Most would agree that it's important for less fortunate people to have the opportunity to live in safe and suitable housing - and that it be made available at a reasonable cost. The U.S. Government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD for short, has programs which offer subsidized rent to low income tenants. HUD housing helps people in need such as underprivileged families, the elderly and the disabled.
As a landlord or a tenant, it’s important to understand what the HUD housing requirements and what they mean to you.
Let’s explore these requirements to help you decide whether or not you qualify for a HUD housing program.
HUD Housing Requirements for Tenants
The main qualification for being able to receive government assistance on subsidized housing is that the household income is less than 50% of the median income for the area in which the family or individual resides. The median income limit varies depending on the size of the family as well. Also, income limits for some areas can be adjusted to a higher amount if the rental costs are high compared to median income. Conversely, income limits for areas that have an unusually high median income can be adjusted to a lower amount.
For example, in Los Angeles County, the current median annual income is $64,800 for a 4 person family. Although 50% of the median income is $32,400, it is considered a High Housing Cost area. Since the rental costs for Los Angeles are high, the median income limit for a 4 person family is adjusted to $42,150. Therefore, a 4 person family having a median income of less than $42,150 will qualify for low income housing in Los Angeles.
There are some additional HUD housing requirements for families that are looking to qualify as an extremely low income household. These families make a household income which amounts to 30% or less of the median income of their area. In Los Angeles County, a 4 person family making less than $24,850 per year is considered an extremely low income household.
Even households that bring in a yearly income which is 80% of the median income for their area can be considered for low income housing. If you think you may qualify for government assistance, you should start by contacting your local housing authority.
All U.S. Citizens who meet the income requirements are eligible for low income housing. If you came here from another country, you must be able to prove your immigration status in the United States. As an immigrant, you must be either a permanent resident or a U.S. Citizen to qualify for government subsidized housing programs.
Requirements for Different Subsidized Housing Programs
There are a few different types of subsidized housing programs which are offered by the U.S Government and the specific HUD housing requirements for each may vary. Check with your local housing authority to find out about the options and requirements for the different programs that are available.
Here are the most common types of HUD Housing:
· Public housing is government-owned and is maintained by local housing authorities. This means that the housing authority is your landlord.
· Privately owned subsidized housing receives government assistance for paying rents of the tenants and maintaining the property.
· Section 8 Housing tenants receive a payment voucher which will assist them with renting any privately owned property that they choose, upon the housing authority’s approval.
HUD Housing Requirements for Landlords
If you are a landlord, you may want to consider offering HUD housing through a Section 8 program. This means that you can offer your property for rent to a tenant who has a government voucher for partial or full payment of the rental costs. The benefit is that you will be getting paid by the government so you won’t have to worry about not receiving your monthly rent payment from the tenant.
There are 3 HUD housing requirements for landlords that must be followed in order to allow Section 8 tenants to rent your property.
1. Fair Rental Cost – If there are comparable homes in your area that are renting for $1,200 a month, you can’t decide that $2,000 a month is a fair price. The HUD will check rental costs for homes in the area which aren’t part of the Section 8 program in order to determine if the rental amount is reasonable.
2. Living Conditions – The HUD will perform an inspection of the home to make sure that it’s a safe and sanitary place for the tenant to live. As a landlord, it’s important to make sure that the home’s structure is sound and air quality is sufficient. Electrical and plumbing systems should function properly.
3. Signing a Lease – Just like any other rental property, a lease must be signed by the landlord and the tenant. For Section 8 leases, there will also be a tenancy addendum included in the contract. This will clarify all the rights and responsibilities for both parties.
It’s always great to have a helping hand, especially in today’s economy. If you think you meet the HUD housing requirements, you may want to start by checking average rental costs in your area here: http://www.houses.com/MarketData/. After that, contact your local housing authority to help get the process started.