Guide to Using to Find Rentals

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Guide to Using to Find Rentals

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If you’re a disabled, elderly, or poor American in search of information about Section 8 (Housing Choice Vouchers Program), you need a guide to using to find rentals. Section 8 provides assistance to eligible families and individuals by providing financial help to pay the monthly rental cost of a rental home or apartment. Section 8 beneficiaries can choose a rental home or apartment. He or she isn’t limited to a unit or property in a subsidized housing project.

Local municipal housing agencies around the country certify tenants and participating residents for the Section 8 program. The site works with public housing authorities and agencies and property owners (landlords) to maintain an accurate database of Section 8 program rentals available in every major U.S. housing market. Tenants don’t pay a fee to use the site. It’s possible for users to get convenient email alerts or contact the local housing authority or toll-free support number for assistance. For more information on Section 8 eligibility, read the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Fact Sheet at

Section 8 Program

The Housing Choice Vouchers Program helps low-income people to select from private residents offered for rent by a private owner. The owner’s local public housing authority (PHA) typically pays the owner the different of the PHA-determined rental payment standard (generally between 80-100 percent of fair market rental value or FMR) and the Section 8-certified renter’s contribution (about 30 percent of his or her household income). Program basics include:

Reasonable rents prevail.
If the prospective tenant chooses a property with a higher than FMR rent, he or she pays the difference to the landlord.
If the prospective tenant chooses a lower-priced rental, he or she may keep the difference.

Prospective tenants should contact the local PHA. Start at

Click on your residence state.
Click on the city closest to you.
Visit the PHA to apply for the Section 8 program.

If you’re qualified for Section 8, request free access to Section 8 database listings by calling at +1-866-466-7328.

PHA Administration

The Public Housing Authority (PHA) or qualified agency for the Section 8 program is responsible for inspection of housing units to ensure they’re in compliance with HUD standards. The PHA also issues housing vouchers to eligible and qualified low-income households.

Once qualified, the prospective tenant must find and select an apartment or home to rent. If it’s eligible for the Section 8 program, the municipal agency or PHA pays the landlord the difference between 30 percent of the renter’s adjusted income or 10 percent of gross income or the appropriate portion of welfare assistance earmarked for housing. Once qualified, the tenant can request access to the database of eligible apartments and homes.

The PHA uses the payment standard for the tenant’s area. To qualify:

Monthly rental rates of the home or apartment must be reasonable.
That is, the rent must compare favorably with similar non-Section 8 units on the market.

Section 8 Eligibility

Your local PHA administers the Section 8 program in your area. Your eligibility is determined by income (total gross earnings plus family size). The Section 8 program is open to U.S. citizens and certain non-citizens with an eligible immigration status. In general:

Family income shouldn’t be greater than 50 percent of the median income in the metro area or county in which they live.

The local PHA is mandated by law to distribute three-fourths of its vouchers to very low-income applicants. In this case, the applicant’s income shouldn’t be greater than 30 percent of the median area income as published by HUD. Income levels vary by location.
Ask your local PHA about Section 8 income limits for your city or county.
Click on to find your local PHA.

If the PHA says you’re eligible for the Section 8 program, your name will be added to the wait list. The waiting time varies according to conditions in your local market. The PHA may also select applicants from the waiting list at any time according to its preference. Unfortunately, the PHA may also close the waiting list if it cannot accommodate enough families in the near future.

How to Use to Find Rentals

After you’re qualified to receive Section 8 voucher program assistance, you’re entitled to research, access, and select from eligible and available rental properties in the database.

After the tenant selects a property to lease, the local PHA must inspect it and determine that the rent per month is reasonable. The local payment doesn’t limit what the landlord may charge or the Section 8 beneficiary pays. If the amount of rent the landlord demands is higher than the local market’s payment standard, the Section 8 beneficiary must pay the additional sum. However, the beneficiary is limited by law in this instance. The individual or family mustn’t pay out more than 40 percent of adjusted monthly income for housing.

Under the terms of Section 8, the voucher recipient may choose a rental unit anywhere within the U.S. as long as the beneficiary lived in the PHA issuer’s jurisdiction when he, she, or they applied for financial help. Terms and conditions apply.

Section 8 Tenant Obligations

The Section 8-certified tenant must sign a lease for a minimum one year period. Under local laws, the tenant may be asked to pay a security deposit. After the original lease expires, the landlord may require a new lease or allow the beneficiary to lease on a month-to-month basis.

Beneficiaries must comply with lease and program requirements, including:

Make monthly rent payments on time.
Maintain the apartment or home in good condition.
Notify the local PHA of income or family changes.

Section 8 Landlords

Landlords may list Section 8-eligible properties on website. PHAs access the website and use property rental lists to serve tenants in need of Section 8 rentals.

Section 8 tenants don’t need computer access to view new listings on They call the toll free number at +1-866-466-7328. The “GO8 QuikMatch system” alerts tenants of new listings by phone, text message, or email. They receive a phone call from when a property listing matches entered criteria.