How to Appeal a Hearing Officer's Decision for Section 8 Housing


Section 8 housing is a federal housing program administered by individual states. States set up their own Section 8 programs, including eligibility requirements, properties available and tenant rights, within federal guidelines. Policies and procedures regarding Section 8 tenant screening and community policies at individual Section 8 housing units vary by the city and state. All housing authorities offer at least informal hearings to people denied Section 8 housing, including evictions. Section 8 informal hearing decisions may also be appealed to applicable state superior courts.

Things You'll Need

  • Applicable housing authority Section 8 hearing guidelines and instructions
  • Paper
  • Pens, pencils

Requesting a Section 8 Denial Hearing

  • Request a hearing to appeal your denial of Section 8 housing. It is also sometimes called an informal hearing or a review hearing or even just a conference. This is a meeting where you present your side, the housing authority presents its side, and a hearing officer or administrative judge makes a decision. In most cases, you must request a Section 8 hearing within 14 to 30 days from when the written denial notice was sent.

  • Prepare for the Section 8 denial hearing. Carefully read the letter you were sent by the Section 8 housing authority specifying the reasons for the denial and make sure you have a good explanation or reasonable counter-argument for all the points mentioned.

  • Attend the Section 8 denial hearing and present your case. Bring copies of all necessary supporting documents to the hearing and distribute them to all parties in advance.

  • Move into your home if you win your Section 8 denial hearing appeal. If not, in most cities and states you have other administrative appeal options. In San California, California, you may request an executive review within 20 days of a denial decision and the executive review can take up to another 30 days. In Massachusetts, you may request a reconsideration of your Section 8 denial and if still denied you can appeal it to the state's Department of Housing and Community Development.

  • If your Section 8 appeal is denied at the housing authority level, hire an attorney to take your case to the state superior court if all other avenues fail. The legal process for appealing a Section 8 denial to the superior court may take several months.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider consulting and even hiring an attorney to represent you at your Section 8 denial hearings. Some attorneys work with low-income clients on a reduced fee or even "pro bono," or free, basis.


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