How do I notify the PHA if I have a change in my income?

You must provide PHA with written notice of your change income.  You may do this by faxing a letter to your Program Representative at (401) 709-1902 or delivering a letter addressed to your Program Representative to the Administrative Offices drop box at 100 Broad Street.  Be sure to follow-up by calling your Program Representative to make certain your letter was received.

Why is reporting all my income and any changes so important?

The amount of rental assistance you receive is determined by your income and that of all members of your household.  If you are not reporting all household income, you are receiving more subsidy than the amount for which you are eligible.  Failing to report income within 10 days of starting to receive it is considered fraud and could jeopardize your continued participation in the voucher program and potentially be considered a crime. 

What should I do if my new job is temporary?

You must report all new income from any source, including from a new job to your Program Representative within ten days even if you think it may be temporary.  Some sources of income may not impact your rent, but they still must be reported.

What should I do if my adult child who lives with me is working but I do not know where and he/she doesn’t give me any money anyway?

As Head of Household, you are responsible for all information concerning every member of your household.  Your child must sign authorizations to release information and provide the name and address of his/her employer.  Failure to do so could result in the loss of rental assistance for the whole family.

Can I add someone to the voucher/lease?

You must request to add someone to the voucher and lease before the person is allowed to live in the unit.  The person to be added must undergo the same screening process as you did.  Once you file an application to add the person to your voucher/lease, PHA will schedule an appointment for you to bring the person  to the office(eliminate  that)  request their birth certificate, Social Security Card, income verification information and picture ID.  After signing authorizations to release information, screening and criminal background check will be done.  After passing the screening, if your owner/agent has no objections, he/she will be added to the  lease.

If someone has a criminal record, is he/she automatically ineligible?

No.  Felony criminal activity within the past five (5) years of an application may result in a determination of ineligibility, however, PHA considers the nature of any criminal history, evidence of rehabilitation and mitigating circumstances in making eligibility determinations.  If an applicant is determined ineligible, that person has the right to a hearing during which additional information may be presented to a PHA hearing officer.

What should I do when I want to move?

Before you make any plans to move from your current unit, keep in mind that in most cases a program participant cannot move from a unit until the participant has lived there for a period of 12 months.  When you are able to move from your unit, you must contact your Program Representative to request a 30-Day Notice Form. You must have your owner/agent sign the form at least 30 days before you plan to move into the new unit.  Return this to your Program Representative who will then give you a Request for Tenancy Approval.  The new owner/agent must complete and sign this form.

What if my owner/agent/agent refuses to sign the 30-Day Notice Form?

If you are unable to hand-deliver the 30-Day Notice, to the owner/agent, you may send it certified mail only to the owner/agent/agent and return the receipt (green card once signed) to your Program Representative. 

Can I have pets?

Whether pets are allowed in your home is your owner/agent’s decision.  It will be indicated on your lease.  If you get a pet after the lease was signed, you must check with the owner/agent.  If he/she states that you can have the pet, you must get that in writing and give a copy to your Program Representative.  If you do not have the agreement in writing, it could be a reason for eviction in the future and would jeopardize your voucher.

What should I do if there is no heat/ a window is broken/no water or other repair to be made?

Contact your landlord first.  If he/she does not respond within a reasonable time, call your Program Representative to schedule a complaint inspection. 

My two children share a bedroom, but I would like them to have separate bedrooms. Is this allowed?

Generally, two children of the same sex must share a bedroom without regard to age. However, if there is a significant medical reason that the children need separate rooms, you may contact your Program Representative for information about making a request for a reasonable accommodation to a disability noting an extra bedroom as the requested accommodation.

What should I do if I receive a legal notice from the owner/agent/agent?

If you receive a legal notice from the owner/agent, please email, fax or drop off (using PHA’s drop box at 100 Broad Street) a copy to your Program Representative and contact your personal attorney or a representative from RI Legal Services (274-2652).  Do NOT ignore any legal notice.

Can I pay my rent in cash?

It is preferable that you pay your rent by check or money order so that you have a receipt, and payment can be traced if the owner/agent doesn’t receive it.  If you must pay in cash, ask for a receipt immediately.

The Corona virus had impacted my family and I am having trouble paying my rent. Are there any programs available to help my family?

Rhode Island has received more than $200 million in rent relief funds from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program. These rent funds are administered by Rhode Island Housing through the RentReliefRI Program. This program will provide rental and utility relief payments to help eligible renters maintain housing stability.  RentReliefRI assistance does not need to be reimbursed or paid back. You can find information about how to apply by calling 1-855-608-8756, or by visiting the RentReliefRI website at

The owner/agent is not fixing the violations. Can I stop paying the rent?

You are always responsible for paying your portion of the rent.  Contact your legal advisor if you think you may have other options.  Your Program Representative is responsible for having the owner/agent rectify the problem and may advise you to move if a problem persists.

What should I do if the owner/agent/agent is asking me to pay more money for rent?

Notify your Program Representative immediately and do not pay any additional amounts requested.  The Section 8 Lease is the lease in effect no matter what other agreement that you may have made.

What should I do if the owner/agent refuses to accept my rent check?

Notify your Program Representative and contact your legal advisor.

The owner/agent told me that I have to pay for the utilities, but the lease says everything is included. What should I do?

Notify your Program Representative immediately and do not make any changes unless authorized by a PHA Representative.

Can the utilities be in someone else’s name?

The Head of Household should be the responsible party for the utilities. If the head of the household is unable to have utilities turned on due past debt, another adult in the household can have the utilities in their name so long as documentation is provided to the PHA.  If the family is responsible for utilities, they must be turned on.  They cannot be in the owner/agent’s name if, according to the lease, the tenant is responsible.  What the utility companies permit is their policy.  The PHA’s policy is that the utilities must be on, and we will require further documentation if the service is in anyone else’s name that is other than head of household.  

What should I do if I receive a termination letter?

Request an informal hearing within ten days of the date the letter was sent and follow the instructions in the letter.

Who do I contact if I am interested in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program?

For more information, call (401) 709- 6406, or (401) 709-6407. 

What is the Homeownership Program?

The Homeownership Program allows qualified families to buy a single-family house and continue receiving voucher assistance towards their mortgage.  For more information, call the PHA’s Homeownership Program Coordinator at 709-1606.

Can I leave Providence with my voucher?

Yes, however, you must contact your Program Representative.  You must give 30 day written notice to your landlord and the paperwork must be transferred to the new Housing Authority.  Keep in mind that you must have lived for 12 months in your current Providence unit before you are eligible to move.  You may look for housing anywhere in the United States or its territories which operate a Voucher Program.

What should I do if I think that I have been discriminated against?

Report all cases of housing discrimination to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Complete HUD Form 903.1 which is included in your briefing packet or ask your Program Representative for a copy.  You can also file online at  

Can an owner/agent/agent refuse to rent a unit to me because I have a Section 8 voucher?

No, in Rhode Island refusing to rent to a Section 8 voucher holder is considered unlawful and discrimination based on source of income.  Report cases of this type of discrimination to the Rhode Island Human Rights Commission.  Contact information for the Commission is:  Rhode Island Commission for Human 

180 Westminster Street, 3rd Floor

Providence, RI 02903

Phone: (401) 222-2661

Fax: (401) 222-2616

TTY (Relay RI): (401) 222-2664

What should I do if the owner/agent sells the property?

The owner/agent must contact the PHA prior to the sale of the property.  After the sale, the new owner/agent should contact your Program Representative and provide documents.  If the owner/agent wants you to move from the property, the owner/agent must send you notice in writing.  When you receive it, provide a copy to your Program Representative, and contact your legal advisor.  Never vacate before speaking to your Program Representative and a legal advisor about your rights.

What should I do if the owner/agent wants to terminate the lease?

You must email, fax or deliver (PHA drop box at 100 Broad Street) a copy of the notice to your Program Representative who will advise you based on the reason the owner/agent wants you to vacate.  If the owner/agent has not given you a written notice you do not have to leave the apartment.  Never vacate before speaking to your Program Representative and a legal advisor about your rights.

Can my landlord evict me because I am a victim of domestic violence?

No.  Please contact your Program Representative for more information and verifications that need to be completed.