What is Subsidized Housing?Subsidized Housing includes Federally funded housing programs. These programs are aimed at the moderate to low income households in the United States. By allowing the recipients of these vouchers to pay a small portion of their rent, so many low income families have affordable housing now. Housing authorities and owners of subsidized housing have the right to do tenant screening. They do this by checking various records, the most common of which are past landlord references, credit reports, and criminal records. The rules concerning access to criminal records are different for public housing and vouchers than they are for multifamily subsidized housing.
Once you are admitted to subsidized housing or a multifamily low income housing development, you have an apartment. You do not need to find your own apartment. With a voucher, you have to find your own apartment in the private market. If, within a certain period of time, you do not find an apartment that has a reasonable rent and is in good condition, your voucher will expire, you will lose it, and you will have to reapply. How rent is calculated and recalculated Tenants in public housing generally pay about 30% of their income for rent if utilities are included and less than 30% if utilities are not included. For state family public housing, this percentage is slightly higher as a result of a law passed in 2003. In public housing, each year the housing authority determines how much your rent will be based on your income and certain deductions and exclusions you are eligible for. If you report a change in your income or deductions during the year, your rent will usually be adjusted so that you pay the same percentage of your income for rent. For more information on public housing rents, see the section on Rent in Public Housing. In voucher programs, tenants sometimes end up paying up to 40% of their income for rent (for the HUD application online program, this can be more after the first year of your lease) because the market rent is more than the maximum subsidy the housing authority can pay. The housing authority must make sure that the rent your landlord is charging is reasonable by comparing it with rents for other similar apartments. If you are leasing an apartment for the first time with a Section 8 voucher and the proposed rent and tenant-paid utilities would make your portion of the rent more than 40% of your income, the housing authority will not agree to approve the apartment and you will be forced to find another apartment. In multifamily subsidized housing, rents are calculated differently for different programs. In some programs, tenants' rents are set at a percentage of income similar to those for public housing. In some programs, rents may be set at a fixed amount, based on the number of bedrooms, which is lower than market-rate rents. In this situation, the rent does not change even if your income or deductions change. In some programs, your income may qualify you for an adjustment in your rent, even though there is still a basic rent that you have to pay which may be more than 30% of your income in a subsidized housing after completing a section 8 application online. Because the different program rules can make a big difference in whether or not an apartment is affordable for you, it is important to ask the landlord how the rent is calculated and how it changes if your income changes, when you are deciding whether to apply at a specific development. If some or all of your family members are immigrants and you are in certain types of federal housing programs, your rent can be pro-rated to a higher amount because one or more family members do not have immigration status that is recognized by HUD. See Immigrants and Housing.
If you get into section 8 housing or multifamily subsidized housing, or if you get a voucher, you have different rights concerning evictions, grievances, tenant participation, and many other issues. To get information about your rights once you are in a program, go to: Public Housing. Your family size changes In all subsidized housing programs, you should promptly report if there are changes in your family size. If someone has left your household, the housing authority or owner may request verification of their new address. If a minor child is added to the household due to birth, adoption, or court-awarded custody, advance approval of the addition is not needed before the child moves in. In all other cases, you will need to get advance approval before a new family member moves in. In addition, the housing authority or owner may screen additions to the household for criminal history and (in most of the federal programs) for immigration status. In subsidized housing or multifamily HUD application for housing, if your family size changes, you may be able to transfer to another public housing or subsidized apartment of a more appropriate size. These transfers often take a long time to happen. In state public housing, if you are in too large an apartment for your family size (you are "over-housed") and you don't transfer into a smaller sized unit offered by the housing authority, your rent can be increased to 150% of its usual level.
With a Section 8 voucher, if your family size changes and you want to apply for section 8 online, the subsidy with the voucher changes by the date that your annual recertification for your income and family composition is effective. This is so that you can find an apartment that is a better match to your household size. This means, however, that in addition to adjusting with an increase in family size, if there is a reduction in your household size, the subsidy is reduced at the time of your annual recertification, so you would have to pay a greater portion of your rent or move. You can ask the housing agency to let you have a different subsidized housing "subsidy standard" (bedroom size for the subsidy) than it would normally apply due to your family's medical needs or other special circumstances.
Section 8 Apartments | Application Form | Housing | Application | Housing Programs | Online Application
Waiting List Information | Affordable Housing and Low Rent
HUD Application | Apply | Section 8 Consolidation Program | State Info
Where can I find Section 8 and subsidized housing online?Locate subsidized housing online
Section 8 listings are properties listed by landlords that can accept the Section 8 voucher. Learn more about subsidized housing and how to find a Section 8 landlord.