Overview

The Section 8 voucher program, now called Housing Choice Vouchers, provide a government subsidy to bridge the gap between a low-income tenant's income and the cost of providing housing, enabling recipients to choose where they want to live. The property operator enters into a contract with the tenant and third party, usually the local housing authority, which pays the portion of the rent above the amount to which the tenant is directly obligated to the landlord, as a rental subsidy, subject to maximum fair market rents for the community. In many communities, vouchers go unused, because the voucher-holder cannot find a unit that will accept the voucher. This can happen for a variety of reasons – the value of the voucher is not enough to cover the market rent, there are few available units, or because the housing provider is not willing to accept a voucher. There are legitimate reasons for a landlord to refuse a voucher – based on the significant burdens required for voucher acceptance. Numerous studies have shown that providing incentives and reducing burdens can greatly help with voucher usage

Political Advocacy

Current Legislation/Regulation

None at this time.


In-Depth

Letters to Congress
Issue summary
NAR Federal Issues Tracker


Legislative Contact(s):

Megan Booth,
mbooth@nar.realtor
202-383-1222

Sydney Barron
sbarron@nar.realtor
202-383-1089

Regulatory Contact(s):

Sehar Siddiqi,
ssiddiqi@nar.realtor
202-383-1176

What is the fundamental issue?

The Section 8 voucher program provides a government subsidy to bridge the gap between a low-income tenant's income and the cost of providing housing, enabling recipients to choose where they want to live. The property operator enters into a contract with the tenant and third party, usually the local housing authority, which pays the portion of the rent above the amount to which the tenant is directly obligated to the landlord, as a rental subsidy, subject to maximum fair market rents for the community.

I am a real estate professional. What does this mean for my business?

NAR and IREM members own and manage properties that accept Section 8 vouchers. Streamlining the process will make it easier to provide affordable housing options for these residents.

NAR Policy

NAR supports proposals to streamline the Section 8 voucher program, and provide greater flexibility to local housing authorities. NAR opposes block granting the Section 8 voucher program to the states. In addition, REALTORS® want to be sure that funding levels are sufficient to current and handle future housing needs. Lastly, NAR opposes proposals to mandate housing voucher acceptance for landlords.

Legislative/Regulatory Status/Outlook

NAR has championed laws to ease burdens on landlords participating in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. These include streamlining of inspections, rent determinations, and to make the program as similar to conventional leases as possible.

HUD is still in the process of implementing some these changes, and NAR is working with the agency. We also encourage REALTORS® to work with housing authorities to ensure that their programs are effective in reducing burdens on property owners, and increasing voucher usage rates. NAR's Federal Financing and Housing Policy Committee is convened a workgroup to develop a list of best practices for housing authorities, to encourage landlord participation in the the voucher program. The workgroup will present its recommendations at the Annual meeting in November of 2020.

NAR Committee

Federal Financing and Housing Policy Committee

Advertisement