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What application does a Section 8 landlord fill out?
When people refer to an application for a Section 8 landlord to fill out, they are talking about the Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP). In order to complete a section 8 housing application you must go to your local housing authority. Housing choice vouchers are administered by local public housing authorities (PHA), of which there are several around the nation. Vouchers come as either project-based or tenant-based — see below for more details. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supports PHAs, and your local PHA will help you arrange Section 8 housing.
Under a tenant-based voucher, a tenant gets a voucher and can move into a unit with financial assistance. If that tenant chooses to move to another unit, the voucher carries over to the next unit, offering continued assistance to the tenant wherever they decide to live.
Under a project-based voucher, a tenant gets assistance so long as they remain in the unit that the voucher was issued for. The voucher lasts for a specified unit and time. If the family chooses to leave the unit, the assistance does not carry over to the next unit. A family may still, however, be eligible for a tenant-based voucher after they apply. One must first see if they qualify for section 8.
Whether or not you qualify for Section 8 housing is based on multiple factors, including your family’s income, the median income in your area, how much rent you’re paying, your assets, and the composition of your family. Here’s a general breakdown of the eligibility requirements:
You are a US citizens or non-citizen who has eligible immigration status.
You earn, as a family, less than 50% of the median income for the county or city in which you choose to live. In fact, most Section 8 recipients earn closer to 30% of the median income for the county or metro area in which they choose to live. That’s because the PHA must provide 75% of its vouchers to families who earn less than 30% of the median income.
You meet other criteria on assets and family composition. Because the section 8 housing program is guaranteed rent, a lot of landlords are learning how to become a section 8 landlord. HUD allocates funds to a Housing Authority to administer the program locally and then that PHA pays the landlord the remainder of the rent over the tenant’s portion, subject to a cap referred to as “Fair Market Rent” (FMR) which is determined by HUD. Each year, the federal government looks at the rents being charged for privately owned apartments in different communities, as well as the costs of utilities (heat, electricity, etc.) in those communities. The “Fair Market Rents” are an estimate of the average gross rents (rents plus utilities) for medium-quality apartments of different sizes in a particular community. As an example, 2012 FMR for 1 bedroom housing in San Francisco is $1522 and in New York is $1280 while in many other places it is less than $500. The landlord cannot charge a Section 8 tenant more than a reasonable rent and cannot accept payments outside the contract. In addition, a Section 8 landlord, although required to meet fair housing laws, are not required to participate in the Section 8 program. Tenants in this program have unfortunately gained the reputation of being unruly, because of this, some landlords will not accept a Section 8 tenant. This can be attributed to such factors as: not wanting the government involved in their business, such as having a full inspection of their premises by government workers for HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and the possible remediation required fear that a Section 8 tenant or their children will not properly maintain the premises a desire to charge a rent for the unit above FMR unwillingness to initiate judicial action for eviction of a tenant (HUD requires that Section 8 tenants can only be evicted by judicial action, even where state law allows other procedures) Depending on state laws, refusing to rent to a tenant solely for the reason that they have Section 8 may be illegal.
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