The rules regarding your section 8 voucher are very strict. It is important to know what is expected and what is important to avoid. Any violations could result in you losing your voucher.
To avoid any potential mishaps, it is good to be aware of who can live with you in section 8.
First, let’s go over what section 8 is.
What is Section 8?
The Congress established Section 8 of the Housing and Community Development Act in 1974. It is a form of government assistance- specifically in assistance for housing. The main purpose is to provide suitable living to those who do not make an efficient income.
For someone to receive government assistance, one must apply for a section 8 voucher. More information on the application process later, though.
If a person does get approved, the government provides the money straight to the landlord. Sometimes the voucher covers the entirety of the rent. Most commonly, the government will just cover a percentage. You are required to cover the other portion.
Not all housing is included under this act. There is housing that is specifically made for section 8. There are single family homes, as well as apartments that are strictly for section 8 receivers.
Let’s take a closer look at what is exactly involved in the application process.
The application process is not necessarily easy or quick.
You must begin by finding your local Public Housing Agency. This is your best place to start. You can find this information on the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development website.
Once you have found your local Public Housing Agency, you must determine if you are eligible for a Section 8 voucher. There are four main factors that the Public Housing Agency will consider:
- The size of one’s family
- The total gross income of the household
- Citizenship status. In regard to citizenship status, undocumented immigrants will not be eligible for assistance.
- Any history of a past eviction. If you have been evicted from government assistance housing for any drug-related criminal activity you are ineligible for assistance for at least 3 years after the eviction.
These are not the only factors the agency will take into consideration. There are other factors that will come into consideration as well. If you are eligible, you can begin the application process!
Once you have found out that you are eligible, you can begin the actual application.
The application for a voucher is completely free! Depending on your local Public Housing Agency, the application will be available to you online or by mail. You may have to go to your local PHA office in order to fill out an application.
When filling out the application it is crucial to do it properly to avoid any possible mishaps. You may want to seek guidance to ensure you have filled everything in correctly.
In addition to basic information, there will be various other questions. Your housing history and criminal history will need to be listed.
Rejected or Selected
After you have submitted your application it is reviewed by the housing agency. This will typically take up to 60 days. Every situation varies, though.
If your application is approved, you will then be put on a wait list. You must confirm your place on the waiting list for housing. Unfortunately, just because you are on the waiting list does not mean you will be placed in housing quickly.
If you are rejected it could be due to a few different reasons. One reason your application may be rejected could be because of high demand. Regardless of why, the agency must make the applicant aware of the reasoning for the denial.
The PHA must also notify you that you have the right to an informal hearing or review if denied.
You may not receive your voucher immediately after being approved.
Once you do receive your voucher, the house hunting can begin.
You must find landlords that accept a Section 8 voucher for rent. Typically the government will only cover a percentage of the rent and you will have to cover the rest of the payment.
Once the living arrangements have been secured, the government will pay the voucher directly to the landlord.
Just because you are now living in your own home does not mean it is free for all.
Who Can Live With You?
Due to the strictness of the section 8 voucher rules, it is good to be aware of what you can and cannot do.
The only person or persons allowed to live in the house are those who were reported on the initial application. This portion of the application is known as the “family report”. The family report helps to determine a few things regarding the living arrangement.
For instance, it helps to determine the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms that will be needed.
Anyone who was not reported initially as a part of your household is considered a guest. Yes, this means even if they are a blood relative. Unless the person was counted for on your initial application, they are a guest.
If it is discovered that someone is reportedly living with you, a few instances could occur. Some instances are as follows:
Your voucher could be taken away for good. This means that you couldn’t reapply for either a set period of time, or ever to your local PHA.
The Housing Authority could request documentation of the person’s income and raise the percentage that you pay monthly.
If you plan to have someone move in with you, it is crucial that you contact the housing authority about the steps that you can take to do so properly.
Someone Moving In
There may be some instances where someone needs to move into your household. For instance, children care or you have married someone.
It is crucial to contact your housing agency before letting anyone move in. This is important so that you avoid any potential mis-happenings.
Every housing program has different rules regarding who can move into your home.
If you are able to have someone else move in a few things may change. Some instances are as follows:
You may have to move. This is because depending on the situation, you may be eligible for a house with more bedrooms or bathrooms. This would then open up your previous home for new residents.
Your portion of rent may increase. The person who is potentially moving in will have to report any source of income. As a result, if the person is making enough to cover a larger form of rent, the government will take this into consideration.
It is also important to remember that just because you apply to have someone move in with you, does not mean it will be allowed.
The rules involved with section 8 are very strict. It is important to be aware of all rules that exist.
It is crucial that no other person lives in your house other than those who were originally reported.
If it is discovered that someone is living with you unreported, your voucher could get taken away.