Finding Section 8 Houses: A Step-By-Step Guide

Photo of a husband and wife standing with their two daughters in front of their new rental house. As everyone smiles, the husband holds out his hand to show off the house key. Photo by Monkey Business on Adobe Stock.

There’s a range of different types of homes that can be rented with a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher. Having some options makes it easier to find a place to live with a voucher, but some renters are only looking for the comfort and privacy of a house.

Living in a standalone house has many benefits when compared to being in an apartment, duplex, or a similar multi-family property. Many of these benefits are a result of the improved privacy of renting a single-family home.

Having no immediate neighbors means that the space is your own to enjoy without having to share with others. This brings extra security, and also adds comfort for those living in the home. There’s less of a worry about noisy neighbors since there’s no shared walls or floors. Many houses also have more living and storage space than an apartment.

To find Section 8 houses, find an available rental on the private market that will accept the voucher and pass HUD’s inspection.

This means that there are really no properties that are identified as Section 8 houses. Any house can technically be called a Section 8 house when it’s occupied by a household with a voucher.

When a renter is given a Section 8 voucher, start looking for a house by asking the housing authority for landlord information.

  1. Ask the housing authority for a list of landlords.

    Some housing authorities work directly with landlords that have already agreed to accept Housing Choice Vouchers. These housing authorities have a list of those landlords who are currently looking for tenants.

    Contact the housing authority, and ask for a list of landlords that accept vouchers. Be aware that not every housing authority has the resources to keep a list of landlords. So, requests for a list at some housing authorities may be denied.

    If a list of landlords cannot be used to find a house, another option is to search on the private market.

  2. Search online for a house on the private market.

    The most straightforward way to find Section 8 houses for rent is by searching online. If it’s hard to get internet access, visit a local public library and use an available device that is connected to the internet.

    Most single-family homes should qualify for Section 8 rental assistance, as long as they pass HUD’s inspection.

    While searching online, be aware that landlords in many areas can deny interested tenants who have a Section 8 voucher.

    And be on the lookout for online scams that commonly target Section 8 renters. Some scams don’t do much damage, and only collect data to fill email accounts with spam. But there are many schemes that fraudulently take money from renters in need.

    If a house cannot be found online, there still are many ways rentals are advertised locally.Photo of a person searching for a rental property on their mobile device. Photo by New Africa on Adobe Stock.

  3. Find local ads for a house on the private market.

    Local newspapers usually have classifieds listings for houses that may accept a Housing Choice Voucher. They can commonly be found in convenience stores, and other public locations that have many daily visitors.

    These public areas may also have their own spaces for local advertisements. Houses for rent are commonly listed in these areas as well.

    And if there are any local organizations that help low-income renters, there may be help available to find a house.

    While searching locally, remember that landlords in some areas are allowed to deny interested tenants with a Housing Choice Voucher. Advertisements in these areas may say “no Section 8,” and the properties cannot be considered as possible Section 8 houses.

    Many of the scams that are common online are also done with a local spin. For example, phony ads that appear in social media posts may be republished as a classifieds ad in a local newspaper.

    Once an available rental is found, landlords and property managers usually require an application for approval to rent the house.Photo of a newspaper's classifieds page showing apartment listings for rent. Photo by Adobe Stock.

  4. Submit an application for a rental home.

    Every landlord or property manager will have their own application with various requirements. Be prepared to pay a fee to submit an application to rent a home.

    Along with the application, there will usually be a credit and background check done for the household.

    When a landlord approves the application and use of a Housing Choice Voucher, the property has to be inspected and approved by the housing authority.Close up photo of a paper rental application being filled out by a person using a pen. Photo by Adobe Stock.

  5. Move into your new house.

    After the house passes inspection, it can now be called a Section 8 house, and the move-in can begin!

    Prepare to cover your own moving expenses. These costs tend to be higher for longer distance moves. Anyone having difficulty affording their move can contact local organizations that help low-income renters, and ask if any moving services are available.

    The house can continue to be rented as long as everyone living there stays qualified to get Section 8 assistance. Housing authorities will re-examine the household’s income for eligibility about once a year.