Section 8 housing is a program operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In summary, the program allows low income earners to rent a house. Bulk of the monthly rent is shouldered by the program through public housing agencies (PHAs), which pays the landlord via check. The voucher program is its main feature.

The Voucher Program

The voucher program can be limited to a particular complex or be tenant based. Under this law, a family or an individual with this voucher will pay part of the lease.

The amount they shell out is determined by income, but the amount they pay will not exceed 30% of their monthly wage. Apart from the income, the section 8 housing program conducts an asset test to determine how much an individual / family can pay.

Fair Market Share

The amount the public housing agency will pay has a cap called Fair Market Rent (FMR). The FMR is evaluated by the HUD. Factors that are assessed include geographical location, unit specifications and the owner’s share.

Usually, a unit or complex located in a metropolitan area has a higher FMR. The unit size is determined by the number of bedrooms; more bedrooms mean a higher FMR. The FMR is also higher if the owner shoulders the cost of utilities.

Guidelines for Landlords

Under the section 8 housing program, the landlord is forbidden from charging an amount higher than the FMR. The landlord is not allowed to receive payments which are not in the contract. All landlords are required to meet the fair housing standards.

There is no obligation on the part of a landlord to join the program. However several landlords do due to the high number of potential tenants.

Landlords that want their apartments open to these tenants should visit the local housing authority for more information. The screening is done by the landlord, not he HUD. Eviction can be done based on housing laws of the state.

Finding Section 8 Housing: Guide for Renters

There are several Internet websites that provide lists of available housing in every state. Before you rent a place, have a look at the different listings. The amount you will have to pay will depend on the unit specs and the other factors mentioned earlier.

When you do find a suitable house for rent, speak in earnest with the landlord. Ensure you both understand the terms of agreement. You should read the local housing laws in your state. As a renter, you must be aware of your rights and responsibilities.

Family Obligations

The rules a participating family must adhere to are referred to as “family obligations”. These include stating changes in their monthly earnings and changes in family size. This is necessary so modifications to the subsidy can be made.

The section 8 housing program is designed to help low earning families and individuals find a decent place to live. With a proper comprehension of the law, low wage earners can get decent housing without spending too much.

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