6 Tips to Navigate Home Listings

If you applied for Section 8 benefits and met all the programs requisites, you will be able to use your housing vouchers. However, not all rental spaces accept Section 8 housing benefits as a form of payment for rent.

Even if you receive your benefits, you will find it hard at first to find a suitable space for you and your family that accepts vouchers. Make sure to ask the rental landlord if he or she accepts housing vouchers before you sign any lease agreement.

Luckily, there are a few tips that will help you navigate through Section 8 listings to find a house that fits the needs of you and your family. After you apply for Section 8, receive a notice of approval from the nearby Public Housing Agency and receive your benefits, you are ready to navigate through the listings.

There are plenty of resources available for you online and in person at PHA locations and other leasing offices.

To learn useful tips on how to finds Section 8 houses for rent and use the available resources, read the detailed tips below that will help you find your next house.

1. Communicate With Section 8 Landlords

A key to finding Section 8 apartments or houses is to communicate with the landlord and property owners.

Make sure that you ask any questions you have about Section 8 rentals that might be available in their housing complex.

Do not precipitate to sign any lease agreement if you are unsure whether the landlord or owner accepts housing voucher benefits. 

Landlords who wish to rent to Section 8 voucher holders inform the local housing authority of the availability of their property.

Therefore, those who accept Section 8 as payment understand they can rent to housing beneficiaries.

Furthermore, some landlords may have a network of other property owners and may be aware of other listings that you can rent sing your benefits. 

2. Visit a Public Housing Agency

Since you cannot complete a Section 8 application online, you are probably familiar with your local public housing agency.

Keep in mind that landlords who rent to Section 8 voucher holders must inform to the PHAs. Therefore, you will be able to obtain information on listings that accept your benefits at these locations.

3. Search Section 8 Apartment Listings Online

There are several tools to find Section 8 houses for rent online. Go Section 8 is one of the most popular tools to find a home or apartment online that accept your housing voucher benefits as a form of payment.

This website is dedicated to helping you find affordable housing in your area. The program also has close relations with local governmental and municipal entities to help you access resources to find accommodation.

You can also find section 8 rentals directly on the HUD website using the webpage resource locator.

You will be able to find Section 8 houses for rent as well as locations of Housing Authorities and PHAs in your area.

These locations also have valuable resources to help you find a suitable rental unit for you and your family.

4. Keep an Eye on the Section 8 Voucher Period

Once you receive your Section 8 voucher, the PHA will give you at least 60 days to provide a request for tenancy approval. You must submit the Section 8 rental approval within the specified time.

If you cannot find a listing within this time, you must submit a request for an extension of search time. Federal law requires PHAs to provide written notice of these extensions so you will be notified when you receive one. 

Additionally, there is no number of Section 8 listing search extensions that you can receive from your local housing authority.

However, you must fulfill one of the following Section 8 program requirements to receive an extension to search:

  • Searching efforts – Depending on the efforts you and your family make to look for Section 8 rentals, the PHA may grant you a time extension. Contacting property owners, real estate companies and exploring neighborhoods with “for rent” signs count as efforts that will help you receive an extension. 
  • Need for additional assistance – You may submit evidence that you need further support to find a rental unit that accepts your housing vouchers.  
  • Support you receive – PHA will review the level of support you have received so far to help you search for a new house or apartment.
  • Other extenuating circumstances – You and your family may be experiencing extenuating events that have prevented you from finding a unit. Some of these reasons may be a severe illness, death, family emergency or issues with employments. Any of these issues may affect you or one of your family members and are enough to justify an extension of search time.  

Keep in mind that the Section 8 voucher term expiration does not refer to the date you must occupy the unit.

Instead, the expiry refers to the time you must provide the Section 8 rental or tenancy agreement to the local PHA. If your housing voucher expires, you may have to reapply for benefits or wait on the Section 8 waiting list upon the PHA discretion.

Furthermore, you will not be denied from receiving benefits in the future if you are unable to find a place that accepts the housing voucher.

5. Keep Searching for Section 8 Rentals

Even if you submit a Section 8 request for tenancy approval, you should not stop looking for rentals. If the PHA rejects your Section 8 rental option, you will have to submit another request before your voucher expires.

In some cases, you might even receive an extension on your voucher for the time the PHA takes to process your request. However, this request is upon the discretion of your PHA and may not be available in your area. 

6. Understand Section 8 Eligibility Criteria for Rentals

Knowing which Section 8 rentals not to look for will also save you a lot of time in your search. PHA cannot approve a Section 8 tenancy request for the following types of housing:

  • College and other school dormitories
  • Nursing, board or care homes that provide continuous care and services
  • Public or Indian housing units
  • Units that are already receiving Section 8 project-based assistance
  • Units on penal, reformatory, medical, mental or the ground of other public institutions
  • Units that fail to meet the HUD housing quality standards
  • Leases between relatives