Privately-owned subsidized apartments are a prized commodity. Finding available apartments, fortunately, is not difficult and there are several means for you to search for them. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees the Housing Choice Voucher Program, typically referred to as Section 8. The following steps will assist you in your search for a privately-owned, subsidized apartment.
Privately-Owned Subsidized Apartments v. Section 8
Aside from who technically owns the subsidy, there is no distinction between a subsidized apartment and the Section 8 voucher program. In either situation, the federal government is not your landlord. If the privately-owned subsidized housing is a multi-family building, the subsidy is granted to the property and owner and not the tenant. A Section 8 voucher is used by the tenant to pay for a residence in the private market that is owned by a private landlord. The voucher is assigned to and stays with the tenant and not the property
Finding an Apartment: The HUD Website
The HUD website offers a comprehensive search tool online for you to use in your search. Available twenty-four hours a day free of charge, the tool permits searchers to narrow their search by state, city and type of residence sought. It then generates a list of properties that charge low-income tenants lower rates. You should then contact these properties directly to see what availability, if any, they may have that will suit your needs.
Finding an Apartment: Your Local Public Housing Agency
You can also search for privately-owned subsidized apartments by checking with your local public housing agency. The HUD website allows you to determine which local agency has been designated to serve your county or city and provides the contact information for the individual ale to provide information on housing vouchers. This individual should be able to provide you a list of subsidized buildings in your city or county which you can then contact to inquire about availability. In some instances, the local agency may have a website you can search, similar to the HUD website.
Finding an Apartment: Ask Your Landlord
One of the largest benefits of Section 8 is that it permits tenants to choose their own residence outside of the buildings which already have a contract with the government. However, the landlord must agree, preferably in writing, to abide by the rules of Section 8. This means that you may be able to remain in your current apartment but only need to pay the reduced amount of rent.
Finding an Apartment: Inquire into Other Properties
Since Section 8 beneficiaries are not required to choose from a specific pool of residences, you can search for a new apartment anywhere you like and still receive Section 8 benefits. It is therefore smart to call local apartment complexes and ask whether the landlord would be willing to participate in the program. If they are, you should then go check out the apartment and complex to determine if you would like to live there. Making calls beforehand will reduce the amount of legwork it will take to find a new apartment.
Because Section 8 benefits can be used in the private market, there is really no limit to where a beneficiary of the program can live. The landlord’s willingness to participate in the program is the only requirement, and this can be determined by a simple phone call.