Can You Get A 3 Bedroom With A 2-Bedroom Section 8 Voucher? – The Section 8 housing choice voucher program is a federally funded initiative financed by HUD U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by public housing authorities throughout America. The program provides rental subsidies to private landlords on behalf of eligible individuals. The program covers senior citizens, low or extremely low-income families, individuals and persons with disabilities.
If an eligible person with the Section 8 housing choice voucher can find the apartment or housing unit within the right rent then they can go for it, irrespective of how many extra bedrooms it comprises. For instance, an individual can have a two-bedroom voucher and rent a three-bedroom apartment as long as the apartment fits the program guidelines and is within the right price. This guide will throw light on how you can get a three-bedroom with a two-bedroom Section 8 voucher as well as other important information related to it.
Also read: What is Maximum Section 8 income?
Highlights of this Post
What is 3 Bedrooms With a 2-Bedroom Section 8 voucher?
You already know that people who are having the 2-bedroom section 8 voucher might need more space. The requirement of more space comes in when there is a medical problem, disability case or age of the children increases and other related issues.
You might have been assured by the housing authority to choose a place where the rent is relatively cheap. It is seen that the people with low income are unable to pay rent for an additional room. However, in recent times a requirement of an additional room is very urgent because of various reasons. The housing authority is also working and has some specific guidelines in ensuring extra bedrooms.
However, the rent amount differentiates from 2 bedroom and 3 bedrooms as ensured by the housing authority. In such cases the housing authority can also apply the 2-bedroom voucher payment standard.
But the voucher can also be used to make the tenant pay the same amount of money for the 3 bedrooms instead of the 2 bedrooms. But in such cases, the location varies as the tenant will be provided housing in such areas where rent is not very high.
Can I Get A Three Bedroom With A Two-bedroom Section 8 Voucher?
In some cases, it is possible to get a three-bedroom with a two-bedroom Section 8 coverage, probably if you are successful in finding the housing you need in the right rental range. Individuals with two-bedroom vouchers can comfortably rent 3 three-bedroom apartments as long as the pricing falls within the program guidelines.
However with the advantages, there may be some pitfalls that you need to be careful about. For instance, the landlord of the housing unit reserves the right to increase the rent and in such cases, you need to pay the additional amount from your own pocket.
Section 8 rental amounts are sometimes difficult to understand and may lead to confusion.
You need to double-check the amount of rental assistance your voucher will cover. If utilities are not included in your rental voucher then you need to deduct the utility cost before figuring out how much the voucher will cover.
A lot of times housing authorities do not explain the process to people and they end up wasting their money and time by looking for properties in the wrong price range. If your public housing authorities have allowed you extra bedrooms then ensure to request a copy of the occupancy policy or bedroom policy from your property manager or landlord.
What Are The Eligibility Criteria To Receive Section 8 Vouchers?
To get a three-bedroom with a 2 bedroom Section 8 voucher program individuals need to first meet the eligibility criteria which includes the income level, family status on eviction history and citizenship.
Family Status Criteria
To be eligible for the voucher program individuals need to meet the definition of family as per the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD has set certain rules as to what defines a family but has given some flexibility to each Public Housing Authority about their exact definition of a household or family.
You can contact your local Public Housing Authority in the area where you are living to determine the exact criteria you need to fulfill. Typically family status means a person or a group of people who have to meet the following conditions.
- Be with or without children
- Have at least one individual more than 62 years of age
- Have been displaced from their home due to a federally recognized disaster common natural disaster or a government action
- A tenant who remains in a housing unit after all the members of the family have left the unit and was receiving Section 8 benefits
- A single person who does not meet any one of the above criteria.
The eligibility criteria of the Section 8 housing choice voucher program is to fulfill the income guidelines set by the public housing authorities. The program has been designed to assist low-income individuals so that they can afford safe and decent housing.
To qualify for a voucher your yearly income should be below a stipulated amount. The agency declared income guidelines of the program annually into three categories: low income, very low income and extremely low income category.
The exact income limits may differ depending on your area of location and the area’s median income level. The income limits also differ based on the family composition.
A family of eight members can get around $30,000 in assistance annually if they belong to an extremely low-income level while a single-person household belonging to an extremely low-income category can receive assistance up to $15,000 annually.
Section 8 rental vouchers are granted to citizens of America or those who have legal immigrant status. To qualify for a three-bedroom with a two-bedroom Section 8 voucher you first need to give proof of citizenship to the public housing authorities of the area where you’re deciding.
The housing authorities assist American citizens and make them sign a declaration stating that they belong to a household comprising American citizens. The housing authority will verify the citizen status of every individual in the family and will ask for a social security card, US passport or other relevant documents.
For individuals with legal immigrant status, public housing authorities will make them sign a declaration stating that they have an eligible immigration status and will verify their INS documents that will prove their legal immigration status.
Eviction History and Criminal Background Check
Section 8 rental vouchers are not granted to individuals or families who have been previously evicted from a property for drug-related or criminal activities over the past three years or have been convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in assisted housing projects.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development gives priority or preference for Section 8 vouchers to individuals who fall into the extremely low-income category. Special preferences are those who are displaced, veterans, homeless individuals, low-income families with children, elderly citizens and disabled individuals.
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Bedrooms That Are Entitled Under The Section 8 Vouchers
You should note that there are specific guidelines that are followed under the section 8 vouchers for ensuring bedrooms. The number of bedrooms is totally dependent on the number of members. One bedroom is provided for a maximum of two family members.
If the family has any children they might not get qualified for a separate bedroom. The allocation of the bedrooms is totally dependent on the number of family members and it can vary according to the policy guidelines.
For instance, a bedroom is fixed for two same sex children but if they are of opposite sex then a separate bedroom might get approved after a certain age under the section 8 voucher program. We have found some useful information that will help you in understanding the allocation system.
- 1 bedroom for 1 adult
- 2 bedroom for 2 adults
- 2 bedrooms for 2 adult and a child
- 2 bedrooms for 2 adults and 2 same sex children
- 3 bedrooms for 2 adults, 2 opposite sex children crossing the age limit.
- 3 bedrooms for 2 adults, 2 opposite sex children under the age limit, 1 child over the age limit.
- 4 bedrooms for 3 adults and 4 same-sex children.
How Section 8 Program Determines The Voucher Amount For Eligible Candidates?
The Section 8 housing assistance program determines the amount of assistance individuals can receive from vouchers based on several factors. The amount of assistance that the voucher covers is based on the location of the candidates and their income level.
The voucher may be more or less than the rental amount that the landlord receives for the rent payment in the open market. The following are the main criteria that the program considers to determine the voucher amount.
Calculation Of Fair Market Rent
The first and foremost step to determining the amount of voucher assistance is to calculate the fair market rate for your area of residence. The HUD calculates the fair market rate for more than 2500 areas throughout the US every year.
While calculating this figure it considers units that have been rented in the particular area for the previous 15 months. HUD excludes assisted living units, units that are less than two years old, and units that have been rented at below-market rent.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development uses two bedrooms as a standard to calculate the fair market rate and determines the rent for all the other bedroom sizes based on the fair market rent for two bedrooms.
The fair market rents are generally set in the percentile so that low-income tenants can afford their part of the rent and landlords can participate in the Section 8 program and get a decent rent for their units.
Every public housing authority in different states will use the fair market rent which the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has set as a guideline.
The local public housing authorities will then determine the payment standard or the maximum amount they can give out to qualified candidates for each number of bedrooms. The payment standard is usually between 90% and 110% of the fair market rate.
The amount of rent paid by Section 8 to the landlord is influenced by main factors: the fair market rent for the metropolitan area where the housing unit is located, the payment standard determined by the Housing Authority and the total number of bedrooms in the unit.
Eligible tenants on receiving the Section 8 vouchers have to contribute a part of their income towards rent payments. The amount that they have pay will be greater of the following options.
- 30% of their monthly adjusted income
- The welfare rent or the minimum rent set by the Public Housing Authority
- 10% of their monthly gross income
The tenant portion is paid to the landlord directly by the qualified tenant. In case the rent of the housing unit exceeds the payment standards set by the Public Housing Authority for the particular unit then the additional amount is paid by the tenant.
Tenants are allowed to pay the additional amount as long as they’re approved by the local public housing authorities and do not pay more than 40% of their monthly adjusted income towards rent
Allowance For The Utilities
If the cost of utilities is included in the monthly rental costs public housing authorities will include a specific amount for utilities for issuing the voucher to eligible candidates.
Even though the rental amount for the housing unit does not include utilities, public housing authorities will issue the tenant the financial support for utility allowance or will provide utility reimbursement to the tenant or to the utility company on behalf of the qualified individuals.
When To Apply For A 3 Bedroom Apartment Using 2 Bedroom Section 8 Voucher?
You should understand the right time to apply for a 3 bedroom apartment using a 2 bedroom section 8 voucher. We have listed some considerations and guidelines that can help you when you are processing your request for another bedroom.
As you already know that there might be a disabled person in your family and those cases are quite common. If you are having a disabled member in your family who needs 24/7 service and medical aids, it is important for you to get an additional bedroom.
The person’s medical or health condition can be serious and therefore other members cannot access the bedroom frequently. In such cases you can apply for a 3 bedroom apartment using a 2 bedroom section 8 voucher.
Age of the children
You should also understand there are certain house rules and guidelines for growing childrens. When the children become adults they require a seperate and personal bedroom. In such cases the age of the children is considered vital.
However, if you are having two adults and one infant then you can easily get 1 bedroom but you won’t get another bedroom unless the infant becomes a teenager. In such times you can easily get a separate bedroom that might be allowed under the section 8 housing choice voucher program.
Very Small Bedroom
It is important that your apartment should be spacious so that the family members can live comfortably. A too small apartment can be overcrowded and the family members might suffocate in such conditions.
This condition is not at all healthy for the family. In some apartments it can be identified that the second bedroom is too small for two adults and two childrens. In such cases it is important for you to get a separated bedroom using the 2 bedroom section 8 voucher. However, it is important for you to go through the application process.
Change in family composition
You should note that whenever you are applying for the section 8 choice voucher program you need to have a specific number of family members. In reality the situation can change when any of the members has any disability.
The disabled person needs a separate bedroom where he or she can rest comfortably. You also need an additional bedroom in addition to more family members that will increase the family composition.
Every family member has the right to live with their own family and in such cases a separate bedroom is required. You can also apply for the section 8 voucher program so that you can live with your parents and spend quality life.
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In some cases housing authorities do not allow people to rent a place with additional bedrooms even if it falls within the payment standard; however it is not a common policy and exists in a few areas only. You can contact your Housing Authority to get a written copy of the bedroom policy or check their policies and administrative plans. If you are a new member in the household who is disabled and the rental property with an additional bedroom best suits your disability needs you can request accommodation from your Public Housing Authority.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you mean by the housing choice program?
The housing choice voucher program is also referred to as section 8. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development runs the program and provides assistance to many states and counties in the United States. The program provides assistance to the low income families by covering most part of the rent amount.
How many bedrooms can I get under the Section 8 program?
I hope you already understood that the number of bedrooms is totally dependent on the composition of the family members. If there are two members in your family then you will be provided with a single bedroom. The number of bedrooms also depends on the gender and number of the children that are in the family.
Is it possible to apply for the Section 8 voucher?
Yes it is possible to apply for the section 8 voucher0. You should also know the rules and guidelines of the section 8 choice voucher program comprehensively. Some of the most important factors that are considered for the application of section 8 choice voucher program are family composition, family size, income of the family, location and many more.
For how many days the Section 8 vouchers are valid?
The Section 8 vouchers are generally valid for 60 days. So, within 60 days you need to find a permanent shelter for your family