11 Rules That Section 8 Tenants Must Follow

Section 8 residents must pay their rent on time, report income and household changes to the housing authority, and let the landlord inspect and repair the property. Eviction and Section 8 benefits can follow from violating these regulations. To preserve eligibility, Section 8 tenants must understand and follow these requirements.

In this article, we will discuss 11 rules that Section 8 tenants must follow, including rent payment, reporting changes, property maintenance, inspection and repair access, specific lease requirements, and more.


1. Rent Payment

Section 8 requires rent payment. Household income determines Section 8 rent. Tenants pay 30% of their income for rent, while the program covers the rest. Tenants must pay rent on time and in full to avoid harsh consequences.

If rent is not paid on time, the landlord can issue a notice to vacate and ultimately seek to evict the tenant. Additionally, unpaid rent can accrue late fees and interest charges, increasing the overall cost of the rent. It’s important for Section 8 tenants to budget accordingly to ensure that they are able to pay their portion of the rent in full and on time.

Tenants who are having difficulty making rent payments should contact their housing authority immediately to discuss their options, such as arranging a payment plan or receiving financial assistance. Ultimately, paying rent on time and in full is essential to maintaining eligibility for the program and avoiding eviction.


2. Reporting Changes

Income or family composition changes must be reported to Section 8 housing authorities within 10 days. Income affects Section 8 rent. Tenants’ unit size and support may depend on household composition. Reporting changes promptly helps tenants avoid overpaying rent.

Changes in income or household members must be reported to the housing authority. Some housing authorities enable online modifications; others require in-person or mail paperwork. To comply, tenants must understand housing authority reporting obligations.

Non-reporting Section 8 renters may be fined. Report changes or risk losing benefits or eviction. Underreporting income or household composition might result in penalties or benefit refunds. Tenants must report changes promptly and properly to avoid these concerns.


3. Property Maintenance

Section 8 tenants must maintain the property. Landlords handle major repairs and maintenance, but tenants clean and maintain the property. This covers pest control, trash disposal, and quick maintenance requests. Landlords or housing authorities may have property upkeep standards that tenants should follow.

Section 8 tenants cannot do some things beyond regular maintenance. These include harming the property, permitting guests to damage it, or engaging in criminal activities. These behaviors contravene the lease agreement and can make the building unsafe or unsanitary for other residents. Section 8 tenants must understand how their activities affect the property and accept responsibility.

4. Inspection and Repair of Access

Landlords and housing authorities must inspect Section 8 dwellings to verify adequate maintenance and tenant compliance with the lease. Inspections and repairs are required. Inspections may be done to verify household income or health and safety standards.

Tenants will receive a date and time for the inspection or repair after requesting access to the property. If the appointed time is inconvenient, tenants might request an alternate time. Tenants should attend inspections and repairs or arrange for a proxy.

Inaccessibility affects Section 8 tenants. Denying landlord or housing authority access may breach the contract and result in eviction or loss of benefits. Tenants must allow access to inspections and repairs. By doing so, tenants may keep their units safe and well-maintained without restricting admission.


5. Specific Lease Requirements

Section 8 tenants are required to sign a lease agreement with their landlord, which outlines the terms and conditions of their tenancy. The specific lease requirements may vary depending on the property or landlord, but there are certain common requirements that are typically included.

One of the most common lease requirements is a restriction on pets. Many landlords do not allow pets on their property because of the potential damage that pets can cause. Similarly, landlords may prohibit smoking inside the rental unit due to the potential health risks associated with secondhand smoke.

Other lease requirements may include restrictions on alterations to the property, noise levels, or guest policies. For example, tenants may be required to obtain permission from the landlord before making any changes to the unit, such as painting or installing shelves.


6. Criminal Activity

Criminal activity is strictly prohibited for Section 8 tenants and their household members on the rental property. Engaging in criminal activity can lead to eviction and legal action, including arrest and criminal charges. Examples of criminal activity include drug use or trafficking, physical violence, theft, and other illegal activities.

Landlords and housing authorities take criminal activity very seriously and have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all tenants. If a tenant or household member is found engaging in criminal activity, the landlord or housing authority may terminate the lease agreement and evict the tenant from the property. The tenant may also face criminal charges and legal action.


7. Illegal Drugs

Section 8 tenants are strictly prohibited from using or possessing illegal drugs on the rental property. This rule applies to all members of the tenant’s household, including guests. Violation of this rule can lead to eviction and legal action, including arrest and criminal charges.

The use of illegal drugs not only violates the law but can also create a hazardous environment for other tenants and neighbors. Landlords and housing authorities have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of their tenants, and illegal drug use can undermine this effort.

If a tenant is found using or possessing illegal drugs on the rental property, the landlord or housing authority may terminate the lease agreement and evict the tenant from the property. The tenant may also face criminal charges and legal action.


8. Subleasing

Section 8 tenants are prohibited from subleasing their rental units. Subleasing occurs when a tenant rents out all or part of their unit to another person without the landlord’s approval. Violation of this rule can lead to the termination of the tenant’s lease agreement and the loss of Section 8 benefits. Subleasing can create a number of problems for landlords and housing authorities. For example, it can result in overcrowding, property damage, and a lack of accountability for the sublessee.

Additionally, subleasing can lead to security and safety concerns for other tenants and the surrounding community. If a Section 8 tenant is found to be subleasing their unit, the landlord or housing authority may terminate the lease agreement and evict the tenant from the property. The tenant may also lose their Section 8 benefits and may face legal action.


9. Fraud

Section 8 tenants cannot lie or commit fraud. Fraud includes falsifying application or recertification forms, misrepresenting household income or composition, or collecting benefits for a unit where the tenant does not live. This rule can lead to the tenant’s lease termination and Section 8 benefits being revoked.

Fraud has major repercussions. It jeopardizes Section 8 and may misuse public monies. Fraud can also deny eligible tenants benefits and reduce housing availability. The landlord or housing authority may cancel the lease and evict a Section 8 tenant for fraud. The renter may be sued and ordered to refund wrongfully acquired benefits.

10. Income Reporting

Housing authorities demand Section 8 renters report all income. Employment, self-employment, Social Security, and other income are included. Tenants must accurately declare income to receive the right amount of rental assistance and avoid penalties. The housing authority and program determine income reporting requirements. Tenants generally must declare income changes within 10 days. This includes salary increases, new jobs, and household composition changes.

Failure to report income can result in a loss of benefits or even legal action. Additionally, if a tenant is found to have underreported income, they may be required to repay any overpaid benefits. This can create a financial burden for the tenant and may result in the loss of their housing.


11. Program Participation

Section 8 tenants are required to actively participate in the program and comply with all program rules and regulations. This includes attending meetings with housing authority staff, providing required documentation, and completing any necessary paperwork in a timely manner.

Failure to actively participate in the program can result in a loss of benefits or even termination of the lease agreement. Housing authorities may require tenants to attend meetings to review their progress and ensure compliance with program requirements. Additionally, tenants may be required to provide updated documentation to verify their income or household composition.



There are 11 requirements that renters of a Section 8 housing voucher must meet to remain in the program. The rent, upkeep, and security of the property are all covered by these rules. Residents of Section 8 housing must abide by these rules or risk losing their subsidies and maybe being evicted. The housing authority should be contacted by tenants who require assistance qualifying for the program.

Section 8 tenants can find contact information for their local housing authority, commonly asked questions, and other program resources. Section 8 tenants can maintain program eligibility and a secure housing situation for themselves and their families by following these 11 requirements.

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