Tenant Responsibilities While in the Section 8 Program

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After receiving a section 8 voucher, it’s not enough to just obey your state’s landlord/tenant laws and the rules and responsibilities set by your landlord. There are certain responsibilities you must carry out to remain in the Section 8 Voucher Program.

Find a Suitable Housing Unit:

Although the Section 8 program will pay for some or most of your rent, it is solely your responsibility to find a suitable housing unit to live in.

You should find a house within the area where the voucher is being administered, and it must meet the HUD’s housing quality standards.
You as a section 8 tenant will have to set an appointment with the PHA to view the housing unit you’ve selected and also provide both the landlord and the PHA with the necessary paperwork needed to sign a lease.

Live In the Approved Housing Unit

After the housing unit you selected has been approved by the PHA, you will be expected to live in it. You are not allowed to lease the unit to someone else, not even your family members. If you do this, you may lose your voucher as it is considered fraud.

Pay the Security Deposit

If the landlord requests a security deposit or any other deposits, you are expected to pay it yourself. The Section 8 voucher does not cover moving in deposits. If you have challenges in paying the deposits yourself, you may be able to get help from assistance programs.

Pay Your Portion of the Rent

Even though the section 8 voucher will cover a good percentage of your rent, you are still expected to pay some of it. Depending on the level of your income, this could be 30% of your monthly adjusted income, 10% of your monthly gross income, or a minimum payment set by the PHA.
The housing authority will always make up the rent difference each month, but you must pay your portion of the rent in time too to meet up with the lease agreement. If you consistently fail to pay your portion of the rent in time, you could lose your voucher.

Abide by the Rules Stated in the Lease Agreement

Being a section 8 tenant doesn’t make you immune to rules in the lease agreement. Just like any other tenant, you must abide by the terms of the lease agreement or risk getting evicted. Some rules stated in the lease may be to avoid damaging the unit property, keeping the unit neat, keeping the peace of the environment, or refraining from the use of illegal substances in the unit.

Notify Your Local PHA of Any Changes

Your household’s income level and size play a huge role in determining the amount of assistance you get through your voucher. For this reason, you must notify the PHA in due time of any changes in regards to these circumstances. This may include receiving a raise at your workplace, a member of your household getting a job, or having a baby.
Having a raise or a member of your household getting a job would mean an increase in your income. In this case, you may have to then pay a higher rent portion each month. If the member of your household who acquired the job is a minor and also a full-time student, there won’t be any adjustments to your rent portion.
If you had a baby, it would mean an increase in your household size. If there is no increase in income as well, the PHA may increase the amount of money you get as assistance each month.
Note that you must notify your PHA of any of such changes in due time, usually within 10 days to avoid losing your voucher or facing legal action.

Notify the PHA and Landlord if You Decide to Move Out of the Unit

It is your responsibility as a section 8 tenant to notify your landlord and local PHA when you decide to evacuate a unit. If your lease is on a monthly basis, you will be required to give proper notice within 30-60 days before the planned evacuation date. But if your lease is on a yearly basis, you will have to wait for your lease to expire before giving a 30-day notice.
The reason for this early notice is to give the landlord enough time to find a replacement for the unit and let the housing authority know when to stop sending payments to the landlord.

Section 8 Standards for Quality of Housing
Recertifying Your Section 8 Eligibility