The United States Housing Act of 1937 has allowed low-income families to improve their living conditions over the years through government subsidies. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) currently assists nearly 5 million United States households and about 2 million benefit from the Section 8 program. The Section 8 program has evolved to include various household demographics.
What Is Section 8?
Section 8, also referred to as the Housing Choice Voucher Program offers rental housing assistance to tenants in the United States. This program provides low-income families with access to safe and decent housing in the form of apartments, townhouses, or low-cost housing units. Tenants receive rental subsidies that help limit the amount of monthly rent.
The Public Housing Agency pays the subsidy directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenants. The tenant will then pay the difference between the actual rent and the subsidy amount. Note that this program is different from the public housing program. While Section 8 allows tenants to choose a private rental unit or house, the public housing program deals with government-owned housing.
What Apartments Take Section 8?
While some landlords welcome Section 8 tenants with open arms, others will not accept them. To find apartments that take Section 8, you must be organized and start searching early. You must have in mind the type of apartment you prefer, location, price, safety, and other surrounding factors.
For a list of available apartments, try typing in the Google search bar, ‘apartments that take Section 8’. Alternatively, for a more customized search to your preferred area, check at GoSection8.com or SocialServe.com.
Contrary to popular belief, not all Section 8 apartments fall in the “cheap apartments” category. A couple of buildings in this program are new. However, the age and appearance of the buildings usually vary from one area to another depending on where you’re looking.
Your search for apartments that take Section 8 should start online. Think about what type of apartment you’d like to live in, considering factors like location, cost, amenities, safety, and so on. Once you have that figured out, search on Google for “apartments that take Section 8”. Also, look at HUD.gov, it will bring a list of Section 8 apartments. Check out socialserve.com and GoSection8.com too.
How To Apply For Section 8
Before applying for Section 8, you must first qualify. Most tenants that are eligible for the program fall within a specific group of people, that is, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor. However, you must contact your local public housing agency to be sure. Agencies categorize poor families into three groups; low income, very low income, and extremely low income.
Families with low income earn up to about 80% of the average income in an area while families with very low income earn up to 50% of the average area income. Families with extremely low incomes earn about 30% of the average area income. Generally, agencies will consider extremely low-income applicants first, then very-low-income applicants, and finally low-income applicants.
Factors like criminal history, current living conditions, family size, citizenship, eviction history, and gross income all play a role in determining your eligibility. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive a section 8 voucher even though you meet all the requirements. Only a quarter of eligible families receive the vouchers, as stated by the HUD on their official site.
Keep in mind that this is not a one-step application process so it will take time and require patience. Depending on where you’re planning to live and the regulations of the local public housing agent (PHA) in that area, the procedures may vary. You can either apply online (which is quicker and more efficient) or you can visit the PHA in person.
The first stage is filling in a preliminary application which requires the following details:
- Full legal names of all household members
- Your present address with evidence thereof
- Date and time of your application for record-keeping and tracking
- Household size (number of household members)
- Head of home’s ethnicity, date of birth, and possibly social security number
- Household total annual income including hourly pay, benefits, bonuses, overtime, pensions, and so on for each member
When the PHA reviews your pre-application, they’ll either deny it or add you to the waiting list. If your form is satisfactory, you’ll receive a full application form to continue the process. Ensure that you have confirmation of being on the waiting list. You can do this by checking online or by mail. After confirming that you’re on the list, you’ll have to wait for a couple of months to hear back from the agency.
What Is The Most Section 8 Will Pay?
HUD indirectly limits the amount of rental assistance the program will provide. Families holding a Section 8 voucher will pay about 30 percent of their monthly income for rent on the condition that they occupy a unit that does not exceed HUD’s payment standard for that specific area.
Sometimes families may want to occupy a unit above the payment standard. Although HUD allows this, the family will bear the excess rental amount. However, as a rule, in total, you cannot spend over 40 percent of the family income on housing.
How Does Section 8 Calculate Your Income?
The Section 8 program uses your annual income to determine eligibility for housing assistance. The program defines annual income as:
- All amounts (monetary or not), received by the head of the household and any other adult family member. It also includes all amounts expected to be received from an outsider during the one year after the admission or renewal date.
- All amounts received during that one year from any assets belonging to a family member.
Once all income sources are determined and verified, the amount must be converted to an annual figure by multiplying:
- Hourly pay by total hours worked per year (For full-time employees who work 40 hours per week, it’s 2,080 hours per year)
- Weekly pay by 52 weeks
- Bi-weekly pay by 26
- Semi-monthly pay by 24
- Monthly salary by 12
How To Get Section 8 Immediately
The demand far exceeds the supply when it comes to Section 8 assistance. Unfortunately, this puts several eligible applicants on a waiting list for many months or years. Although it’s possible to make an emergency Section 8 application, it’s still no guarantee that the process will be immediate.
First, you have to make sure that your documentation and information are correct and well organized. You must have gone through legitimate channels as well. You can be pushed to the top of the waiting list and given priority if you fall in one or more of these categories:
- Victims of sexual and physical abuse
- The elderly
- Mentally or physically disabled
- Single parents with young children who pay more than 50% of income for rent
- Facing all the above and also homeless or at risk of homelessness
- Evicted from another public housing unit
- House destroyed by fire, flood, or hurricane
Section 8 Housing Landlord Requirements
First and most importantly, landlords are required to obey the landlord-tenant law that applies to all states. While many landlords do not accept Section 8 out of choice, some have no choice but to open the doors to voucher recipients.
For example in Massachusetts, all landlords must take in Section 8 tenants. If you’re a landlord or prospective landlord, it’s your responsibility is to find out if Section 8 is a must in your state. Otherwise, turning away section 8 vouchers may be a violation of the law.
To qualify for the Section 8 program, landlords must have the following requirements in place:
The landlord must apply to the area’s local housing authority as the owner and property must both qualify. The application form requires basic information like property address, rent amount, date of lease start, utilities, date and signature of landlord and tenant.
2. Pass an Annual Housing Quality Standards Inspection
The inspection is the real test because it confirms if your accommodation meets the required HUD and PHA housing standards. In case the apartment does not meet any item on the standards list, the landlord will have a grace period within which to fix the problems before a re-inspection. This inspection will happen every year around the lease renewal date for the occupant to stay in the unit
3. Demand the Security Deposit and Rent from Tenant
Although the Section 8 program pays the lion’s share of the rent, the tenant pays the rest as well as the security deposit. As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to collect the tenant’s rent share and security deposit from them directly.
4. Abide by the Agreement Terms
You must abide by the lease agreement terms as you would with any other tenant. Ensure that all safety concerns, maintenance queries, and other complaints are given attention. Your building is now more under the eye of the housing authorities so you must handle Section 8 occupants vigilantly.
5. Provide Notification for Increment in Rental Amount
Before increasing the rent of Section 8 occupant, ensure that you send in a request form to the local program office. The form will require information like the current rent amount, proposed amount, and the proposed date to effect the new amount. Your new amount should not exceed the rent for other similar units in your building.
How To Find Apartments That Accept Section 8 Near Me
Once you secure a voucher, start searching for accommodation from landlords that take Section 8. Several voucher recipients say it can be a long and difficult search. However, most cities have Section 8 listings which you can find with the housing authority in your area or several rental search platforms online.
Most rental search sites will require you to enter the city or neighborhood and the price range of the apartment or unit. After that, you may need to enter ‘Section 8’ at some stage so that you see the listing of available accommodation. In some cases, you’ll be able to see the amenities like schools and stores in the area to make a decision.
Take the necessary documentation with you to view apartments. Your searching process will be organized without unnecessary delays.
Also, ensure that you keep a record of all correspondence with the landlords and agents, especially by text and email. This will help you to follow up accordingly or even prove voucher discrimination if it happens. Beware of voucher scams with bogus promises of transferring and selling housing vouchers.
Are There Luxury Apartments That Accept Section 8 Vouchers?
Yes, it’s possible to find luxury apartments that accept section 8 vouchers. However, this depends on where you want to live. Your area may not have any luxury Section 8 apartments. If you’re bent on living in an upscale neighborhood, you’ll have to search in an area where they have approved luxury apartments.
How To Find Luxury Apartments That Accept Section 8 Vouchers
Section 8 luxury apartments are few and far between so finding the right one will take time. The number of basic Section 8 apartments exceeds the luxury ones so you’ll need to put in the extra effort. Here’s what you can do to find luxury apartments that accept Section 8 vouchers.
- Start your search months in advance
- Start by checking listings for upscale neighborhoods
- Ask realtors that specialize in luxury housing
- Search on Google for “luxury apartments section 8”
How To Find Realtors That Help With Section 8
A quick online search will lead you to the right realtors. Simply search in Google for “Section 8 realtors near me” or “realtors that help with Section 8”. If you’re moving to another state or city, type the name of the city in the search to find a realtor familiar with that area. You could also visit the nearest housing office – they may have a realtor database.
How To Find Apartments That Accept Section 8 Vouchers In NYC
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) oversees the largest Section 8 program in the United States. About 85,000 vouchers and more than 25,000 landlords are currently active participants in the program. The NYCHA will provide you with a list of available properties which you can go and view.
Before you start searching for an apartment, it’s important to note that landlords must not discriminate against you based on how you pay the rent. It’s illegal. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using Housing Choice Vouchers. The only thing that matters, in this case, is that your source of income is lawful.
In case you face discrimination from a landlord, call and report immediately to the New York City Commission on Human Rights at 718-722-3131. Alternatively, dial 311 and request for the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
Finding apartments in New York City that accept Section 8 vouchers is not easy especially if you’re doing it on your own. You will have to start your search one month in advance. NYC Housing Authority makes this easier with a property listing for voucher holders. You can find the listing on AffordableHousing.com, the most popular and largest resource for properties that accept Section 8 vouchers.
Section 8 NYC Application Process
You can only apply for the NYC Section 8 voucher when the lottery is open. It can close for a couple of years. Check the official New York City website (access.nyc.gov) to determine your eligibility for the program through a survey and find the application.
If you’re eligible, you must have proof of your identity, income, resources, and citizenship or immigration status. These apply to all members of the household. All your information must be accurate and the forms complete before submission. In case you have any questions, call the number on the official website.
Section 8 Voucher Amount NYC
The Section 8 voucher in NYC covers one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments at $1,945 and $2,217 per month respectively. Eligible prospective tenants are a single person with annual earnings below $41,800 and a 4-person household with an annual income lower than $59,650.
How To Find Section 8 Houses For Rent In San Diego
The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) serves over 16,000 low-income households in San Diego city with Section 8 voucher assistance. Find Section 8 houses in San Diego by:
- Checking online at gosection8.com
- Checking SDHC’s housing resource guide
- Searching the interactive map of SHDC-managed or owned rental units
- Searching the SDHC partnership developments interactive map
Apartments That Accept Section 8 In Atlanta
The average Section 8 voucher recipient in Atlanta received housing assistance for almost 8 years and the waiting time averages 1 month. To find Section 8 apartments in Atlanta, check the Atlanta Housing Authority online and affordablehousingonline.com. Also, go to yelp.com and type in the search bar “section 8 apartments.”
How To Find Private Landlords That Accept Section 8 Near Me
When searching online, look for “private landlords that accept Section 8 near me” or look for rentals with ads like “we take section 8 for rent”. Under Section 8, private landlords will rent homes and apartments to low-income renters at fair rates based on their income. The housing authorities typically perform annual inspections and routine maintenance to comply with the required standards.
How To Find Single Family Homes For Rent That Accept Section 8
Single-family homes stand on a single lot and accommodate a single-family. When applying for your Section 8 voucher, indicate that you would like a single-family home. Then, go to the housing office in your area to inquire about single-family homes that accept Section 8. Lastly, you can search on Google by typing in the search bar or looking up the HUD website.
Negative Effects Of Section 8 Housing
Secure and decent housing should be as much a human basic right as access to health care services. Unfortunately, not all housing provided under the Section 8 program is up to livable standards. Some buildings are old and dilapidated, exposing the tenants to physical and mental health risks.
Many occupants (depending on where they live) have no alternatives to this kind of accommodation. Some of the negative physical health effects of living in dilapidated buildings are caused by exposure to asbestos and lead. Asbestos was popularly used for buildings built between the 1930s and 1980s because of its fireproofing qualities.
Commonly found in roofing, insulation, and flooring materials, this dangerous compound has never been regulated or banned since the 1930s when its dangers were discovered. When materials containing asbestos are tampered with or damaged, the fibers get into the air, and occupants will inhale and ingest them causing lung cancer and heart disease.
Older buildings are more at risk for growing mold as there are likely leaks, rotting material, and cracks. Mold spores generally cause nose irritations and other allergic reactions like coughing, sneezing, or more serious reactions like lung problems and asthmatic attacks.
Poor quality housing also affects the mental well-being of occupants. A report from the MacArthur Foundation Policy stated that overcrowding and poor living conditions play a huge role in the poor mental health of occupants. It’s stressful enough to have a very low income without the physical and mental health burdens that come with many Section 8 living conditions.