Basic Section 8 Eligibility in California


If you are wondering, “Do I qualify for Section 8 housing?” you must first look at the primary requirements. Basic Section 8 eligibility is concerned with the age and legal status of the applicant. Qualifications for low income housing include being at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen or legal permanent alien. Both single persons and family households may apply. Having children is not required to be considered a family.

To learn more about qualifying for Section 8 housing, download our comprehensive guide.

What are the requirements for Section 8 in California?

Besides basic Section 8 eligibility requirements, there are additional conditions you must meet. Requirements for Section 8 enrollment also include household income, which must be much less than the area’s median income. When asking, “Do I qualify for Section 8 housing?” you will need to consider the Section 8 income limits, The financial qualifications for low income housing is relative to the area, as the cost to live metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco is much higher than Chico and Redding. Officials will consider the household’s income, not just the applicant’s. Correspondingly, the income threshold will increase for each member of the household, including children. You can find out about your city’s or county’s income limit online or at your local housing counseling office. If you have an extremely low income, you may be eligible for Section 8.

What are the other qualifications for low income housing? Your Section 8 eligibility will also depend on any specific preferences that waiting lists may have. If you qualify as a preferential candidate, the housing authority may put you ahead of others on the waiting list. For example, some waiting lists may prefer people with disabilities, the elderly or local residents. You can find out more information about preferences from your local PHA office. On rare occasions, waiting lists may only be open to local residents or homeless people. In order for a PHA to impose these kinds of restrictions, HUD must first approve the information. Typically, most Section 8 waiting list openings are available for the general public.

To meet the Section 8 eligibility requirements fully, you may be subject to a background check. Though you are not required to have good credit to be Section 8 eligible, credit history may be a factor, as you may have to submit a credit report to the landlord of the unit you would like to rent. Your Section 8 eligibility may be compromised if you have a criminal record. Though having a criminal record does not mean you will not qualify for Section 8 housing, it may make it more difficult. If you have an arrest record, but no conviction, then you will have a greater chance of meeting Section 8 eligibility requirements than someone who has been convicted of an offense. If you have a felony on your criminal record, you will have even greater difficulty qualifying, particularly if your conviction was related to violence or drugs. Applicants who have a history of drug use, alcohol abuse violence or any illegal activity that would threaten the safety of other residents, will fail to qualify. Registered sex offenders are also ineligible. Generally each housing facility has slightly different rules of operation, so some may allow residents with a criminal record (depending on the severity of the crime and the length of time since the offense occurred), while others may not.

If any member of your household has been evicted from HUD accommodation within the past five years, owes money to a housing association anywhere in the United States or has had assistance terminated by a housing authority, the household will be denied.

When you apply for Section 8 in California, make sure that you provide all the information that is requested. Be honest with the information you enter on your application form. Writing false information on the application can disqualify you immediately and get you into legal trouble.

What do I need to apply for Section 8 in California?

The PHA determines Section 8 eligibility through the affordable housing application process. To qualify for Section 8 housing and establish eligibility, you must have your past housing information, which must include the address where you were living, the name and address of the landlord and his or her contact information. To prove financial eligibility for Section 8, you will need to furnish income documents and court-ordered payments. You will need to provide any documentation that confirms your eligibility for rental subsidies.

If You Are Eligible for Section 8 in California

If you meet the Section 8 eligibility requirements and are approved for housing assistance, you will be able to choose a rental property in California. The home must also meet the requirements for Section 8 according to the PHA’s housing quality standards. When you apply for Section 8 housing, you will be able to negotiate a lease directly with the landlord. You will be responsible for paying a percentage of your income towards our rent and the PHA will pay the rest for you, directly to the landlord.

To learn more about Section 8 eligibility, download our comprehensive guide.

What Housing Help Can I Get Through HUD?

California residents can receive various types of housing assistance, from federal housing aid to home loans and more. Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development offers CA residents counseling services, which cover how to avoid foreclosure, how to buy a home and how to rent a living space, to name only a few topics. Find out everything you need to know about housing assistance programs in California by downloading our comprehensive HUD guide.

Who Is Eligible to Receive Housing Help in California?

In order to receive housing help from the state of California, you typically need to meet the income requirements of the specific assistance program you are applying for. These necessary qualifications often refer to the income of the household, based on the number of members. Find out if you and your household are eligible for housing assistance here.