The Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program assists low-income families with paying their rent. To begin and continue receiving voucher assistance, voucher recipients must meet and maintain strict eligibility requirements. Part of remaining eligible is upholding tenant responsibilities outlined in the program guidelines.
The Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program gives participants the freedom to choose their home. The home must meet Housing Quality Standards set by their Public Housing Administration (PHA). A PHA will advise participants of these standards before they look for a home and may also be able to recommend homes with landlords already approved for voucher recipient tenants. However, the family is ultimately responsible for finding suitable housing.
After a home is approved, the tenant and landlord sign a lease agreement. The tenant will also likely be asked to pay a security deposit. This cost cannot be covered by voucher assistance and is the sole responsibility of the tenant. The initial agreement lasts a minimum of one year. The tenant is responsible for upholding their obligations outlined in the lease and adhering to any guidelines set forth by the agreement. Violating the lease agreement can result in the termination of voucher benefits.
The tenant is responsible for paying all utility bills. The amount paid for utilities may be calculated into your rent responsibility and reduce your rent payment, but it is always the tenant’s obligation to pay the bill.
Families are expected to provide requested information and documentation to their PHA in a timely manner. All family members must sign consent forms allowing their PHA to collect information to verify continued eligibility. The family must also allow their PHA to conduct inspections of their home as necessary. This is usually done only once per year, unless a specific issue arises.
While living in the home and receiving voucher assistance, all family members are expected to adhere to the Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program guidelines. Guidelines include not engaging in drug-related criminal activity, being evicted, causing disturbances, etc. Activities generally prohibited by a landlord are likely prohibited by program guidelines. Recipients are also expected to pay their rent on time, keep the home in good condition and notify their PHA of any changes to information originally provided in their application and enrollment documents. If your PHA has evidence that one or more family members has violated program guidelines, voucher assistance can be terminated.