What Happens Once You Have Your Section 8 Voucher

Excited to check out housing units? Before you go looking for one, it is important to know what the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations or policies are.

The monthly rent of the unit must meet the housing authority’s Payment Standards. Payment Standards are the maximum rent a household may pay with their voucher monthly. Find out what the Payment Standards are for your area by visiting the housing authority’s website. Contact the office if they do not have a website or this information is not available online.

Next, is the inspection. The local housing authority inspects and approves all units to comply with HUD’s housing standards. The inspectors also check the overall condition of the unit. This includes the structure and if there are animal infestations, mold, or other contaminants.

Where you can use your Section 8 Voucher:

  • apartments or houses owned by a private landlord
  • apartments or houses owned by a private landlord who will accept the voucher, unless the unit is located in an area protected by source of income discrimination laws
  • A Section 515 Rural Rental Housing property that has units with no rental assistance, unless the property has a full Project-Based Section 8 contract on it.
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit units, unless the unit has a Project-Based Section 8 or USDA Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance subsidy attached to it.
  • Units owned by the housing authority that administers assistance under an Annual Contributions Contract. These are eligible however only if they meet the following conditions:
    • There is no additional form of housing subsidy for household.
    • The housing authority has informed the household verbally that they have the right to select any available eligible unit, and the housing authority-owned unit is selected without influence by the housing authority.
    • The housing authority uses a HUD-approved independent entity (such as the local government) to inspect the unit, determine reasonable rent, and assist the household in negotiating rent with the owner.

Where you cannot use your Section 8 Voucher:

  • College or other school dormitories
  • Public or Indian Housing units (because these units already come with a rental subsidy).
  • Penal, reformatory, mental, medical, or similar public or private institution units.
  • Units subsidized by the following programs: USDA Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance, HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, HUD Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and any other federal, state or local rent subsidy (not including welfare or social security).
  • Project-Based Section 8 properties where all of the units in the project receive the Section 8 subsidy (because by their nature, these units already come with a rental subsidy).

Tenant's Obligations

Once you select a residence and it is approved for leasing under the program by the PHA, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. Under the terms of the lease, the tenant may be required to pay a security deposit, and the landlord may initiate a new lease or allow the family to remain in the unit under a month-to-month lease after the first year elapses.

As the tenant, you are expected to follow the lease and the program requirements, pay your share of the rent on time, keep the unit in good condition, and notify PHA of any changes in income or family composition.