Since 1974, the Section 8 housing choice voucher program caters to the rent of millions in the United States. Section 8 was created to help low-income earners have access to decent housing. In simple terms, the section 8 program pays part or the entirety of rent for a low-income earner.
People who fall into the category of low earners may qualify for the section 8 voucher to get access to decent housing. Once a household qualifies, the government pays the rent directly to the house owner either in full or a certain percentage. When the voucher doesn’t cover all the rent, then about 60%/70% is paid by the government while the household takes care of the 30%/40% left.
The section 8 program varies across regions, so, what is applicable in a region may differ from another. For example, what is considered a low wage in a region may be slightly different in other places and this consequently affects who can apply in each place.
This rent subsidy has guidelines that applicants need to take into consideration before applying for it. Here are some important things to keep in mind.
Location of Residence
As mentioned earlier, each locale has unique rules that guide the application of the section 8 program. Hence, before a household chooses to apply, check the rules in such an area to see if the requirements can be met.
Before you apply, check your earnings with what is considered as low income in the vicinity where you choose to reside. It’s recommended that a household takes note of the income requirements as stipulated by the department of housing and urban development. It helps to verify if such a household falls in the category worth considering for the rent subsidy.
In a household, the rule of thumb is that at least one individual must have legal documentation as a resident of the United States.
While a household may apply, one of the criteria considered is the criminal record of the applicants. The housing department does a background check on the people applying and some past criminal records may affect the chances of qualification. For individuals with a history of sex offenses and drug-related crimes, their applications will be rejected. However, for individuals on parole or felony, they may be considered in some regions.
Overall, these guidelines are best considered before applying to ascertain the chances of being approved for the program.
The next thing to consider is how to apply for section 8. To apply and get on the waiting list, there are few boxes to tick. As an investor these may not directly apply to you but it is good general knowledge to understand the process!
- First, ensure you have an email address to submit your application.
- Next, search the web for a waitlist in a region you want to reside in. Choosing a waitlist is not determined by the current location of the household, an household can apply in a region they intend to live as much it will be up to 12 months or more. Therefore, this opens up the chance to apply on different waitlists so far the household is prepared to move to such locations.
- Another thing is to use a reliable and accurate address to get a notice from the authorities. For people who are not permanently based in a location, they may use the address of a close relative or friend to get the notification.
- If a household has an individual with a health condition that is worsened by the circumstance of their present accommodation, they may get a doctor’s report and add it to the application. In this case, preference may be given to such a household.
As you do these things when applying, do not pay anyone to get section 8 benefits. It’s totally free!
After applying for the waitlist, you must be patient and have a waiting attitude. While you wait, keep in close contact with the housing authority to check for possible changes in requirements that may affect you or perhaps benefit you.
After approval, one of the most important things is asking questions to shed light on steps that should follow. After approval, the next process may be complicated due to several reasons and to avoid making mistakes, ask questions!
Upon approval don’t delay the submission of your paper to avoid delay in your move as well.
Attending the briefing organized by the housing authority is crucial to get intimated with the process and get other important information. Some housing authorities give households the voucher on the day scheduled for briefing.
After you receive the voucher, the next step is to start looking for an apartment.
As you search for an apartment, read through the voucher to see the number of rooms you can have. Additionally, check for the cost of other utilities and security deposits since you will foot the bills for these.
Submit the voucher and other paperwork to the house owner and have it returned to the housing authority for approval. Ensure you examine the lease carefully to avoid surprises. Leases can be complicated and difficult to understand, so, it’s best to review with an official.
Depending on the housing authority, you may have from 60-120 days to find an apartment. Should you find it difficult to get an apartment, report to the housing authority on time to make this known and get an extension.
On the positive side, after a year at a location, you can move to another place with the same voucher; the practice is called porting.
Hopefully this helps you understand the section 8 process so you can better understand and connect with future tenants if you decide to invest in a section 8 property.