Section 8 housing is privately owned housing where the owner accepts low income tenants and agrees that rent will be paid by both the tenant and the government. The tenant pays rent based on their income, and the government pays the owner the rest of the rent. This is different from public housing.
There are two types of Section 8 housing:
- Housing Choice Vouchers: Tenants find a unit in the private market where the owner is willing to be in the Section 8 program. Tenants are then allowed to move to another place with their voucher at the end of the lease, if they choose.
- Project-Based Assistance: Tenants live in units where the owners of the project-based Section 8 housing have an agreement with the housing authority. Tenants lose their assistance if they choose to move to another place at the end of a lease.
An eviction from Section 8 housing is serious because it will usually stop you from getting Section 8 assistance in the future.
If you have a Housing Choice Voucher, your landlord may evict you for not paying rent, or breaking a rule in the lease.
If you live in Project-Based housing, your landlord must have "good cause" to evict you. This includes:
- Not paying rent
- Serious or repeated breaking of the rules in the lease
- Drug-related criminal activity on or near the property by anyone (even if they're not the tenant)
- Any criminal activity which threatens the health or safety of others, or which continually disturbs others
- A history of disturbance of neighbors or damage to the property
- Having people not listed on the lease live in the unit
- Providing false information to the Housing Authority
- Running away to avoid criminal charges
- Violating probation or parole
- "Other good cause": These are reasons that may not be in the lease. Your landlord has to warn you that something you are doing is "other good cause" for eviction before trying to evict you. If the unit is in Chicago, this warning must give you an opportunity to fix the problem.
A landlord may not evict any Section 8 tenant for complaining about the conditions in the unit, or because of race, ethnicity, national origin, age, family status, disability, or military status. If a landlord evicts a tenant for any of these reasons, it may be housing discrimination.
If you have a disability, and the reason for the eviction is caused by your disability, you might be able to ask for a reasonable accommodation to avoid the eviction.
Chicago tenants: lf you currently pay $75 or less to the property owner each month and are unable to pay it, you can request a hardship exemption if any of the following are true: 1) You lost your federal, state or local assistance, or you are waiting for a decision about receiving federal, state or local assistance 2) You would be evicted because you cannot pay the minimum rent 3) You have lost some of your income because of changed family circumstances, including the loss of a job 4) You have a financial hardship due to a death in the family If any of these apply to you, talk to your housing specialist about an exemption.
Updated: January 2017