Connect with us


How to Calculate Rent for a Section 8 Voucher

Section 8 rent is not calculated like any other rental lease agreements, which are usually worked out on the apartment’s fair market value, they are rather calculated based on ability-to-pay basis after analyzing a participating household’s income, assets, and everyday expenditure. After the successful review of documents received from a family or individual, rent is fixed on case-by-case s situation has been reviewed completely, rent is then determined on an individual case basis.

Standard procedure

Section 8 will compute how much they will pay individual vouchers based on some standard formulas but there is no fixed limit for assistance. Every family gets a different amount through vouchers even in the same locality or a building. The maximum assistance will vary based on principles such as the town on one’s living and the amount of their income. The Section 8 voucher may be of more or less amount than the amount the property owner could receive on the open market. Here are the four main criteria Section 8 will consider.

  • Fair Market Rent
  • Payment Standard
  • Tenant Portion
  • Allowance for Utilities

Before we discuss the procedure there are certain eligibility requirements for the assistance aspirants. To qualify for Section 8 housing assistance, a hopeful must present a comprehensive income report including salaries, assets, investments, other governmental assistance, pensions, cash (bank balance/ savings), and life insurance policies, size of the household with and key expenses and recent changes, if any. This provides the housing agency with an overall picture of a family’s economic condition which is used to decide both eligibilities for financial support and the rental amount that family can be entitled to. The scheme is that it helps to determine what a person or family can reasonably afford.

It is imperative to know that there are certain assets that don’t have an effect when the family income is calculated these include: personal property, interests in Indian trust land, term life insurance policies, equity in a cooperative unit, income earned by minors (under 17), resident service remuneration, Armed Forces pay (in some cases), adoption assistance, random gifts, tax refunds, etc. Besides, there are certain other exceptions for the disabled and elderly like the financial assistance they are receiving from the government.

Voucher calculation Formulas


In the majority of the cases, the calculated rent is the highest of the following amounts:

  • 30 percent of the applicant’s income after adjustments (means a family’s income after obligatory governmental subtractions are made, i.e. dependents, elderly or disabled family members, childcare expenses, medical expenses, and disability assistance);
  • 10 percent of the tenant’s total income;
  • the portion of welfare income particularly chosen for rent/housing;
  • Or simply a $25 minimum.


During the initial phase of gathering potential tenant’s information, most of the paperwork becomes the responsibility of the manager. It is their liability to exactly obtain all of the tenant’s required financial information and identify the changes occurred recently.

Typically this entails readjustment of rent amount if a tenant’s income increases or decreases by at least $200 a month. The adjustments are open to being reevaluated every three months in case a tenant reports financial difficulty caused by paying his share of the rent amount. The owner or manager also has to update the tenant of the program about any changes during this evaluation process. Nevertheless, the prospective tenant is advised to remain transparent in reporting any information or replying to questions asked, during the entire process to remain eligible.

Calculating the Tenant’s Share

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a range of aid to low-income Americans who may be struggling to make enough for their accommodation costs. Section 8 program award eligible applicants the chance to have a decent dwelling at a subsidized cost. This enables them to save some extra money to afford foodstuff and health-care expenses at the same time keeping a roof over their heads.


Their share of the rent is determined after verifying their existing income level, combined with the payment average of their present locality and the price of the particular housing unit. A general condition for eligibility is that the income of an individual or family must be less than 50 percent of the mean income level for the area they are currently residing in. Suppose the average annual income level in San Francisco is $118,400, an individual would be considered entitled to Section 8 housing assistance if he made less than $59,200 per year.

One more important parameter to assess is the expense standard of a particular city or locality is the choice of the apartment made by the eligible tenant. If the chosen apartment has a lower monthly rental price compared to a same-sized unit, the tenant will have to pay 30 percent of their monthly income toward the rent. If the unit they have selected has a higher monthly rent, 40 percent of their monthly income will be paid toward rent. In any case, the difference between the actual rent of the unit and the amount contributed by the Section 8 recipient will be paid by HUD.

The following example will help understand the calculation formula for a section 8 voucher:

  • An eligible individual (with an income of around $32,000) desired a two-bedroom unit in San Francisco. The present standard rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the city is $3,121. The apartment the tenant has found costs $3,000 monthly.


  • As the monthly rent price of the unit is less than the standard rent, 30 percent of the individual’s income will be this/ her share in the rent which means that $800 monthly. The rest of $2,200 will be paid through the voucher.
  • But if the price of the said apartment is over $3,121, then the tenant would be required to pay 40 percent of their monthly income, or $1,066.67, toward their rent monthly.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply