Many renters are experiencing difficulty locating inexpensive housing these days. Rents have risen by more than 20% since this time last year. As a result, many low-income families rely on housing vouchers and government assistance to help them pay their rent and utilities.
Over 5 million households receive federal rental assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program. About 70% of those individuals are elderly adults, children, and people with disabilities. The Section 8 housing assistance program helps low-income families and individuals to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.
Still, many renters may not know how to find landlords that accept housing vouchers. Below is some basic information on how the housing choice program works and the processes to apply for it.
How Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program Works
HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, generally known as Section 8, assists low-income people in obtaining rental housing, whether an apartment, a single-family home, or a townhouse.
It is administered by a Public Housing Agency (PHA). However, it is up to low-income families to find rental properties and private landlords who accept vouchers.
Housing choice vouchers are classified into two types: project-based vouchers and tenant-based vouchers. Project-based vouchers only apply to specific housing developments. Tenant-based vouchers, on the other hand, can be used for any residence as long as the owner accepts the voucher and the property fits the program standards.
A local Public Housing Agency (PHA) determines eligibility for Section 8 vouchers based on a number of factors, such as:
- Household size
- U.S citizenship status or eligible immigrant status
- Household income is within the extremely low to low-income category
- Should not exceed 50% of the median income for the area
- No convictions of producing methamphetamine in an assisted housing project
- No evictions from a rental property for a drug-related offense within the past three years
If the PHA deems that your family is eligible, your name will be added to a waiting list unless the agency is able to assist you immediately.
How To Apply
Contact your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) if you want to apply for a housing voucher. You may also contact the U.S. HUD Office near you for further assistance.
How To Find Landlords That Accept Housing Vouchers
Applying for a housing voucher is just one step in the process toward an affordable home. It is up to the renter to find landlords that accept housing vouchers. And this part is tough, depending on where you live.
Step 1: Determine Your Budget
The PHA establishes a payment standard, which is the amount often required to rent a fairly priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and is used to calculate how much housing assistance a family would receive. However, the recipient of the family must pay 30% to 40% of its adjusted monthly income for rent and utilities while the PHA covers the rest.
Find apartments or homes where you can meet the monthly payment standard.
Step 2: Find Out Where To Look
You may now contact your local PHA to find apartments and rentals operated by private landlords who accept Section 8 vouchers. They can refer you to a landlord or property owner who accepts housing vouchers. You may also check the HUD website for the lists of houses or apartments under Section 8.
Step 3: Get Assistance For Deposits and First Month’s Rent
Once you’ve located an apartment or house that is approved by HUD for Section 8, you may now request assistance for the deposits, monthly rent, and utilities.
The payment standard, or the gross rent for the unit, less than 30% of the family’s monthly adjusted income, is often the maximum housing assistance provided by PHA.
Step 4: Check Out The Lease Date
Before agreeing with the landlord over the lease terms, go over the lease date — specifically the lease start date and lease execution date. This is worth noting to avoid significant financial consequences and withdrawal of Section 8 eligibility.
Section 8 renters are also required to abide by the lease’s terms, which include paying their share of the rent on time and adhering to all other guidelines.
Step 5: Have All The Paperwork Filled Out
The address of the apartments or other rental properties, the projected lease start date, the tenant’s rent, and any associated utilities will all be included in the tenancy request that the landlord must submit to HUD to be eligible to accept Section 8 tenants.
On the other hand, Section 8 applicants must provide all necessary documents that prove their personal and income-related information annually. This is to account for the change in a family’s housing needs over time.
Find Landlords That Accept Housing Vouchers And Start Your Day 1
The best ways to find Section 8 rentals are to check with your local PHA and search websites where you can filter “income-restricted” properties. This will help you find landlords that accept housing vouchers and provide you with a comfortable and secure home that meets your family’s needs and budget.
If you currently reside in Texas and need housing assistance, check out this Gov Relations article on Texas emergency rental assistance programs.