that you’re planning to move to.
  • Remember, moving is costly. Movers, gas, and new furniture will not be covered by the housing authority. Consider these costs when deciding where to move.
  • Depending on the housing authority, the length of the lease may differ from 6- 12 months.
  • The new housing authority may have different payment standards, different estimates for utilities that you pay, different rules, policies, and deadlines.
  • The unit you select must not exceed 40% of your income to be approved by the receiving housing authority.
  • Once your move is complete, your new housing authority will be your contact for future questions and information about your rental assistance.

I’m ready to port out

Step 1: Inform your current PHA and Commerce as soon as possible of your intention to “port out” as transferring your voucher can take time. You must provide Commerce with the name of the city that you’re planning to move to.

Step 2: Vacate your current unit in “good standing”.

Step 3: Once you have found housing in the area you plan to move to, your new landlord will need to complete the Request for Tenancy Approval form and return it to the PHA for approval. The request will be forwarded to the new housing authority to continue processing your move.

Step 4: The housing authority in the jurisdiction you are moving to will determine the unit bedroom size and the rent calculation that you are eligible for.

Step 5: After your family’s request and eligibility to port has been approved, and once your move is complete, the new housing authority will be your contact for future questions and information about your rental assistance. 

Porting Out FAQs (For Program Participants)

A: Porting is used when a family wants to move outside of their state or jurisdiction with a rental assistance voucher. You will need to follow the directions on this page to port. A transfer is used when a family with a voucher wants to move to another unit within their state or jurisdiction.

A: Commerce does not advise that you do so.  You must be determined eligible for the unit, the lease must be signed between the PHA and landlord, the unit must pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection, and the rent must be determined to be reasonable prior to you moving in. Assistance will not be paid if you move into your new unit without completing all steps of the port-in process. If the unit does not pass HQS inspection, Commerce will not pay your assistance in that unit.

A: This depends on the amount your new rental costs! After you have found a unit that works for your voucher size and is within the payment standard, you will be notified of your amount to pay. Remember, will pay your portion of rent after all required paperwork is completed and the unit passes inspection.

A: Commerce will conduct a reexamination of income for a family moving out of their jurisdiction with portability, unless otherwise posted. 

A: The initial term of the voucher is 60 days.

A: For Incoming Portability, Commerce may grant an extension for an additional 30 days to your voucher, not to exceed 90 days total for portability time.

A: No changes may be made to the file once the portability process begins. You may NOT add members to your household during your portability process.  Only the household composition recognized by your initial Housing Authority will be processed during the housing portability process.

A: You will need to submit a declaration to the housing authority, in writing, stating that you want to cancel your port request and have your documents sent back to your initial Housing Authority. Then, inform your initial Housing Authority that you have canceled your request to port to the receiving PHA.

A: You will need to fill out a Reasonable Accommodation request form and submit the completed form to the receiving housing authority’s agency, as no changes may be made once the portability process has begun.

A: Commerce will send you a closed file letter which will explain that we are closing your file and your documents are being returned to your initial Housing Authority for failure to lease-up. The closed file letter will also give you the right to appeal the decision to close your file and cancel your port request.