Have you been wondering just how much does Section 8 pay for rent? Well, I’ve got the answer for you as well as what you really need to know about Section 8 housing before you apply. Read on for all the details.
How Much Does Section 8 Pay for Rent
There isn’t a set amount that Section 8 housing pays for your rent.
Instead, it is a percentage of your income.
If you are eligible you will be given a voucher and then you can start looking for a place to rent.
You will pay no more than 30 percent of your adjusted gross income and up to an established limit.
For example, if you make $1,500 dollars per month and you find an apartment or house with a rent of $800 dollars per month, you would be required to pay $450 dollars a month.
The additional rent, in this case, $350 would be paid with your voucher.
($1,500 * .30% = $450 dollars)
Keep in mind, the fair market rent of the rental must equal or be greater than $800 dollars.
Fair Market Rent
What is fair market rent?
Simply put, the fair market rent is used to determine how much your landlord can charge for their Section 8 housing.
The determination of fair market rent is based on the five-year American Community Survey and the recent mover adjustment as well as the CPI adjustment and a trend factor adjustment.
It is all a little complicated, but what you need to know is what it all boils down to.
And what it boils down to is that your landlord can’t charge you more than the fair market rent for your apartment or home.
Also, you should know that some utilities such as heat and electricity are included in the fair market rate regardless of who actually pays them.
How to Qualify for Section 8 Housing
The main qualification is your monthly income.
Your monthly income will need to be below 50 percent of your area’s median income.
That means if the average person in your area makes $3,000 dollars a month then your monthly income would need to be below $1,500 per month to qualify for a voucher and rental assistance.
If you have two earners in your household then both salaries would be taken into account.
For example, if you have two individuals in your household making minimum wage and one of you works full-time (40 hours) and the other works part-time (20 hours) then you would combine your salaries to determine eligibility.
In this example, the full-time worker living in a state that follows the federal minimum wage would make $7.25 per hour for a total monthly income of $1,256.
The part-time worker would make a total of $628 dollars per month.
Adding the two together you would be making $1,884 per month before taxes.
That means the average household income would need to be over $3,768 dollars for you to meet the program requirements.
Eligible families would then pay 30 percent of their income or in this case $565 dollars per month for their actual rent.
This doesn’t include any security deposit you may be required to pay.
Where to Apply
You can apply at any public housing authority office.
At your public housing authority, you’ll find an application for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.
This application is free.
You should also be able to get the application online or through the mail.
Once you filled out the application and returned it the public housing authority will determine whether or not you’re eligible for Section 8 housing.
At that point, you’ll either be rejected or you’ll be put on a waiting list.
Keep in mind that it can take several months for your application to be processed. And then even if you are not rejected you can be on the waitlist for many more months or longer.
This is not a quick process.
What to Do While You’re On the Waitlist
When you’re on the waitlist you shouldn’t just sit around waiting.
There are actually a few things you should be doing while you’re waiting to hear back.
Be sure to keep copies of all your correspondence with the public housing authority.
This can also be photographs of papers you have received or signed.
You want to have good documentation because it’s going to be a while before this process is over and then if there’s a staff turnover they might lose your information as well.
Also, be sure to respond to any correspondence you get in a timely manner.
You want the housing authority to know that you are still interested in assistance.
You don’t want anything to fall through the cracks and you don’t want to get put back at the end of the line again.
If a new waitlist opens up in your area go ahead and apply again.
The bottom line here is, it’s important to be proactive and stay engaged in the process.
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Once You Have Your Voucher
Once you receive your voucher you want to start looking for an apartment right away.
Don’t wait. Go apartment hunting immediately.
You need to talk to the Housing Authority about how many bedrooms you are authorized to have.
Don’t forget that you’ll be responsible for your security deposit.
You also want to know approximately what your utilities are going to be each month.
If they’re too high you may have trouble affording your portion and your rent.
And again you want to document everything throughout this process.
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To Sum it All Up:
Being approved for Section 8 housing can be a long and difficult process. Even so, if you have a lower income it’s worth going through the hassle to find rent that you can afford. Just follow the steps, document everything as you go along, and stay engaged in the process and before you know it you’ll have a new place to live.