Section 8 & HUD Apartments


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides rental subsidies to qualified low-income families. A Section 8 rental subsidy lowers the rent amount since HUD is paying for a portion of the rent. The family must meet income limit levels established for the county it lives in. The local housing authority can help you find a HUD apartment complex with available units for rent. Since funding is subject to availability, you may be placed on a waiting list.

Program Benefits

HUD’s Public Housing Program allows low-income families to pay 30 percent of their monthly income toward rent. The apartments in a HUD housing complex receive a Section 8 project-based subsidy. Any family that qualifies to live in a HUD-subsidized apartment will have its rent subsidized. The family is responsible for paying 30 percent of its income toward rent. HUD pays the remaining portion. Certain HUD housing units are restricted to seniors or people with disabilities. These buildings may provide additional services such as a meals program or transportation services.


To qualify for a HUD-subsidized housing unit, the family must meet income limit requirements. The family’s total household income is used to determine eligibility. In general, the family’s income cannot exceed 80 percent of the area's median income to qualify for a subsidized unit. Although families with 80 percent of the area's median income qualify for help, HUD requires that housing administrators target families with incomes that do not exceed 30 percent of the area's median income. Families that meet this requirement will be admitted into the programs before families with a higher income level. All household members must successfully pass a drug and criminal history screening. Also, only U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens are qualified for help.

Determining Rent

The family’s rent is determined after all the allowances have been deducted. HUD provides a $480 deduction for each household member who is under 18, disabled or a full-time student. HUD also provides a $400 deduction for families where the head of the household is over 62. Child care expenses and unreimbursed medical expenses may also be deducted from the income. Once these deductions are taken out of the income, 30 percent of what is left is the tenant’s monthly rent. If a household member's income changes, she must notify the housing administrator to have the monthly tenant rent adjusted.

Leasing Requirements

All HUD housing tenants must sign a HUD model lease that contains the rental subsidy arrangement. HUD housing tenants can be charged a refundable security deposit at the time of move-in. The housing administrator must do a move-in inspection with the tenant present within 30 days of occupancy. On an annual basis, tenants are required to re-certify their income to ensure they are paying the correct amount of rent. Once the tenant moves from the unit, he will no longer be able to have his rent subsidized unless he moves into another HUD building.

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