Who can live in your Section 8 housing rental with you?
If you are currently enrolled in the Section 8 housing program, it is important that you understand the program’s regulations.
By following these regulations, you can ensure you continue to receive your housing choice vouchers each month, in order to assist with your rent.
Local public housing agencies (PHAs) are responsible for managing beneficiaries, and certifying that the rules are followed.
You can lose access to Section 8 rentals and your monthly vouchers if you have an unauthorized household member living with you, or if you did not include all household members in your application when determining your eligibility.
Reviewing the eligibility criteria and learning who is authorized to live in your rental allows you to confirm you are following these important guidelines.
To find out more about who should be included on your Section 8 application, and how to update your household information to comply with program regulations, read through the following information.
How to Determine Your Section 8 Housing Family Size
When you complete your original Section 8 housing application, you are required to provide information on all family members that will be living with you in the home.
The number of household members you claim on your application will determine the income limits you can earn, while still qualifying for assistance.
Additionally, the number of household members with whom you will be living also helps to determine the size of the rental unit and the voucher payment for which you are eligible.
Whether you complete a Section 8 housing application online application, or you fill out a paper copy to mail in, you must disclose specific information about each family member. The information requested may include:
- Full names.
- Dates of birth.
- Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for family members 6 years of age and older.
- Citizenship statuses.
- Income earned by each member.
Before you are placed on a Section 8 housing list in your area, the PHA uses the information you provided in the application to determine that you are eligible for the program.
This includes an investigation into each family member to ensure he or she has eligible citizenship status, and to determine the amount of monthly income earned.
To participate in the program, you are required to provide the PHA representative with any documentation he or she requests, including:
- Citizenship documentation.
- Income verification records, such as tax returns or paycheck stubs.
- Social Security cards.
Your eligibility for Section 8 housing relies on whether or not your household earns within the program’s income limits for your family size.
Therefore, the number of family members and the income earned by each is an important factor in determining if you qualify for program vouchers.
When claiming your household members on your Section 8 rentals application, you are not required to include live-in aides, foster children, foster adults or guests.
However, these members may be included in the household member count when determining the size of the unit you will rent.
The following family members must be claimed for income verification and household size, whether they plan to live full-time in the home or not:
- Children in joint custody arrangements or those who are temporarily absent
- Unborn children
- Children away at school temporarily
- Other temporarily absent family members who plan to eventually move back into the home
- Family members currently living in a nursing home or hospital
Who is qualified to live in Section 8 rentals?
To qualify for a voucher to assist with Section 8 rentals, all household members must meet program standards.
If one of your household members engages in criminal activity that threatens the health or safety of the rental unit or neighbors, you may be disqualified from the program.
To qualify for benefits, your Section 8 application must also include all household members and their correct monthly incomes and identities.
Household members must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. If it is found that incorrect information was provided on the application, and has not yet been updated with the PHA, you may also lose your right to program benefits, and your lease may be terminated.
A household member is ineligible to receive Section 8 housing program vouchers if he or she has been placed on the lifetime sex offender list.
Property landlords and owners can also implement additional rules pertaining to past crimes at their own regard.
For example, a landlord can decide that you can only rent a property if none of your household members were convicted of violent crimes within the past three years.
How to Update Your Section 8 Application
If you are currently living in Section 8 rentals and receiving program vouchers, you are required to notify your PHA about updated family details. You must notify your PHA if:
- Your family income has increased or decreased, including an additional monthly paycheck or the loss of a job.
- You acquired additional family members, such as a relative that has moved into the home full-time.
- A family member moved out, such as an adult child that now lives full-time in his or her own home.
To update your Section 8 application after a new household member has moved in, you must contact your local PHA and provide specific information.
The PHA will need to know his or her name, date of birth, citizenship status and earned income.
You are required to provide this information as soon as the new household member takes up residence full-time in the home.
Keep in mind, with an additional household member in Section 8 housing, you may have updated income limits your household can earn to continue qualifying for assistance.
The addition of a new household member may also change the size of the rental unit your family qualifies to rent.
Upon review of your updated application, a PHA representative will notify you of these changes, and your continued program eligibility.
What happens if I don’t update my Section 8 housing application?
It is important to notify your Section 8 housing PHA of any changes to your household right away.
If you do not update your household information with the PHA, you may be convicted of public assistance fraud. If you are convicted, you may:
- Be evicted from your Section 8 rental.
- Need to repay any program assistance provided to you erroneously.
- Be required to pay a fine up to $10,000.
- Not be eligible to receive any public assistance in the future.
- Face imprisonment.
- Be subject to additional state or local penalties.
The information you provide on your Section 8 housing application is checked by the PHA, through other government agencies.
Therefore, it is important to include accurate and updated information on all household members.