Section 8 Housing FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions of the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program

Renter's Section 8 Housing FAQ


Am I eligible for Section 8 housing?

Section 8 housing assistance is administered to families and individuals who are very low-income. Those who receive assistance normally do not have an income that is greater than 50 percent of the median income of the area in which they live. Local criteria for Section 8 housing assistance will be a part of the qualification process, since it's the local public housing authority, or PHA, that specifically provides the subsidy. For example, a person might qualify for help in one location, but not in another. You should check with your local PHA.

How do I apply for assistance?

Even though Section 8 (Housing Choice Voucher Program) is a federal program, people normally apply for assistance at their local housing agency. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, provides contact information for housing agencies at If you already qualify, check out the available Section 8 housing listings posted in your area by searching on

How much will housing cost with Section 8?

The subsidy amount provided to offset housing costs will depend both upon income and the size of the family. In general, a family or individual will pay 30 percent or more their current income toward the cost of housing. The local PHA will cover the difference by directly paying the landlord. You may be required to pay more toward rent if you choose to live in a place that is higher than the Fair Market Rent in your area.

Where can I live?

Aside from public housing, those who attain Section 8 generally follow two courses of action when seeking a place to live. First, they can obtain tenant-based assistance and use vouchers to live in a private sector dwelling where a landlord accepts Section 8. Second, they can choose to live at a dwelling where Section 8 continually - and by design - is attached to that specific location. Families and individuals with Section 8 have the chance to live in apartments, single-family homes, and the like, as long as the specific dwelling is approved and meets basic safety and health standards. It's recommended that those with Section 8 look at several housing options during their search in order to make sure their specific needs will be met. The public housing authority will thoroughly review the selected location once a tenant and landlord want to pursue a contract.

How do I get a Section 8 homeownership voucher?

Through your local PHA, just as you would if you were applying for the tenant-based housing voucher for Section 8 rental assistance. Qualified individuals must meet specific requirements, normally including one adult person in the family who has full-time employment (not counting elderly or disabled), a minimum income, and local requirements. The local PHA will determine program participation and how many homeownership vouchers are given out.

When will I be able to receive Section 8?

Due to very high demand for assistance, there can be a very long wait time in your area before you receive Section 8. Depending on your local public housing authority and availabilities, the exact time frame will vary. Certain circumstantial factors may become applicable in how quickly one is selected for the Section 8 voucher program, including if that person or family is homeless. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides contact information for local public housing agencies at

Landlord's Section 8 Housing FAQ


How do I get my apartment approved for Section 8?

Contact your local public housing authority, or PHA, and let them know you want to make your property available for the housing voucher program. Potential tenants will check out the apartment, just as they would in any other circumstance. You will be asked to fill out a Request for Tenancy Approval Form and provide the lease guidelines. The PHA will then thoroughly inspect your property to make sure health, safety, and living standards are met, including food preparation area, bathroom, window, fire exit, etc. The responsibilities of the tenant, landlord, and HUD, each will be highlighted in a final agreement.

How will I receive the Section 8 rent?

As long as your tenant is getting Section 8 assistance, the local housing authority that you've set up an agreement with will continue to send you a monthly check that monetarily covers the rest of the stipulated rent.

What are my obligations as a property owner?

The landlord is expected to follow the guidelines outlined in the lease agreement, just as the tenant is expected to follow the same standards as any other tenant. The lease should be signed for a minimum of one year. Section 8 tenants can be evicted, just as any other tenant can be evicted. You should converse with your public housing agency about local laws. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, provides contact information for housing agencies at

Will the security deposit be covered?

Section 8 does not cover the security deposit. That amount can be sought from the tenant.