Section 8 is the name for many of HUD’s Rental Assistance programs. The term “Section 8” is used because the federal law, which created the program, is Section 8 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
There is currently a waiting list for rental assistance. To apply for the Sonoma County Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Waiting List click here: Application
Applicants will be required to enter all information requested in regard to their living situation, household composition, income, and any preferences for which they qualify.
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program assists low-income individuals and families with their rental payments. Under the Section 8 Program, property owners retain the same rights and responsibilities that they have under California State law. They use their own rental agreement or lease and decide what the term of tenancy will be. The tenant has the same obligations as any tenant under State law. SCHA’s subsidy does not change the normal relationship of property owners or managers to tenants. The main difference is that each month the property owner will receive two payments for the tenant’s rent – one from the tenant, which is about 30% of his or her income, and the balance from the SCHA.
Participant families include seniors, persons with disabilities, families with young children, and working families who do not earn enough to keep pace with rising rental housing costs.
In the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, participants have a limited time to find suitable housing offered by a private owner using a Voucher issued by the Housing Authority (HA). Any housing selected must meet local codes and federal standards called Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
Housing Choice Vouchers give family flexibility to pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities if they desire. However, families who are new admissions or move to a new unit cannot pay more than 40 percent of their income when they move in.
The subsidy is calculated by using the lower of the Voucher Payment Standard or the gross rent minus the total tenant payment.
All Voucher units must meet a rent reasonableness test, i.e., the rents cannot be higher than similar units in the area. This test is performed on each unit leased and when an owner requests a rent increase.
In the Section 8 Program, families pay their share of the rent directly to the property owner or manager.
- The applicant applies for Section 8 when the waiting list is open.
- The applicant’s name comes to the top of the waiting list.
- The Housing Authority (HA) determines if the applicant is eligible for the phase issued applicant is issued a Voucher and a Request For Tenancy Approval (RTA) form.
- The voucher holder has 90 days to locate suitable housing within the area.
- The voucher holder finds a unit on the private market to rent.
- The property owner/manager of the unit screens the applicant for suitability as tenant (The HA does not screen for tenant suitability.)
- The property owner/manager and the voucher holder complete the RTA form and return it to the HA.
- The HA inspects the unit according to Housing Quality Standards.
- The HA passes and approves the unit or notes needed repair items.
- The HA negotiates rent based on Rent Reasonableness.
- The HA enters into a contract with the property owner/manager of the unit.
- The owner and tenant sign the property owner/manager’s Rental Agreement or Lease.
- The HA receives a copy of rental agreement between the tenant and property owner/manager.
- The HA inspects the unit annually.
- The HA reviews tenant eligibility annually.
The tenant pays an amount that is between 30% and 40% of their monthly income as their portion of the rent. The Housing Authority pays the balance to the property owner in the form of a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). In some cases, the tenant may pay more than 30% of their income.