Generally, up to two people are placed in a bedroom, and adults have separate bedrooms than children.
Allocating bedrooms for children can get complicated, as each housing authority's policy differs. If two children are of the same sex, they normally will be given a room together. However, if two children are of opposite sex, they will likely only be granted separate bedrooms if they have reached a specific age (usually more than 5 years old). If the children are under the specified age limit, they must live in one bedroom together until they reach that age. Again, each housing authority policy differs, so contact the office in your area of interest to find out its specific policy. You can use the search bar on the top of this page to search for housing authority contact information.
Here are some examples of bedroom allocation depending on family composition:
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/How-many-bedrooms-am-I-eligible-for
For Section 8, Public Housing, and other affordable housing subsidy programs, your monthly rent payment is generally 30% of the household's monthly gross income, but there are other factors that can determine your rent.
Affordable properties that participate in programs without rental subsidies, such as Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties, offer a flat monthly rent that is below the market rate. For example, an affordable housing property may charge all tenants $500 for a 1-bedroom unit in an area where the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a 1-bedroom unit is $700.
In regards to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, it is important to find a unit that is below or near the FMR rate of that area. For example, if you find a 3-bedroom unit going for $1,400 a month, but the FMR of a 3-bedroom unit is $1,100, you may be required by the housing authority to cover that extra $300. If the monthly rent is over the FMR by just a small amount (tens of dollars) the housing authority may allow you to still rent it without paying extra money. However, there is no guarantee that you would be granted by this accommodation.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/How-Much-Would-My-Rent-Be
If a Project Based Section 8 apartment community is sold and the new owner decides not to renew the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract with HUD, they can permanently relocate residents. However, under the federal Uniform Relocation Act (URA), Project-Based Section 8 tenants receive certain protections including relocation advisory services, extended relocation notice requirements, moving expense reimbursement and substantial payments to cover the increased costs of replacement housing.
According to Relocation Assistance To Tenants Displaced From Their Homes (HUD-1042-CPD), HUD booklet for displaced tenants, if a tenant is notified they will be displaced, "it is important that you do not move before you learn what you must do to receive the relocation payments and other assistance to which you are entitled."
The benefits displaced tenants are entitled to are:
To receive these benefits, a displaced tenant must file a claim.
Relocation regulations and the benefits tenants are entitled to are complicated. Many purchasers of Project-Based Section 8 properties are either inexperienced with the program and its requirements or choose to ignore them. Often, a new owner tries to just evict everyone upon assuming ownership without following the Uniform Relocation Act, which is unlawful.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being displaced, it is very important that you do not move until you identify what your rights are.
HUD has a great overview of the URA and even provides Regional Relocation Specialists (directory) that can assist tenants in danger of relocation.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/can-a-landlord-evict-a-section-8-tenant-after-the-property-is-sold
Under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, most tenants will pay 30% of their monthly income. The Public Housing Authority that issued and approved the voucher will pay the landlord the remainder of the rent and utility costs.
In cases where the market rate rent of a unit exceeds the payment standard set by the Public Housing Authority, tenants may be required to pay up to 40% of their monthly income. However, by law, contributions towards rent from a tenant may not be more than 40% of their monthly income.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/how-much-do-vouchers-pay
Landlords who have interested tenants with a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) should expect to:
What are the restrictions for who can be a Section 8 landlord?
HUD will not pay rent when the landlord is a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling of the renting family. The only exception would be if the family includes a person with a disability who needs the unit as a documented reasonable accommodation.
Landlords who have been caught violating program policies may be banned from participation in the program.
What paperwork is the landlord required to complete?
What are the steps to renting a unit to a Housing Choice Voucher tenant?
The voucher holder will bring the landlord a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) and Lead Paint Certification form to complete and sign.
The voucher holder or the landlord (or landlord’s representative) will submit the two forms to the voucher holder’s PHA caseworker.
The caseworker will review the forms and check the rent amount against the local Fair Market Rent (FMR), and also look at comparable rents in the area. The caseworker will either negotiate the rent amount if the requested amount is higher than the FMR, or will agree to the rent payment. For some PHAs, the housing inspector will review the requested rent amount, after the inspection is completed.
The PHA inspector will contact the landlord to make an appointment for the inspection. For most PHAs, the inspection has to be completed within 15 days after the RTA is received. Some of the larger PHAs might take longer. The voucher holder will be notified of the date of the inspection and the Inspector should ask the voucher holder if they want to be present for the inspection. The landlord or the landlord’s representative should be present during the inspection, but doesn’t necessarily have to be.
The PHA inspector will tell the landlord if the unit passed the inspection or repairs are needed.
The landlord makes a decision to complete the repairs or to not complete the repairs and not rent to the voucher holder. If the landlord decides to complete the repairs, the landlord will need to contact the inspector once the repairs are completed. The inspector will set up a time to come back out and review the repairs.
If the unit passes at that time, the voucher holder can move in on the date agreed upon by the PHA and the landlord. Some PHAs will pay a partial month’s rent if the voucher holder moves in the middle of the month, but some won’t pay until the first or fifteenth of the month. The landlord needs to make sure the PHA will pay a partial month’s rent before the voucher holder moves in on a date other than the first of the month.
After the lease and HAP contract is signed and the voucher holder gets the keys from the landlord, the contract and lease begins.
Ten months later, the landlord will get an appointment notice for the annual inspection. The inspector comes out, inspects the unit and sends a notice to the landlord that the unit passed or not. If the unit doesn't pass the annual inspection, a description of the needed repairs will be sent to the landlord, along with a due date by which the repairs need to be completed. A copy will be sent to the voucher holder.
If the landlord wants to request a raise in rent, they need to notify the PHA caseworker 30 to 60 days in advance of the end of the first year’s lease, depending on the PHA rules.
The voucher holder will go through an annual recertification. The PHA caseworker will verify the voucher holder’s income and the portion of rent paid by the PHA could change for the upcoming twelve months, depending on the voucher holder’s income and income deductions (childcare, medical bills, etc...)
The PHA caseworker will send a notice to the landlord, stating the PHA’s new portion of the rent and the voucher holder’s new rent portion amount to be paid to the landlord. The notice will also include the date the new rent amounts start.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/what-should-a-landlord-expect-when-renting-to-a-section-8-voucher-holder
Yes, a landlord can raise the rent for tenants who have a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, but there are guidelines in doing so. The landlord has to give the Public Housing Agency (PHA) a 60 or 90-day notice (depending on the PHA), and get written permission from the PHA before the change in rent goes into effect.
If the PHA receives a request for a raise in rent, the PHA will send a form to the landlord to complete and sign. The landlord submits the completed form requesting a raise in the rent directly to the PHA caseworker.
The PHA caseworker will review the form and check if the requested rent amount is rent reasonable. If everything checks out, the caseworker will grant the raise in rent.
The reason the PHA asks for the request to be at least 60 days before the requested date of the raise is because the PHA must notify the tenant at least thirty days before the requested date. The time frame gives the caseworker time to review and process the raise in rent, and if approved, send the notice of the change to the tenant.
During the span of the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract, the PHA will generally not accept any request to raise the rent unless something unusual happens. In any case, the PHA needs to be notified before any changes in the lease occur. Generally, a new lease and HAP contract is needed:
If there are any changes in who is responsible for the utilities or appliances.
If there are any changes in the term of the lease.
If the family moves to a new unit, even if the unit is in the same apartment building. A new inspection will also be needed, in this case.
If approved, the rent increase will go into effect on the first day of the month which falls after 60 (or 90) days from the date of receiving the request from the landlord.
Here’s an example of the timeline of events that would happen:
The landlord calls and leaves a voicemail asking for a raise in the rent, to the PHA caseworker on March 12, 2020.
The PHA caseworker mails or emails him back the request form, on March 14, 2020.
The landlord submits the completed and signed form to the PHA caseworker on March 17, 2020.
The PHA caseworker completes a rent reasonableness review and if the requested rent amount meets rent reasonableness, the PHA caseworker approves the new rent amount and mails a thirty-day notice to the tenant on March 26, 2020.
The new payment would begin on May 1, 2020.
HUD's legal code about changes or raises in rent can be found here.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/can-a-landlord-raise-the-rent-for-a-section-8-tenant
Under HUD regulations, smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes are not allowed in apartments, public areas or within 25 feet of Public Housing buildings. At this time the smoking ban does not apply to e-cigarettes, nor to HUD properties that participate in housing programs other than Public Housing.You may or may not be able to smoke in your affordable housing unit; depending on the policy of the housing authority, property management company, or landlord that manages your unit.
If a housing agency does have a no-smoking policy, there may be designated smoking areas outside. Also, it's important to note that no-smoking policies do not mean that residents who smoke will be evicted. But they will be not be allowed to smoke on premise.
Contact the housing authority, property management company, or landlord that manages your unit to confirm the smoking policy. You can use the search bar at the top of this page to search for housing authority and apartment community contact information.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/can-I-smoke-in-my-unit
Affordable Housing is a residence with government assistance that helps low and moderate-income households pay their monthly rent.
Affordable Housing units are often apartments in a larger building. Units may also be a single-family home, townhome, condominium, or co-op.
Housing programs for low-income renters require households to pay only a portion of their monthly income for rent. Some of the more well known programs for low-income renters include:
Moderate-income renters may not qualify for housing programs that offer income-based rent. However, there are housing programs that keep a unit’s monthly rent at an affordable rate. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program requires a minimum household income, and has rent rates at (or below) Fair Market Rent.
Most affordable housing assistance comes from federal programs operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There are also federal programs operated by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Many states, counties and cities nationwide also have locally-based affordable housing programs.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/what-is-affordable-housing
Updated April, 2023
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the head federal agency that manages affordable housing and community development programs in the United States. It was created as department of the president's Cabinet in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.
Marcia L. Fudge has served as the Secretary of HUD under the Biden Administration since 2021.
The department serves many roles for both renters and homebuyers, including:
HUD administers affordable housing programs that help low-income households pay for rent. Through these programs, HUD may also offer supportive services, utility cost reimbursements, self-sufficiency planning, and job training for eligible households. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Public Housing are HUD’s primary affordable housing programs.
There is also housing for populations with special needs. These programs include the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) programs. HUD also administers grants to help persons experiencing homelessness, including shelters, transitional housing, and services.
HUD provides funding to states, counties, and cities for public infrastructure and economic development.
Some of these programs can be used to build or rehabilitate affordable housing including the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME). Through the Office of Public and Indian Housing, HUD provides block grants to tribes for housing and community development through the Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant programs.
HUD assists homebuyers through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
FHA-insured mortgages have helped millions of first-time homebuyers purchase homes. HUD also oversees lead paint and hazard removal programs, and standards for manufactured housing.
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
HUD is charged with enforcing the Fair Housing Act to address housing discrimination through the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
The agency also administers funds to rebuild communities after natural disasters through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief program.
For more information about HUD, visit the department's website.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/what-is-hud-housing
Updated May, 2023
When low-income renters are looking for a home they can afford, they often start searching for subsidized housing. But the right type of rental can be hard to find if there’s confusion about exactly what “subsidized housing” means.
To clear things up, subsidized housing is an affordable residence that has income-based rent.
The most well known subsidized housing programs include Public Housing and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. Subsidized housing also includes homes that are rented with the use of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.
Confusion can happen because the term is often used to describe any type of affordable housing. But housing providers use “subsidized housing” as an official term for homes with income-based rent. And not all affordable housing residences have income-based rent.
When rent for affordable housing is not income-based, it’s called government-assisted housing. The government helps fund these properties, with the condition that there are affordable units reserved for low-income renters.
Rent for government-assisted housing is a specific amount that is set below market rate. There are different levels of income qualification for this type of housing, and there are different rent amounts set for the different income tiers. These are commonly called “tiered rents.”
In summary, when looking for affordable housing, there are two ways that monthly rent is determined:
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/what-is-subsidized-housing
Yes, a deposit on rental of an apartment or house can be refunded, and in most states, there are laws stating the circumstances for which deposits must be refunded and time limits for return of the money. As a tenant, it is your responsibility to read and understand the refund policy listed in your signed lease.
There are legitimate reasons for a landlord to NOT return a rental deposit. Examples of those situations would be when a tenant breaks or terminates a lease before the end date, owes back rent, damages the unit, or leaves behind unpaid utility bills. Many landlords also deduct from the deposit to cover cleaning expenses. If you feel the landlord is unjustly keeping your deposit, politely ask for detailed proof of why the refund was kept- receipts, bills, or even pictures of alleged damages. After reviewing the proof, If you still don’t agree, or if no proof is forthcoming, contact an attorney or your local legal aid office.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/deposit-be-refunded
For low-income housing funded through HUD, the answer depends on if your boyfriend/girlfriend is eligible for the program.
The boyfriend/girlfriend must provide a social security card and birth certificate or acceptable form of citizenship identification. Also income documentation will be required and the new addition to the family must pass a criminal history background check. The process will take some time, usually no more than thirty days, but do not move anyone in until you get the appropriate authorization. If you do move someone in before you get permission, the person will be considered an unauthorized household member and you can be terminated from your low-income housing program. Private pay renters should check the lease and get permission from the landlord or apartment manager. If children are coming along, they must provide birth certificates or an acceptable form of citizenship identification and social security cards as well. The unit also must be big enough to accommodate the new members of the family without overcrowding.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/add-boyfriend-girlfriend-household
Yes, your annual income and student status has to be certified every year for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) tenants.
If your income has gone up, and you no longer meet the income limit threshold, don't be in fear, you should still be able to keep your apartment. After the initial determination of eligibility, income no longer filters into eligibility requirements for LIHTC units. However, management of LIHTC apartments are required to annually certify and report to HUD. This is to ensure owners are in compliance with LIHTC rules and requirements.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/recertify-income-every-year-to-live-in-lihtc
The three credit report companies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), by law must send you a free credit report when requested. However, they might charge to send the actual credit score. Credit Karma will give you the scores for free, but the scores they show tend to be a little higher when compared to the scores from the three credit report companies. And you will see ads at that website also.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consumer information page here lists a source for a free credit report to download, and a phone number to call to order a free credit report: (877) 322-8228.
It is recommended to download the free credit report so you can review any problems that show up. Also, check your report for accuracy. If you find something that is not correct, contact the credit report company and the business providing the information, to get it resolved.
You can also read the FTC pamphlet, Building a Better Credit Report.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/increase_your_credit_score
Apartment deposits or security deposits are payments made to the landlord to cover unpaid rent or needed repairs and cleaning costs of the apartment or house, after you move. The landlord is obligated to hold the money until the end of your lease and then use it if needed. Any of the unused money is given back to you at the end of the lease when you move out.
Before you sign, make sure you read your lease carefully to understand what will happen with the deposit money when you move out. Each state or city has laws and regulations about rental and security deposits and other charges. Look those up and see how it applies to the language in the lease. Get a separate receipt when you pay the deposit. Also, if the landlord tells you he is keeping your deposit money at the end of the lease, get a detailed list of repairs and charges for which he claims he is using your deposit money. Most importantly, be proactive and read every line before you sign.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/how-do-apartment-deposits-work
A lot of times, no, an apartment's rent cannot be negotiated; but it's possible.
Many apartment complexes owned by a corporation or even a private owner, will not negotiate a rent price. Ask anyway. Especially if the apartment complex takes Housing Choice Vouchers. The apartment manager will usually know the highest price they can get from a renter with a Housing Choice Voucher and will be willing to negotiate. Some smaller landlords know the Housing Choice Voucher process and may be willing to negotiate too. There are Housing Authorities that will go to bat for you in the negotiation process and there are some that won’t have the time or manpower to make it a regular practice.
Also, be on the lookout for specials that apartments advertise, like the first month’s rent free, and request to see how that would work with a Housing Choice Voucher. Usually, Housing Authorities will divide the amount of the first month’s rent by twelve and deduct that amount from each month’s rent over a period of twelve months. That amount will be the rent used for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract with the Housing Authority. The next year’s rent may go up, as well. Also remember, if you take the first month’s rent free, make sure it doesn’t jeopardize your Housing Choice Voucher before you sign on the dotted line.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/are-apartment-prices-negotiable
Your lease ends when the date on the lease says it ends.
Many leases have a clause that state the lease will go on a month-to-month basis after the first twelve months. Even so, if you are not ready to move out, notify your landlord at least thirty days ahead of the end date. If the landlord wants you out on the lease end date, then you better make arrangements to be moved out. If you want to go on a new lease, then let him know as soon as possible.
If you want to use the month-to-month clause that might be in the lease, chances are the landlord will raise the rent if he allows you to stay under that arrangement. If you have a Housing Choice Voucher, don't forget to notify your caseworker.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/when-does-apartment-lease-end
For low-income housing funded through HUD, including the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, the answer is yes. For private renters, probably. It depends on the state in which you live. Marital status is not a protected category under federal law. Twenty states (including D.C.) do have legal provisions protecting people from discrimination based on marital status. But right now, many states don’t have specific laws against marital status discrimination.
In states without protection, landlords may ask questions about your marital status and may not rent to you if you are an unmarried couple. Also, there are many city and county ordinances prohibiting discrimination of gay and lesbian tenants. These local laws usually protect unmarried heterosexual couples, too. It is advisable to research your local ordinances and laws and find out what the rules are for the apartment or home you intend to rent.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/can-I-live-with-boyfriend-girlfriend
In many areas the answer is yes. However, more and more cities, counties and states are passing laws and ordinances prohibiting source of income (SOI) discrimination, including the refusal of accepting Section 8 Voucher subsidies. There are 18 states and numerous cities and counties with these laws already on the books and more are following. Read more about SOI protections here.
For more information, check with your local housing authority for more information about your area. Public Housing Agency (PHA) contact information can be found here: PHA Contact Information.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/can-a-landlord-refuse-section-8-vouchers
For low-income housing funded through HUD, if your younger brother or sister is not an adult, you must have legal custody of them before they can move in.
Also, if your brother or sister has been legally emancipated, then most likely they can be part of the household. In situations of homelessness, request information from your local housing authority in finding organizations that could help you and your siblings find shelter, navigate through housing programs, and/or advocate on behalf of your family. And It won’t hurt to be proactive by contacting homeless advocates and organizations on your own.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/homeless-brother-sister-housing
Housing Authorities and other organizations that receive funding for HUD housing programs are required to ensure that non-English speaking persons or Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons have meaningful access to rental assistance programs. This means providing forms and notices in other languages, having interpreters for LEP persons in meetings or interviews, having bilingual staff and telephone service lines interpreters. If you feel your local Housing Authority or other social service organizations are not providing adequate language assistance, you may file a complaint with HUD's local Office of Fair Housing Equal Opportunity (FHEO) For contact information of the local HUD office, go to the HUD website or call the housing discrimination toll free hotline at 800-669-9777 (voice) or 800-927-9275 (TTY).
Las autoridades de vivienda y otras organizaciones que reciben fondos para los programas de vivienda de HUD deben asegurarse de que las personas que no hablan inglés o las personas con dominio limitado del inglés (LEP) tengan acceso significativo a los programas de asistencia para el alquiler. Eso significa proporcionar formularios y avisos en otros idiomas, tener intérpretes para personas LEP en reuniones o entrevistas, tener personal bilingüe e intérpretes de líneas telefónicas. Si cree que su Autoridad de Vivienda local u otras organizaciones de servicios sociales no brindan asistencia con el idioma, puede presentar una queja ante la Oficina local de Equidad de Vivienda con Igualdad de Oportunidades (FHEO) de HUD. Llame a la línea directa gratuita sobre discriminación en la vivienda al 800-669-9777 (voz) o al 800-927-9275 (TTY).
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/help-to-find-housing-for-non-english-speakers
Yes, many HUD forms and program brochures concerning information about specifics of housing programs can be found on the HUD website. These documents can be found here: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/17lep#Forms
Si. En el sitio web de HUD se pueden encontrar muchos formularios y folletos de programas de HUD sobre información específica sobre programas de vivienda. Para acceder a estos documentos, vaya a: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/17lep#Forms
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/documents-explaining-housing-programs-to-non-english-speakers
In the unfortunate event that the Head of Household has died, housing authorities should already have a policy on how to move forward, whether the household is currently receiving housing assistance, or still on a waiting list. Policy varies by each housing authority, but these are the general results based on our research:
If currently living in an affordable housing unit, and at least one household member is of age and legally able to execute a lease, that person may sign a new lease to update the family composition.
If currently on a waiting list, and at least one household member is of age and legally able to execute a lease, that person may become the new head of household.
A housing authority may also allow an adult who was not previously on the lease to become the new Head of Household. This usually occurs when the only remaining members of the household are minors, and is a complex policy.
If children are the only remaining household members, HUD suggests the housing authority should allow a temporary guardian to reside in the unit until the courts appoint a permanent guardian. Furthermore, the housing authority may add the new guardian as the new head of household.
In this event, the housing authority will require proof of death.
As we said earlier, this is a complex subject housing authority policy that varies by each office. Just because a housing authority "may" adopt a specific policy, it does not mean it is required to do so. Please contact the housing office that manages your unit for more information about its specific policy.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/Our-Head-Of-Household-Died-Can-We-Still-Receive-Assistance
If the United States government has shut down, most Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offices will remain open. A government shutdown sometimes happens in the U.S. if Congress and the President do not reach an agreement on required budget legislation to fund government operations.For our full coverage of the 2018-19 Government Shutdown visit our 2019 Government Shutdown Timeline.
There are several managing offices within HUD, which all have varying operations during a shutdown. And it's important for tenants and landlords to know what services are available to them during a shutdown. Here's details on the most noteworthy HUD offices that has direct relations with tenants and landlords:
HUD’s Description: The Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) ensures safe, decent, and affordable housing, creates opportunities for residents' self-sufficiency and economic independence, and assures the fiscal integrity of all program participants.
What does it do? Basically, the PIH runs the Housing Choice Voucher and Public Housing Programs for HUD at the federal level.
Is it closed during a shutdown? No. The PIH has excepted activities which are not disrupted by a government shutdown. These activities include keeping the Public Housing Authorities up and running, and ensuring the PHA’s have access to draw down needed funds (including reserved funds, at least for the month of the shutdown). PIH also ensures their PIH website used by Housing Authorities for reporting, is kept online and running as it should.
HUD’s Description: The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities by leading the nation in the enforcement, administration, development, and public understanding of federal fair housing policies and laws.
What does it do? The FHEO investigates fair housing complaints, conducts compliance reviews, ensures civil rights in HUD programs and manages fair housing grants.
Is it closed during a shutdown? Partially. The FHEO has excepted activities which are not disrupted by a government shutdown. These activities include keeping funding distributed to grantees for investigation of complaints. FHEO may also recall staff during a shutdown, if needed to pursue prompt judicial action, issue warrants, or to respond to requests from the Department of Justice regarding civil rights matters. FHEO will keep a limited number of staff at work to maintain the running of their computer systems.
HUD’s description: The Office of Housing plays a vital role for the nation's homebuyers, homeowners, renters, and communities through its nationally administered programs. It includes the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the largest mortgage insurer in the world.
What does it do? The Office of Housing operates HUD’s mortgage insurance and mortgages through the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), manages HUD's Project-Based Rental Assistance and other rental assistance programs, and supports Housing for the Elderly and for Persons with Disabilities programs.
Is it closed during a shutdown? No, it’s mostly open. The Office of Housing has excepted activities which are not disrupted by a government shutdown. These activities include fulfilling obligations associated with Housing’s Project-Based Rental Assistance programs. Housing will also continue to respond to issues relating to the "imminent threat to the safety of the residents," or to the protection of property in HUD-insured or assisted multifamily projects.
HUD’s Description: The primary mission of the OIG is to investigate and audit HUD programs and operations, and to respond to irregularities or violations of law or regulation in HUD programs and operations, especially as they might relate to protecting HUD funds.
What Does It Do? The Office of Inspector General (OIG) prevents and detects fraud, waste, and abuse in the programs and operations of HUD. The OIG conducts independent investigations, audits, and evaluations of HUD programs. The OIG also keeps the HUD Secretary and the Congress fully informed about HUD program deficiencies and weaknesses while also identifying best practices.
Is It Closed During a Shut Down? Yes, partially. The OIG will keep the minimum number of employees necessary to address emergency situations and to prevent the potential mismanagement of HUD’s financial assets.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/do_hud_offices_close_when_government_shutdown
You will not lose your spot on the Section 8 waiting list due to a debt, unless that debt is to a housing authority. Housing authorities don't usually require a credit check (though they do require a criminal background check) for the Housing Choice Voucher program. However, you should make sure that your payment agreement with the landlord is well documented on paper. Make sure to save all of your payment receipts. If there is a public record of that debt to a landlord, you should ask them to remove the record when you pay it in full.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/Owe-A-Landlord
This page on HUD's website is a good place to start to learn about being a landlord. The housing quality standards for the Section 8 program are uniform across the country however, since they are interpreted and enforced by thousands of different housing authorities and inspectors, there are large discrepancies in standards from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. To view HUD's standard quality standards, go here. You should be prepared for different interpretation by different housing authorities and even different inspectors within the same housing authority.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/What-Are-The-Requirements-To-Be-A-Section-8-Landlord
Though in most cases Federal law requires landlords to allow service animals, animals that perform certain tasks for disabled persons, comfort animals are not necessarily covered.Comfort animals provide love or affection but don't actually do tasks for the resident. It depends on the property and management company and their individual policies. Many will accept a letter from a medical professional as evidence that the animal is needed but some will not. Contact the housing office that manages your unit for more information. You can search our website for housing authority and apartment community contact information here.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/must-apartments-allow-comfort-animals
Yes, in fact, having at least one resident on the housing authority's board is required by law, with a few exceptions.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/Is-a-resident-of-the-housing-authority-allowed-to-serve-on-its-board-of-directors
That depends on if your income still qualifies for the income limit. If it is still under the limit, then yes, you are still eligible. Applicants are required to keep application information up to date, and if there are any changes, such as income or contact information, it must be reported to the housing authority. It is equally important to keep contact information up to date. If you are on a waiting list, and a housing office send a notice that does not get a response, your application may be terminated.Contact the housing office you apply through to find out both its income limit, and its policy on how to update application information. You can search our website for housing authority and apartment community contact information here.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/If-Your-Income-Increases-Are-You-Still-Eligible-For-Affordable-Housing
When an inspector comes to assess your unit, they are making sure the house is in good physical condition. Inspectors look at the structure of the unit, whether there is mold or other contaminants, and if there are insects or other animals invading the unit. What an inspector checks has to be related to these factors. They will not open your purse, cupboards, or other personal items, unless it has something to do with the above factors.Contact the housing authority that manages your unit for further clarification on what may or may not be inspected. You can search our website for housing authority contact information.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/When-Inspecting-The-House-What-Do-The-Inspectors-Have-A-Right-To-Check
If your mother applied as the Head of Household, and you were on the application as a household member, it is unlikely that she can take her name off and name you as the new Head of Household. Generally, you may only pass assistance down if the Head of Household has passed away.However, all housing offices are run differently, and there may be a rule at that specific office that allows this. Contact the housing office that manages your rental assistance for more information.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/Can-My-Mother-Pass-Down-Her-Assistance-To-Us
Not all affordable housing programs are operated by having the tenant pay a portion of their income as rent. There are affordable housing programs, such as Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties, that offer reduced monthly rent. It is likely that the property you are referring to is one of these properties. Your rent is still below the market rate.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/The-property-manager-said-they-were-affordable-housing-but-charges-all-tenants-the-same
Technically yes, there are houses that are available, but only for participants of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.
The Section 8 HCV program allows you to live in a HUD-approved unit of your choice. The unit can be either a house or apartment. You may not live in any unit you choose, since it must be inspected and approved by the housing authority that manages your voucher.
You can find more information on where you can use a Section 8 Voucher in our guide here.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/Are-There-Any-Houses-Available-Rather-Than-Apartments
Generally, no a family member cannot be the landlord of a Section 8 household, unless the tenant is disabled and requests a reasonable accommodation.
A relative by blood or marriage may only be the landlord of a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher household if the tenant is disabled, they require a specially-modified unit, and such a unit is only available from a relative.
When requesting a reasonable accommodation for this service, the landlord must provide proof that they do not currently live in the unit.
As each housing authority's policy varies, please confirm this with the housing authority that serves your area. You can use the search bar above to search for housing authority and apartment community contact information.
For more information on where you can use a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, read our guide here.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/Can-A-Family-Member-Be-Landlord-Section-8
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:
*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.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/can-a-person-with-a-section-8-voucher-rent-a-room-in-someones-house
If a tenant caused major damage to the unit, the lease agreement should have bound the tenant to certain obligations to maintain the unit. Assuming that the lease agreement was between the owner and the tenant, the owner should have plenty of legal protection.We would recommend you contact an attorney to get more specific, actionable advice.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/Im-A-Section-8-Landlord-What-Recourse-Do-I-Have-Against-The-Tenant-Or-HA
If you must move from your unit for medial reasons, but your landlord will not let your out of your lease, your recourse depends on the state your live in. Landlord-tenant law is different in every state. Some states are more friendly to landlords, and others to renters.First, try asking for some compassion from the landlord, given what you are going through. If the landlord doesn't behave like a human, then you may need to enlist legal counsel.We can't speak to what the law says in your state, but in many cases, extenuating circumstances may allow him to terminate the lease.If you are unable to come up with an agreement with your landlord, you may want to seek legal advice. There are legal aid offices in every state that help low-income persons. You can search for a legal aid office near you here.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/I-Must-Move-For-Medical-Reasons-Landlord-Will-Not-Let-Me-Out-Of-Lease
There is no market rate value of a security deposit. The security deposit amount is the landlord's decision, but many states have a law that sets a maximum amount (usually two month's rent).
Check your state's law on the maximum amount a landlord can charge you for a security deposit.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/can-landlord-charge-market-value-security-deposit
Yes, there are homeownership programs that help guide qualified persons to purchase their own home, and HUD's website provides a great amount of advice for future homeowners; including what programs are available, how to get a loan, other information about the process of purchasing a home.
Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/Is-there-a-housing-program-to-pay-towards-owning-a-home
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