Affordable Housing Here We Come

Finally, after the long wait, you have your housing choice voucher! What happens next? It’s time to choose a house of course! One way to do so is find one online. Most of the time, it is already in the listing if they participate in any programs, or accept vouchers. If they don’t, you may contact them or visit the site for more information.

But before you go looking for a unit, it is important to know what the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations or policies are.

The monthly rent of the unit must meet the housing authority’s Payment Standards. What are Payment Standards? These are the maximum rent a household may pay with their voucher monthly. Find out what the Payment Standards are for your area by visiting the housing authority’s website. Contact the office if they do not have a website or this information is not available online.

Next comes the inspection. The local housing authority inspects and approves all units to comply with HUD’s housing standards. The inspectors also check the over-all condition of the unit. This includes the structure and if there are animal infestations, mold, or other contaminants.

Need more information? Below are lists on where you can, and cannot use your voucher.

Where you can use your Section 8 Voucher:

  • apartments or houses owned by a private landlord
  • apartments or houses owned by a private landlord who will accept the voucher, unless the unit is located in an area protected by source of income discrimination laws
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit units, unless the unit has a Project-Based Section 8 or USDA Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance subsidy attached to it.
  • A Section 515 Rural Rental Housing property that has units with no rental assistance, unless the property has a full Project-Based Section 8 contract on it.
  • Units owned by the housing authority that administers assistance under an Annual Contributions Contract. These are eligible however only if they meet the following conditions:
    • The housing authority has informed the household verbally that they have the right to select any available eligible unit, and the housing authority-owned unit is selected without influence by the housing authority.
    • There is no additional form of housing subsidy for household.
    • The housing authority uses a HUD-approved independent entity (such as the local government) to inspect the unit, determine reasonable rent, and assist the household in negotiating rent with the owner.

Where you cannot use your Section 8 Voucher:

  • College or other school dormitories
  • Penal, reformatory, mental, medical, or similar public or private institution units.
  • Public or Indian Housing units (because these units already come with a rental subsidy).
  • Project-Based Section 8 properties where all of the units in the project receive the Section 8 subsidy (because by their nature, these units already come with a rental subsidy).
  • Units subsidized by the following programs: USDA Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance, HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, HUD Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and any other federal, state or local rent subsidy (not including welfare or social security).

How much rent will you pay?

Under the Housing Choice Voucher program, you will pay 30% of your monthly income to the landlord and the rest will paid for by the program. Only some of us love math, so here’s a simple formula:

monthly income X 30% = tenant rent payment

Simply put, if your monthly income is $1,800, you will pay $540 towards the rent. And if the actual or total rent for the unit is $800, the assistance program will pay the landlord the remaining balance, which is $260 on your behalf.

So what are you waiting for? Search for rentals now!