What to Do After Receiving Your Housing Choice Voucher?

What are the next steps if you applied for a Housing Choice Voucher and have finally received yours? And where can you exactly use your voucher?

Almost any landlord accepts housing vouchers. If you plan to move to a different location after getting your voucher, you may contact the housing office that manages your voucher on how to do so. There are specific requirements that you need to meet in order for you to use your housing voucher elsewhere. You may also search for housing online.

Remember that housing authorities review the monthly income of your household at least once a year to verify continued eligibility.

There are many Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules that limit which properties may accept Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. It is very important to know some if not all of the policies before starting to search for a rental unit.

  • the monthly rent of the unit or property must meet the Payment Standards or the highest monthly rent a voucher holding household may pay. To know how the Payment Standards for your area, you can check the housing authority’s website or contact them directly.
  • all units or properties must be examined and approved by the local housing authority to abide by the housing standards set by HUD

Did you know that in some areas it is illegal for a landlord to refuse a tenant only because they have a housing voucher?

Where you can use a Section 8 Voucher

  • houses or apartments which are owned by private landlords who will accept the housing voucher, with the exception of the unit being located in a source of income discrimination laws protected area
  • units, houses, or apartments owned by private landlords in Section 8 protected areas
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit units, except if the unit or property has a USDA Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance subsidy or a Project-Based Section 8 associated with it.
  • Section 515 Rural Rental Housing properties that have units without rental assistance, except if the property has a full Project-Based Section 8 contract attached to it.
  • Qualified units or properties owned by the housing authority which manages assistance under an Annual Contributions Contract, with the following conditions being met:
    • the household does not have any extra form of housing subsidy benefit
    • Section 515 Rural Rental Housing properties that have units without rental assistance, except if the property has a full Project-Based Section 8 contract attached to it.
    • The unit or property has been inspected by an HUD-approved independent entity, and reasonable rent has been negotiated with the owner.
    • The household has been informed by the housing authority person-to-person that they have the right to choose any available qualified unit or property, and that housing authority-owned unit is chosen without any influence or control by the housing authority.

Where a Section 8 Voucher cannot be used

  • College dormitories or any other school dormitories
  • Public or Indian Housing properties or units
  • Penal, reformatory, mental, medical, or similar private or public institution properties or units
  • Project-Based Section 8 units or properties where all of the units in the project receives the Section 8 grant
  • Units backed by the following programs: HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, HUD Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, USDA Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance, and any other local, state, or federal rent subsidy except welfare or social security.