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How The Fair Housing Act Protects You As A Section 8 Renter

Applying for a low-income housing voucher and finding a Section 8 rental may seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before.

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That’s why it’s crucial to know how the Fair Housing Act protects you during the process.

When the rent becomes almost impossible to pay, and eviction seems near, it’s good to know that the government can help. Thanks to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, you can receive rental assistance if you meet the eligibility requirements for income and other factors.

Is applying for a housing voucher difficult? Not necessarily, as you can get help along the way via your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) that will guide you through the process.

Does this mean that the entire process will run smoothly? No, as you may run into some people, especially property owners or landlords, who fail to adhere to Section 8 guidelines. And if they do, you may be illegally denied housing, which could complicate your situation even more.

Luckily, the Fair Housing Act was put into place to help protect you as a Section 8 renter. By knowing the rules, you can understand what’s right and wrong when you start searching for Section 8 properties and contact your PHA if necessary.

With that being said, let’s look at how the Fair Housing Act protects you. This will mostly come into play when you’re on the housing voucher waiting list and start looking for property, or once you have your voucher in place.

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Rules for Section 8 Landlords Who Accept Housing Vouchers

1. Can a landlord lie about a home’s availability?

If they accept Section 8, they cannot. They may try to lie, however, by saying that a home is no longer available when it is.

Since a Section 8 landlord cannot, by law, refuse to rent a property to you, they cannot lie about its availability either.

On the same note, a landlord cannot hide a Section 8 property by only advertising it to specific groups of people. This is discriminatory and outlawed under the Fair Housing Act.

2. Can a landlord change a home’s terms, privileges, or conditions if a Section 8 renter shows interest?

No, they cannot. They also cannot offer different services or housing facilities just because someone with a housing voucher shows interest in the property.

3. Can you modify a Section 8 home, if needed?

As long as you pay for that modification and it’s deemed to be reasonable and necessary for you to use the home as intended, the landlord must let you modify it.

You may run into this issue if a disabled person will be living in the home. And since a Section 8 home must be accessible in terms of design and services, a modification may be seen as necessary to make the housing livable.

4. Can someone harass or intimidate you just because you’re using a housing voucher?

No, as this type of coercion is illegal when it comes to you, the tenant, or anyone else trying to help you during the Section 8 voucher process.

5. Can you take a housing voucher with you if you have to relocate?

Yes, you can. Before you move, however, it’s best to call your PHA to let them know all of the details of your situation.

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