The Section 8 program serves residents in Aiken, Allendale,
Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Hampton, Jasper, and Orangeburg
counties in South Carolina. The program is designed to provide assistance
for low-income families in the private rental market through the Housing
Choice Voucher Program. Rental Voucher Holders select a unit from the
private rental market and normally pay no more than 30% of monthly-adjusted
income towards rent and utilities. A Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)
Contract subsidizes the balance of the rent to the property owner.
The Steps to Section 8 Assistance
1. PHA determines family's eligibility
2. PHA issues Housing Choice Voucher
3. Family locates eligible housing unit
4. Owner approves family
5. PHA approves tenancy and unit
6. Contract and lease signed
7. Housing Assistance Payments made
Step 1. Eligibility for a Housing Choice Voucher
is based on total annual gross income and family size and is limited
to United States citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who
have eligible immigration status. In general, a family's income may
not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area
in which the family chooses to live. The Income Limits for families served by South Carolina Regional Housing Authority
#3 are maintained by HUD and vary by location.
Information on the family's income, assets, and family composition are
collected during the application process. Certain dependent, elderly,
medical, disability assistance, or childcare expenses may be deducted
from income in accordance with HUD regulations. The Housing Authority
will verify this information and use it to determine program eligibility
and the amount of the rental assistance payment.
If the Housing Authority (HA) determines that your family is eligible,
the HA would normally put your name on a waiting list; however, the
waiting list for Section 8 is closed until further notice.
Step 2. Once a family is determined to be eligible
for assistance and funding is available, the HA issues a Housing Choice
Voucher. The voucher indicates the number of bedrooms for which the
family is eligible and is effective for 60 days from the date of issue.
The family will also receive a briefing packet that explains how the
program works as well as general guidance on how to find a suitable
place to live.
Step 3. Once a family has been issued a Housing
Choice Voucher, they search the private rental market in the community
for a housing unit that is decent, safe, and sanitary according to Housing
Quality Standards (HQS) as established by HUD. The rent must be reasonable
for the size, type, and condition of the unit and the owner must be
willing to enter into a contract with the HA and comply with program
rules. General guidance on how to search for a suitable unit will be
provided in the briefing packet.
Step 4. Once the family finds a suitable housing
unit to rent, the owner must complete a Request for Tenancy Approval
(RTA) form and the HUD Tenancy Addendum. A lease agreement between tenant
and owner must also be completed.
Step 5. After receipt and review of the RTA,
the HA will schedule an inspection of the unit to insure it meets certain
HQS criteria. Primarily, the unit must be decent, safe, and sanitary.
If the unit passes inspection, the HA will begin the necessary paperwork
to provide assistance.
Step 6. The HA and owner will sign a Housing
Assistance Payments Contract and the tenant and the owner will sign
a lease agreement.
Step 7. The HA makes monthly Housing Assistance
Payments (HAP) to the owner as long as the family continues to meet
eligibility criteria and the unit qualifies under the program. The tenant
is responsible for the monthly payment of the difference between the
total rent and the HAP.
Everyone-HUD, the HA, tenant, and landlord-has roles and responsibilities
in connection with the Section 8 program.
HUD's Role: To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides the
funds that allow the HA to make housing assistance payments on behalf
of the families. HUD also pays the HA a fee for the costs of administering
the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families,
HUD invites all HA's to submit applications for funds for additional
rental vouchers. Applications are then reviewed and funds awarded to
selected HA's on a competitive basis. HUD is also responsible for issuing
rules and regulations related to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
Program as well as providing technical and professional assistance to
HA's Role: The HA administers the voucher program locally by
accepting and reviewing applications for eligibility and maintaining
a waiting list. Once a family's name is reached on the waiting list
and determined to be eligible for assistance, the HA issues a Housing
Choice Voucher that enables the family to seek out suitable housing
and the HA enters into contract with the landlord to provide rental
assistance payments on behalf of the family. The HA will inspect the
landlord's unit for Housing Quality Standards (HQS) annually. If the
landlord fails to meet his/her obligations under the lease, including
HQS requirements, the HA has the right to terminate assistance payments.
Tenants Role: When a family selects a housing unit, and the HA
approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord
for at lease one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security
deposit to the landlord. After the first year, the landlord may initiate
a new lease or allow the family to remain in the unit on a month-to-month
lease. When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected
to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share
of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the
HA of any changes in income or family composition.
Landlord's Role: The role of the landlord in the voucher program
is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable
rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing standards and
be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing
assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide
the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and
the contract signed with the HA. Furthermore, it is the landlord's responsibility
to screen a potential tenant for suitability as a renter.