If you are interested in getting assistance with rent to buy houses through Section 8, the first step is making sure the option is available in your area. Contact your local PHA to confirm that it offers this option. If it is available, you can usually request an application in person, online, or by phone.
Once you have an application in hand, it’s time to fill it out. The bulk of the application process consists of providing information or documents verifying your eligibility. Start by providing basic information like your full name, contact details, and Social Security number.
To complete the application, simply follow the steps outlined below:
- Provide proof that you are employed and have held your position for one calendar year or longer. Examples of that proof may include – but are not limited to – pay stubs, tax documents, or an affidavit from your employer.
- Provide documentation to prove your income. You must prove you have earned at least the federal minimum wage multiplied by 2,000 in the previous calendar year. The federal minimum wage is subject to potential annual change. However, as of 2023, it has remained steady at $7.25 per hour for several years.
- Meet any established PHA regulations. For example, your PHA may require you to already participate in certain assistance programs before qualifying for Section 8. Furthermore, you may need to prove your existing enrollment in a required program or programs for a set minimum length of time, such as one year.
- Prove you have completed mandatory counseling for new homeowners. You may also need to attend a scheduled presentation for homeowners on a date the PHA establishes.
After meeting the basic requirements, there are additional steps to take before you can rent to own under Section 8. For example, you must make an agreement with a government-approved mortgage lender. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), HUD, or the FHA must back the loan through that approved lender. The terms offered by the lender are also subject to approval.
You must also understand the difference between government assistance and government coverage for your rent to buy agreement. The government may be able to help you, but you must demonstrate a certain amount of financial responsibility. Specifically, you are required to pay 1% of the purchase price yourself from your own funds.
You must also pay an additional 2%, but it can come from someone (or something) else, such as:
- A family member
- A friend
- A grant or award
- A donation
- A gift
When you are ready to finalize your Section 8 application, you must read and sign the Statement of Homeowner Obligation. It outlines all steps you must follow to keep your financial assistance intact.
So, how long can you remain enrolled in the Housing Choice Homeownership Voucher Program? Find out in the next slide.