Section 8 Housing FAQ
Updated February 2017 Fact Sheet PDF
The Section 8 program helps low-income households. The Housing Authority selects families or individuals who meet income and eligibility criteria. A family may choose to remain in its current unit or move to a new unit.
The Housing Authority figures the amount of assistance each family will get. It does so based on family size and income. A family is expected to pay about 30% of its current income toward rent. Each month, the Housing Authority will make housing-assistance payments directly to the landlord. Landlords can charge a security deposit as high as the cost of one month's rent.
The tenant must pay all rent and utilities that are not covered by the Section 8 contract. The rent burden should be lower because the family receives aid. The tenant is required to pay rent on time. The tenant must follow the rules or terms stated in the lease agreement.
The Section 8 program requires a written lease for an initial term of at least 1 year. The Housing Authority must review and approve the lease. The Housing Authority may have standard lease that follows the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Model Lease for Subsidized Programs.
The owner may terminate the lease without your consent if you violate the lease terms or for another good cause. The owner and the tenant can decide to mutually terminate the lease at any time. As a tenant, you may terminate your lease by submitting a written 30-day notice to both your landlord and the Housing Authority.
Violating Your Lease by Vacating
The owner may (1) keep the assistance payment for the month in which the tenant vacates and (2) retain the security deposit for any amount of unpaid rent or damages the tenant caused. The tenant may be terminated from the Section 8 Program by the Housing Authority.
You must have:
- birth certificates and Social Security cards of every member who will live in the unit
- proof of income (from all sources)
- your previous landlord’s name and address
- a phone number
For additional information about the voucher program, contact either the local housing authority in your community or the Office of Public Housing at your local HUD office. There may be a long wait for help under the rental voucher program. If the housing authority also administers the public housing or Indian housing programs, applicants for the Housing Choice voucher program may also ask to be placed on the waiting list for those programs. HUD also administers other subsidized programs. You may obtain a list of programs in your area from the Office of Housing at your local HUD office.