Let’s get straight to the point… Yes!!!! Section 8 tenants may have a roommate!
There are circumstances that allow you to have a roommate while receiving Section 8 benefits. Vouchers that are tied to the rental unit are the best option for a tenant in search of a roommate, because this type of voucher may cover the entire unit, not just a single room.
This allows each resident to undergo the application process and can be included in the program if they qualify.
People with disabilities, elderly and even survivors of domestic violence may request special exceptions to have a roommate, but very specific guidelines must be met.
Circumstances in which roommates and others are allowed to live together in the Section 8 program vary, depending on PHA, so you should contact your local PHA for additional information.
The name section 8 comes from an amendment that was made to the HUD housing program in the 1970’s. The program section 8 is now referred to as the Housing Choice Program.
Who is Considered as Part of Your “Family” or “Household”?
According to the PHA a “family” can be a person or group of people that:
- A “family” with kids, even if they’re temporarily in foster care or a “household” without kids.
- An elderly “family”, which is when a head of house, spouse or single individual is 62 years old or older or if two or more elderly live in the home.
- A disabled family, which is when a head of house, spouse or single individual is disabled or has two or more disabled people living in the home.
- A displaced family, which is when the whole family or individual has been displaced or made to leave their place of residence, by natural disaster or governmental action.
- A remaining member of a “family” which is a member that stays in the home after the “family” has left.
- A single individual who has not been displaced, isn’t disabled, elderly or a remaining family member.
Can My Boyfriend / Fiancé Move in With Me on Section 8?
If you would like your partner/fiancé to move in with you and still qualify for Section 8 housing you must follow the PHA guidelines to do so. You could apply for the voucher together, following the same process you would if it was your roommate or you could check out the “Shared Housing” option.
Another option available is “shared Housing”. With Shared Housing you and your “family” may live in a home with another “family” or single tenant, sharing the common areas of the home while each having a personal room. The other “family” doesn’t need to be a Section 8 participant because the landlord must provide separate leases.
With Shared Housing, the Landlord has the option to live in the home as well, as long as it has been approved by the PHA. All the same rules apply, except the Landlord doesn’t qualify for housing assistance. The PHA doesn’t allow this if you’re related by blood or marriage to the Landlord and this option is only available for homes with more than one bedroom though, so keep that in mind when looking for your next home!
Can Someone Stay with you on Section 8 and for How Long?
Yes, you can have a visitor stay with you, if it’s approved by your landlord first. Your guest can stay for up to 14 days. If they plan on staying longer you must contact your PHA and inform them of your guest and follow the instructions they provide, since each state has different ways of doing things.
Can I Transfer My Section 8 Voucher to Someone Else?
This is somewhat of a tricky question because it’s not a yes or no answer. There are very few circumstances in which a housing voucher can be transferred. For example, a housing voucher can be transferred to another person if the person is listed on your application as your Co-Head of Household, leaving them as Head of Household instead.
Another way to transfer a housing voucher to another person is if that person is already on the voucher as a member of the household. For example, if the head of the household dies, then the voucher can be transferred to another member of the household that is legally able to take charge of the lease and voucher.
This option can be a bit complicated, but it is possible. The most important step to remember is to always contact your Public Housing Authority office and inform them of any changes so you don’t lose your Section 8 assistance.
If the person you’re interested in transferring your voucher to isn’t eligible because they don’t fit any of the previous criteria, then the best option is for them to apply to their own voucher.