Information About Section 8 Housing

Choosing a place to live is crucial. Everyone needs a place they can call home where they feel safe. A sturdy roof over one's head as well as enough space for every member of the family allows people to relax and get things done each day.

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Unfortunately, for tenants in many parts of the country, housing costs have been rising quite a bit in the last few decades. Consequently, some people may be on a very tight budget when it comes to finding the right housing that allows them to get to work quickly and easily. They may find it difficult to locate housing in a certain area. This can make it hard for local businesses and regional organizations to find the skilled help they need to serve the community. Government officials, realizing the scope of the housing affordability problem in many American communities, have stepped in to help.

What is Section Eight Housing?

Section Eight housing is shorthand for a type of housing voucher offered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. This program is intended to help bridge the gap between market rents and what people can afford to pay. It is also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. People who meet certain income requirements can apply for a voucher to help pay for at least part of their housing costs. Under federal guidelines, these costs are not exceed thirty percent of the tenant's income. Housing costs that are more than this amount are covered by the program. The prospective tenant and the landlord negotiate the cost of the rent. The program is offered in every major market in the country. While it is a federally funded program, Second Eight housing is administered by local municipal public housing agencies in each region.

Requirements For Landlords

Landlords are not required to participate in the Section Eight program. However, some landlords choose to do so. Landlords that wish to participate must agree to meet the standards set out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A local housing inspector must examine the property in person and approve the property for voucher participation. They want to make sure the housing meets all federal safety standards. The process starts when the prospective landlord submits an application. An inspector will come and look for certain things. Little details such as working locks on all doors and each window are a must. The foundation needs to be in good shape. All wiring and plumbing needs to live up to local safety codes. An inspector may ask the landlord to agree to install certain safety features before they can receive tenants such as putting a handrail on the steps to the basement and safety ramps to ensure handicapped access. If you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornadoes, you must show that the house can withstand them. After your property is approved by the inspector, you can begin letting tenants in. You are required to find your own tenants. You'll create a lease agreement with them. You'll get paid once a month from the housing authority while the tenant pays any additional agreed upon housing costs. The landlord must agree to maintain the property and keep it in good shape.

Requirements for landlords may change state-to-state. It is always best to check with your local requirements. 

Tenant Requirements

All tenants who want to be part of this program have to meet certain standards. Housing authorities pre-screen all prospective tenants. Someone who has a criminal record, for example, may not be eligible for the program. In addition, the program is highly popular. In certain parts of the country, there's a huge waiting list that may extend back years. Tenants must also earn below a certain income just to qualify for a voucher. This is typically about fifty percent of the median area income. All Section Eight tenants must negotiate the cost of the rent on their own with the landlord. They are responsible for any gap between the agreed upon rent and the amount provided by the Section Eight voucher. Tenants may also be responsible for paying a security deposit. After the first year, the landlord can ask the tenant to agree to a new lease or accept month-to-month lease instead. All tenants are responsible for complying with any landlord requirements such as not having more than one pet. Tenants must pay their rent on time. They also need to let the PHA know if their finances change or if they have additional family members while getting these vouchers.

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