After emerging from a Section 8 waiting list, you’ll need to find HUD approved housing before you can begin receiving Section 8 Housing benefits.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines are designed to ensure beneficiaries live in affordable, safe, and sanitary housing.
In addition to HUD guideline considerations, it’s important for you to find a home that suits the needs of you and your family.
When beginning a search for Section 8 houses for rent, it’s beneficial to create a list of your needs and wants to help you choose housing that will accommodate your family’s needs.
By creating these lists early on, it may also be easier for you to make compromises as you search for comfortable, affordable housing.
Knowing how to spot Section 8 housing red flags can also be very helpful to you in your search.
After you’ve submitted a Section 8 application for a property, an inspection will need to be performed by your local public housing authority (PHA) to ensure that the property meets HUD approved housing standards.
Finding Section 8 Housing That Fits Your Needs
Section 8 Housing provides housing assistance for a variety of housing options, including:
- Single family homes
- Apartment complexes
- Studio apartments
Therefore, you’ve got a lot of options available. However, you must also find a property that accepts housing vouchers, as not all landlords do.
It’s a common myth that Section 8 Housing is limited to crime-ridden or under-developed neighborhoods, but that is fortunately not the case.
In fact, many areas incentivize landlords to accept vouchers, so you can find affordable housing just about anywhere.
As you begin your search, you can check with your local PHA or use HUD counseling services to get a list of known rental properties in your search area that accept housing vouchers.
Alternatively, you can also search for a rental property the old fashioned way.
Before you dive deeper into amenities you’d like to have, it’s important to consider the type of housing that will meet the needs of you and your family. For this list, ask yourself questions like:
- How many bedrooms does my family need?
- What neighborhoods are closest to work or public transportation?
- What school district do we want to live in?
- Would we prefer a property with a yard or extra storage space?
Location will likely be one of the largest considerations for you to make as you search for Section 8 houses for rent. After all, it’s usually beneficial to be closer to work when possible.
Or, you may want to prioritize a certain school district for your kids.
Depending on where you live, you may have a lot of neighborhood options, and each neighborhood comes with its own considerations.
For example, would you prefer to live in a busier, bustling neighborhood, a downtown area, or a quieter suburb? These decisions have a significant impact on your day-to-day lives.
For example, residential neighborhoods are often quieter and have less traffic, but they may lack nearby stores, restaurants, and businesses.
On the other hand, a downtown area may be close to many businesses and have easier access to transportation, but it will likely be noisier and have much more traffic.
It’s helpful to narrow down these priorities early in your search, as it can only help you weigh the pros and cons of various properties you come across, so you can select the best option for you and your family.
Section 8 Housing Amenities and Red Flags
Once you’ve narrowed down the type of home you want and the neighborhoods you’ll be looking for Section 8 houses for rent in, it’s time to consider additional features and amenities.
This is where needs and wants lists come in. At the same time, it’s important to know how to spot potential red flags that could cause issues in the future as a tenant.
Available amenities vary widely depending on the type of housing you’re looking for. For example, many apartments come with shared communal spaces, such as clubhouses, rec rooms, gyms, laundry facilities, and pools.
On the other hand, single-family homes may include private yards, extra storage areas, driveways, or garages.
Some of the additional amenities you may want to consider include:
- Kitchen appliances and features
- Central air vs. air conditioning units
- Carpets vs. hardwood or tile
- Heating systems
- In-unit washer and dryer vs. laundry facilities
- Pet-friendly rental properties
You should always tour a rental property before submitting an application. That way, you can get a sense of the unit for yourself instead of relying on images.
When touring the property, be on the lookout for potential red flags, such as:
- Rushed tours
- Maintenance concerns
- Existing damages
- Noise levels
- Whether or not a landlord is easy to get a hold of
If you do notice any damages during your tour, be sure to point those damages out to avoid potential future expenses for damages that were not caused by you, your family, or pets.
Using HUD Housing Counseling Services
Government initiatives like Section 8 Housing help low-income families find affordable, quality housing. As such, vouchers can sometimes be used toward purchasing a home.
The HUD provides housing counseling services for potential home buyers that provide a variety of educational services, including on topics such as:
- Homeowners and renters insurance
- Home buyer assistance programs
- Mortgage loans, Section 8 vouchers, and insurance premiums
- How to raise credit scores
- Avoiding foreclosure and eviction
- How to negotiate with lenders
Additionally, Section 8 HUD counseling can provide beneficial insight into finding Section 8 houses for rent. It can be an incredible resource that anyone can use.
For Section 8 Housing participants, housing counseling services can also help you in your search for low-income housing options in the area that accept HUD housing vouchers.
These services are free or come at a very low cost, so it is often strongly encouraged that anyone participating in the Section 8 Housing program or just looking for affordable housing to consider using them.