Section 8 refers to a housing assistance program established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD issues Section 8 housing vouchers to eligible applicants, which is used to pay a portion of their monthly rent. This government sponsored program is available to low-income individuals or families, the elderly, and individuals who are disabled or financially disadvantaged.
Obtaining Section 8 benefits can be a cumbersome process and approval can take as long as one year. Individuals are required to undergo an eligibility process through the Public Housing Authority. Once approved, Section 8 recipients are required to reside in properties that have been certified through HUD. Housing vouchers are sent directly to the property owner and tenants are responsible for paying the remaining balance of their rent.
In order to qualify for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, applicants’ gross income must be equal to or less than 50-percent of the median income level in the area where the applicant resides. By law, PHA must provide 75-percent of Section 8 housing vouchers to applicants earning 30-percent or less of their states’ median income.
Once applicants are approved for Section 8, they are placed on a waiting list until suitable housing becomes available. All property owners that accept Housing Choice vouchers are required to be certified. Each Section 8 property is inspected to ensure it meets HUDs housing quality standards.
Individuals receiving Section 8 subsidized payments are required to reapply for benefits annually. All changes in income and family dynamics must be reported to PHA. If a family member moves away, death or divorce occurs, or the birth of a child occurs, Section 8 benefits may increase, decrease, or be eliminated.
Real estate investors and property owners can apply to become a Section 8 landlord and take advantage of PHA benefits. Prospective landlords must first submit a Request for Tenancy Approval application through their local Housing Authority office. If their application is approved, each rental property must undergo inspection. Once the inspection process is complete and the property approved as Section 8 housing, property owners enter into a one year contract. Section 8 properties and property owners are recertified on an annual basis.
The minimum Section 8 landlord requirements include: providing appropriate access and outlet from the property; proper utilities including electricity, gas, and running water; and sufficient sanitation including toilet, sink, bathtub or shower.
Each rental property must include a kitchen, bathroom, and one bedroom for every two residents. Section 8 housing can include single family homes, duplexes, apartments, condominiums and townhouses.
Many property owners choose to offer their real estate through Section 8 because it provides reliable cash flow. Recipients of Section 8 housing vouchers often make exceptional tenants and remain in properties for several years. Once they locate a good property with a good landlord, they want to stay put because good housing is hard to find.
Individuals in need of housing assistance and property owners who wish to become a Section 8 landlord can obtain necessary information via the HUD website at HUD.gov. Although the process can be time-consuming, Section 8 housing vouchers can help tenants obtain suitable housing and provide property owners with long-term, quality tenants.