Can a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher household live in a unit with other people?

Yes, a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher household may live in a unit with other people, but only if very specific circumstances are met.

Generally, your Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher must be tied to the lease for a rental property. So, all residents of the unit must go through the application process, and the voucher must be used for the entire unit, and not just one room.

However, HUD's Code of Federal Regulations (982.615) states that there are circumstances that allows a HCV household to reside in a shared house or apartment. This is referred to as shared housing. According to HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program Guidebook, "Shared housing is a single housing unit occupied by an assisted family and another resident or residents."

A HCV household may reside in shared housing under one of the following circumstances:

  1. A household with one or more elderly, near-elderly, or disabled person who requires a live-in aid to provide supportive services may request a reasonable accommodation for a live-in aide to reside in the unit. The unit must be in accordance with CFR 24 Part 8. The housing authority may refuse the request or withdraw approval if the live-in aid commits fraud or any other criminal act in connection with any federal housing program, commits dug or violence-related criminal activity, or owes money to a housing authority.
  2. Other persons who do, or do not have a tenant-based subsidy may reside in a shared housing unit.*
  3. The owner of the unit may enter into a HAP contract with the housing authority, and reside in the unit. However, the housing assistance may not be paid on behalf of the owner, and the owner may not be related to any tenants by blood or marriage.*

*The circumstance in which these accommodations would be approved varies by each housing authority. For example, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority recognizes that there is a lack of affordable housing options in its jurisdiction of Honolulu County. So as long as the voucher holder finds a unit that passes inspection and meets the payment standard, and the landlord is not related to the tenants, the housing authority would approve a shared housing request.

Contact the housing authority that manages your voucher for more information. You can search for housing authority contact information in the search bar on the top of this page.