Special Offers From Affordable Housing Heroes
Special Steps To Take Before Applying for Section 8
Here are the top special steps for Section 8 application we recommend for you!
Are You Ready to Apply for Section 8? Here’s How You Can Get Started Easily.
Earning a low income shouldn’t stop you from enjoying one of the basic needs of life — shelter. This is why the Government has provided the Section Housing Choice Voucher program to provide decent, affordable, and sanitary housing options to low-income families.
Section 8 gives you a variety of housing options to choose from; single-family homes, townhouses, apartments, and more that you can be eligible for when you are issued a housing voucher by the Public Housing Agencies (PHAs).
Come along to find out the steps you should take before you apply to find your dream home.
Special Step 1: Do a Public Records Check
To obtain a housing voucher under the Section 8 program, it is necessary that you run a public records check before you apply. This is necessary because, before your application can be approved, the housing agencies may request information about past criminal activities on the form.
You need to give an accurate representation of the facts because they will verify this information with public records. If there is any misrepresentation, your application may be rejected.
If you’re wondering: Can a felon get Section 8 assistance? Don’t be afraid, not all felonies can disqualify you from receiving Section 8 Housing assistance.
If you have a felony and still think you qualify for Section 8, go ahead to apply. Usually, there are two felony convictions that automatically disqualify you from a Section 8 Housing voucher approval.
- Being convicted for manufacturing meth in a federally managed housing;
- Being convicted as a lifetime sex offender, since it has a lifelong registration on the sex offender registry.
Other records where the housing program will verify your public records include Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Reports, Out-of-State Records, Violent Crime records.
CORI reports if you ever appeared in a federal or Massachusetts State court regarding criminal activity, whether or not you were found guilty. The PHAs can also access your records, even if you have criminal records out of state.
To check your own public record so that you can present only accurate information in your application, this is what you should do:
- Know that law enforcement agencies maintain your criminal records
- Every agency has different requirements for obtaining your records
- You can request your criminal record from any of the following
- State police
- Local police department
- Public safety office
- Bureau of investigation
- To access your records, you’ll be required to submit your fingerprint. Then the officer in charge will present you the data gathered when the search is complete.
To qualify for the Section 8 voucher, you have to meet the standard income limits set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) every year. If your household income surpasses this limit, you may be unqualified to receive a housing voucher.
The HUD calculates this limit based on a percentage of the average income for specific areas of the country, and there are three categories of the income-limit ranges. They include:
- Moderately low income,
- Very low income,
- Extremely low income.
To calculate these income limits, the HUD checks to see which area you live, and how many people are in your household. This is why it’s necessary to apply to the PHA within the area you live or want to live in.
Generally, you can qualify for a Section 8 housing voucher if your income is 50% less than the average income in your local area. However, you must know that the PHA is required to give 75% of vouchers available to those earning 30% less than the average income in that area.
So, while you may be qualified to receive a voucher, you may have to join the waiting list. This is not to say you should feel discouraged to apply, however, this is simply to help you understand how the PHA income-limit priority works.
For more information on your Section 8 rental assistance, see here.
Usually, your credit score should not have an effect on your eligibility for receiving a housing voucher. However, some prospective landlords often ask for your credit score as part of their background check to see if you’ll make a good tenant.
Thankfully, everyone is eligible for a free credit score report once a year from three agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
This report is free, so avoid any companies asking you to pay to get your report, especially if you haven’t requested on during the year.
To get your credit score, simply visit your preferred agency’s credit score website to access your details. Many times, the credit score from all three agencies will differ but fall around the same range.
Your credit score should typically fall within the 350 – 850 range. Credit scores from 650 and above are usually considered good, while credit scores below 350 are poor. However, you should know that having good credit does not mean you will be eligible to live in a housing unit.
It is up to the landlord or property manager’s discretion to decide what’s a good enough credit score.