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Keep reading to see what’s expected from you as a Section 8 tenant so you can start getting help with your rent.
You’ve probably been in a standard renting situation before where you made monthly payments to a landlord. In exchange, you were allowed to live on their property.
Was making payments on time the only part of the agreement? No, as you were probably also asked to abide by specific rules of the property and keep it in good condition.
When you get Section 8 rental assistance, you’ll still live on a property with a landlord. What extra responsibilities will you have? Let’s look at that now.
Getting a Housing Choice Voucher
Before we break down the responsibilities of a Section 8 renter, let’s discuss how you become one in the first place.
You’ll need to apply for a voucher through your local public housing agency (PHA). They will assist you through the process and tell you everything you need to know.
The goal here is to get rental assistance that allows you to live in a home that’s not only sanitary, but also safe and decent. How affordable will it be? Quite affordable, as you’ll only have to pay 30 percent of your income towards rent and utilities. The rest of the tab will be picked up by your housing voucher.
If approved for a voucher, your next move will be to wait. This could take some time depending on where you live, as some waiting lists can be lengthy due to the high demand for Section 8 assistance.
After your spot in the waiting list comes up, you’ll need to pick a property that coincides with Section 8’s standards for safety, quality, and cost. Once you do that and select the right single-family home, townhouse, or apartment, it will be time to become a Section 8 tenant officially.
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Your Responsibilities as a Section 8 Tenant
With your property picked out, a one year lease will be necessary. Once the year finishes, your landlord can start another contract, or keep you on month-to-month one.
Read your lease carefully, as your landlord will expect you to abide by its rules. They won’t be the only rules you have to follow, however, as the Housing Choice Voucher program will have its own.
Paying the rent on time will be essential. Your housing voucher will make this easier since it’ll cover any excess amount beyond 30 percent of your income. Know that your voucher will be paid directly to your landlord by the PHA. This will be done promptly, and you’ll be expected to pay your share in the same way.
As with any rental agreement, you’ll have to keep the property in good condition. You will have to abstain from criminal activity to remain a tenant, as Section 8 looks down particularly hard at any drug-related or violent crimes.
Last but not least, you’ll have to stay in touch with your PHA. If your family composition changes or your income varies, let them know so you can remain eligible for the voucher.