What are the privileges and limitations of Section 8 tenants?

By Tenant

Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 allows for the payment of rental housing by the government in behalf of the estimated 3.1 million low income families.  It is an umbrella of several government services that aim to assist low income families and prevent them from living on the streets.  One of the most popular categories of section 8 is the Housing Choice Voucher Program.  This program allows a tenant to choose his own housing to which he would apply his monthly vouchers as part of the rent payment.

However, there are so many horror stories circulating about Section 8 tenants.  There were accounts of harassments from landlords, unjust living conditions and even violations that the tenants have incurred.  So if you are on Section 8, what should you expect?

From landlords:

  •  Not all landlords will be thrilled with the idea that you are a section 8 tenant.  In fact, there are landlords that would choose not to rent to you because they do not want the government to get involved in their business.  Yes, they are still subject to the Fair Housing Act but it is still their right not to accept a Section 8 tenant as long as their reason is not discriminatory.  This is because there are HUD Housing Quality Standards that need to be complied with by landlords who accommodate Section 8 tenants.  And these requirements could be too much pressure to handle for the landlord.

Note, however, that you cannot be discriminated just because you are a section 8 tenant.  You cannot be charged higher end, you must have full access to all the services that your landlord provides to all tenants and you must still have all of a tenant’s basic rights.

If your landlord does these to you, you should file for a complaint. The RPA has a complaint center, accessible through this link: http://www.rentalprotectionagency.com/complaint_center.php

From the government:

  • You can expect to receive a monthly voucher from the government.  You will use this voucher to pay for your rent.  However, remember that your rent will only be subsidized so you will still have to shell out some cash to complete your rent payment.

What the government expects from you.

There will also be guidelines that you need to follow as a section 8 tenant.  Examples of these would be the following:

  • You should not allow any one was not authorized to live in the apartment with you.
  • You must also keep your apartment clean, safe, and decent.
  • You must also allow a government representative to inspect your home on a regular basis and to notify them before you move out.
  • Also, you must follow the lease agreement that you have with your landlord and pay your rent on time too.

For a complete list of your responsibilities as a Section 8 tenant, please refer to the handbook that you should be provided with upon the approval of your application.

Edited on: Thursday, February 21st, 2013 1:06 am

10 Responses to “What are the privileges and limitations of Section 8 tenants?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


February 21st, 2013 1:20 am

I live in a condo and the people living next to me are Section 8. But they are living in a $2000 per month place, drive fancy hires and wear really expensive clothes. I think they’re faking their income. From what I’ve read, the government will be sending inspectors on a regular basis so my guess is, they could have paid the inspector too? I don’t know. It just sounds sad that they get the benefits of subsidized housing when thet clearly can afford to pay for the entire rent.


February 21st, 2013 2:20 am

Hmm.. That’s interesting. I don?t know about your but I’d report them. Maybe an anonymous phone call or letter could be done.


February 21st, 2013 3:40 am

I think the landlord should not care whether a tenant is Section 8 or not. As long as the rent is paid on time, the apartment is well kept and the tenants do not bother their neighbors then they are just tenants.


February 21st, 2013 4:40 am

My neighbor is a Section 8 tenant and she got evicted because she violated the provision which states the apartment must only be used as residence by her and her family. Well, the government people did a surprise inspection and they found out that in the apartment where three guys who were not family members. Apparently, they’ve been smoking weed and the smell was so powerful they couldn’t deny it. So long story short, take your tenant guidelines seriously if you want to stay in the program.


February 21st, 2013 5:40 am

I am a landlord and I get a lot of Section 8 tenant applicants. I have no problem with them. As long as they pass my background checks, I award them the apartment. They pay the rent on time and are better tenants because they know how difficult it is to find an apartment and to find money to pay for rent. If they mess out, they’ll get evicted and they’ll lose their Section 8 standing.


February 21st, 2013 6:40 am

Section 8 has been designed for low income families but sad to say, there are really people who would do what they can just to cheat. They would go to the lengths of falsifying information, hiding their finances and so on. It takes time to learn how to work the system but for someone’s who


February 21st, 2013 8:00 am

Section 8 has been designed for low income families but sad to say, there are really people who would do what they can just to cheat. They would go to the lengths of falsifying information, hiding their finances and so on. It takes time to learn how to who’s very patient, they’ll wait until they know all the tricks. Tsk.


February 21st, 2013 9:00 am

Right. Be vigilant against discrimination. It happens. If you experienced it just because you’re on Section 8, speak out. File a complaint.


February 21st, 2013 10:20 am

I had to file a complaint once against my landlord because he refused to treat me like any of his other tenants. He said my rent has been subsidized by his taxes so he should not be doing any repairs for me. I don’t know what the RPA did but my then LL sure did change his mind! He came back a few days after and started fixing the problems in this apartment.


February 21st, 2013 11:40 am

I think the discrimination comes from these people. Whenever they ask something, they always had to mention, “I’m Section 8″ so what? That won’t matter. We will still have the same tenant rights.


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