Section 8 voucher limits

6 Replies

Hello BP Community,

I have a tenant who lost her job and recently got approved for section 8. She was only approved for a 1-bedroom apartment and the rental unit I'm currently renting to her is a 4-bedroom (she lived with other family members but they all moved out prior to COVID). I've been helping her look for a 1-bedroom apartment however there is shortage of 1-bedroom apartments in the area and the only ones available are either above the voucher limit or require income verification. I am closing on another 2-family property soon (around this area) which I'm planning to hold, it is made up of Two 2-bedroom apartment units. I was hoping of maybe moving my tenant from the 4-bedroom apartment to one of the 2-bedroom apartment units in the new house, however that would mean taking a loss since the voucher is for a 1-bedroom apartment unit instead of a 2-bedroom.

My question is, could section 8 increase the voucher limit to reflect that of a 2-bedroom apartment? or would she be allowed to make up the difference if section 8 cannot increase the limit?

@Joseph Rios I understand you are trying to help your tenant, but section 8 payment standard is based on family size. She probably won't get approved for more than 1 bedroom and HUD won't allow her to pay more than the payment standard. You are not allowed to have a side deal/agreement. I think you have two options: 1. Let here stay in your 2 bedroom and receive payment for a 1 bedroom apartment. or 2. Let her find somewhere else that matches her voucher.

In the greater Tampa Bay area I've seen that Section 8 will often pay more than I would ask for on the free market.   Have you verified the rate Section 8 will pay for that one-bedroom Section 8?    There is a small chance that it would be comparable to the Fair Market 2 Bedroom rate.   

I don't know how familiar you are with Section 8, but they often require the tenant to pay a portion of the rent.  It's also worth checking in advance to see what portion Section 8 will cover.  If they're paying 100%, you're guaranteed to get full payment every month which may also make it worth receiving slightly less initially.  

One last point, with my Section 8 tenants I haven't had any issues with yearly rent increases of 5%+ even during Corona.   I just fill out the one-page request at least 2 months before the end of the lease, they ask no questions and just increase the payment amount.  

Pros and Cons to mull over.  

One suggestion you could offer your tenant is to recruit one of those family members to come back. A 1 bedroom voucher is all that will be approved for 1 person; however, if a child also lived there, for example, that would justify a 2 bedroom voucher.

@Muritala Olanrewaju thanks for the feedback! I was looking at the HUD website and I noticed that if she can provide a good enough reason she may be able to request a larger sized apartment although it is not guaranteed. Either way, she is a great tenant so I'll most likely take a loss if I have to, hoping I can eventually increase rent as time goes on.

@Amy Davidson thank you so much! I was looking at the rates and it's $1200 for 1-bedroom and $1400 for 2-bedroom. They are below market level as rents are going up pretty much everywhere in north jersey. I haven't talked to my tenant about this yet as I'm waiting to close on the new property, but I'm hoping that maybe she can make up the difference if allowed to. If none of this works then I'll probably take a loss and wait to raise the rent when the time comes, she is a great tenant which are hard to come by nowadays.

@James Mc Ree you're absolutely right! I haven't had a chance to talk to her about this option yet as I'm waiting to close on the new property. But definitely something she can try. thank you.