The Section 8 program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Section 8 program allows for private landlords to rent out properties including apartments and homes to qualified low-income tenants at a fair market rate which is subsidized by the government. Section 8 housing is a good way for tenants who would not be able to afford housing to find a suitable apartment or house to live, while ensuring that the landlord will receive the fair market value of their home. The landlord gets to use the same criteria to screen potential tenants to make sure that they are suitable. The amount that the tenant has to pay is determined by the landlord and the renter, although the renter must usually pay at least 28.5% of the rent. Those considering partaking in the Section 8 program should contact their local housing agency to find out the specifics about qualifying and applying. It is important to note that there are often waiting lists for this assistance. Keep reading to find out answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Section 8.
Section 8 Houses and Apartments for Rent Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are houses available for rent or just apartments?
A: Houses, apartments, condominiums are all qualified if they meet a tenant’s needs and they comply with health and sanitary standards. Homes must also meet the rent limits that are set by the Public Housing Agency (PHA). There are no special requirements for housing types that take part in Section 8.
Q. Are there restrictions on Section 8 housing locations?
A: There are many different Public Housing Agencies that each work within a specific location. The participants of that specific Public Housing Agency program can find affordable and suitable housing within the location that Public Housing Agency governs. Prospective tenants can find a home that is in a safe and clean environment that meets specific standards.
Q. How does the tenant-landlord relationship work? Is the Public Housing Agency involved?
A: Tenants and landlords typically establish a relationship on their own with respect to all matters and concerns regarding the rental unit. In some extreme cases if the tenant or landlord faces serious issues such as destruction of property, eviction, crime and other situations the PHA can become involved.
Q. What are tenant obligations?
A: Tenants who are renting a home through the Housing Choice Voucher Program have a variety of responsibilities. These responsibilities are with the landlord and the Section 8 rental unit. The tenant must:
- Pay a portion of the rent routinely
- Allow for PHA to inspect the unit when deemed appropriate
- Send updates on their income to the PHA
- Send appropriate information and documentation to the PHA
- Maintain the property with respect and not cause damage or destruction
Q. What are landlord obligations?
A: Landlords who are renting their place to Section 8 participants have a variety of obligations. The landlord must:
- Create a lease
- Screen tenants
- Select the best candidate
- Ensure the dwelling is in good condition
- Perform regular property maintenance
- Ensure utilities are operating correctly
- Meet all requirements set by the PHA
Q. What are the Public Housing Agency’s obligations?
A: The Public Housing Agency has a variety of obligations to help ensure the renting process goes smoothly. A few of the main responsibilities of the Public Housing Agency include:
- Determining eligibility of applicants
- Inspecting potential rental units
- Calculating how much rental assistance tenants will receive
- Making voucher rental payments directly to landlords
Q. How long must a tenant stay in a unit that they have decided to rent?
A: Generally, a tenant must stay in the unit for at least a year. If a tenant decides that they are unhappy with the place or needs to move for another reason, they must inform their landlord to end the lease. If the tenant does not report that they are going to end the lease, the lease will be renewed automatically.
Those who are interested in partaking in the Section 8 program as a tenant or as a landlord can find out more information at their local housing agency and at hud.gov. and usa.gov. It is important that those who are looking to become tenants understand that there is often a long waiting list, but that shouldn’t stop them from applying. The sooner that a potential tenant gets on the waiting list, the sooner that they may find housing through the Section 8 program. Special cases may have priority on waiting lists.