Section 8 Voucher Reform

Overview

For the last several years Congress has considered legislation to streamline the Section 8 housing voucher program. However, none of these bills have become law.  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.

Political Advocacy

Current Legislation/Regulation

None at this time.


In-Depth

Find NAR's letters, testimonies, bill updates, and more on the NAR Federal Issues Tracker


Legislative Contact(s):

Megan Booth,
mbooth@realtors.org
202-383-1222

Joe Harris,
jharris@realtors.org
202-383-1226

Regulatory Contact(s):

Sehar Siddiqi,
ssiddiqi@realtors.org
202-383-1176

What is the fundamental issue?

For the last several years Congress has considered legislation to streamline the Section 8 housing voucher program. However, none of these bills have become law.  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.

Legislative/Regulatory Status/Outlook

NAR championed HR 3700, which contained a number of provisions to streamline the Section 8 voucher program including:

  • Streamlining the property inspection process for vouchers
    • Allows immediate occupancy if alternate inspection within 24 months
    • Tenant may occupy after PHA inspection if no life-threatening conditions exist, as long as deficiencies corrected within 30 days
  • Streamlines rent determination policies
    • raise the standard deduction for elderly and disabled & index to inflation
    • requires interim reviews only when a family’s income drops by 10 percent or more
    • allows income determinations based under SNAP and other federal means-tested programs, without separate verifications
  • Allow for eviction of over-income families
  • Expands use of project-based vouchers in areas where vouchers are difficult to use due to market conditions

HUD is still in the process of implementing these changes, and NAR is working with the agency.

NAR Committee:

Federal Financing and Housing Policy Committee

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