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.


Tenant Responsibilities

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.



Agreement Requirements

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.


Interview Process

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.


This fact sheet is a collaboration of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. These nonprofit organizations provide free legal assistance to eligible Arkansans who meet income, asset, and other guidelines. Legal assistance may also include advice and counsel, brief services, or full representation depending on the situation. For more information about civil legal aid in Arkansas, please visit For information specific to Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., visit Apply for services online or by calling 1-800-9-LAW-AID (1-800-952-9243).
The information and statements of law in this fact sheet should not be considered legal advice. This fact sheet is provided as a broad guide to help you understand how certain legal matters are handled in general. Courts may interpret the law differently. Before you take action, talk to an attorney and follow his or her advice. Always do what the court tells you to do.
Content provided by: Center for Arkansas Legal Services


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