Once you get approved for a Section 8 housing voucher, you’ll have to do certain things to keep it.
If you need help right away, some programs may direct deposit a short-term loan into your bank account.
We’ll reveal them so you can keep rent affordable by participating in this popular government assistance program.
If you’re a legal resident and have a household income that falls below 30 percent of the median income where you want to live, you could be eligible for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher. Why is this significant? Because it could mean paying just 30 percent of your income towards rent, with the voucher picking up the rest of the tab.
While we won’t jump into the Section 8 application process, you can get started by clicking here and contacting your PHA (Public Housing Agency). For this article, we’ll jump to the point when you have your voucher, and what you’ll have to do to keep it.
Section 8 Tenant Obligations
It’s essential to fulfill your obligations as a Section 8 tenant. If you don’t, your PHA could terminate your voucher, and you’d lose that huge money-saving benefit. Here are some of the biggest obligations you’ll need to fulfill:
1. Find a suitable housing unit.
Getting a voucher is just part of the Section 8 equation. Once that happens, it’ll be in your hands to find a property to live in.
You won’t be living in public housing under Section 8. Instead, you’ll have to find private housing wherever your voucher was approved. To find such properties, you can ask your PHA or do an online search using the HUD Resource Locator.
The property you pick can be a single-family home, townhome, or apartment, but it must charge reasonable rent and meet the HUD’s Housing Quality Standards.
2. Pay application fees and the security deposit.
You may be charged an application fee by a landlord needing to screen you before accepting you as a tenant. You’ll have to pay this out of pocket, along with any security deposit, as your voucher will not cover these costs.
3. Live in the housing unit.
You won’t be able to get a voucher, find a property, and then lease the property to someone else. As the Section 8 applicant, you will have to live there, along with any other household members listed on your application. If not, you could be guilty of fraud.
4. Pay your portion of the rent.
You’ll still have some rent costs with Section 8, although they’ll probably be capped at around 30 percent of your income. You must pay your portion of the rent on time each month to continue receiving your voucher.
5. Follow the rules in the lease.
As with any other rental agreement, you’ll have to follow the rules listed in your lease with the landlord. If not, you can be evicted.
6. Updating your PHA of any changes.
Your voucher amount is determined by many factors, two of which are your household size and income. If any changes occur to your family composition or income, you’ll have 10 days to report them to the PHA. If you don’t, you could face legal action and lose your voucher.
7. Providing notice when moving.
Your landlord and the PHA must be notified if you intend to move. This is so the landlord can find a replacement tenant, and so the PHA can stop sending your voucher to that location.