Section 8 Rental Assistance
The Federal Housing Community Development Act of 1974 created the Section 8 Rental
Assistance Program to assist low-income families obtain an affordable place to live.
There are two kinds of Section 8 housing assistance: Tenant-Based and Project-Based,
see below, Benefits, for a description of these programs. In Tenant-Based Section 8
tenants generally pay 30% of their income for rent, plus any amount by which the rent
exceeds a “Payment Standard”, see below, Tenant-Based Section 8 Assistance, for a
definition. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), through a
local Public Housing Agency (PHA) that administers the HUD funds, pays the balance of
the rent due, including an allowance for utilities. In Project-Based Section 8 tenants also
generally pay 30% of their income for rent, but do not pay any additional amounts above
a “Payment Standard.” HUD or a local PHA pays the balance of the rent due to the
landlord. Payment of the subsidy is in accordance with a contract called the Housing
Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract for both Tenant-Based and Project-Based Section 8
Project-Based Section 8 Assistance
Project-Based Section 8 assistance covers all of the apartments in a given housing
development or a designated number of apartments in the complex. The assistance is
"tied to" the project, meaning that tenants who leave the project do not take the assistance
Project-Based Section 8 buildings are owned and managed by private owners, and
supervised by a Contract Administrator. In May 2000, HUD selected the Division of
Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and the New York State Housing Trust Fund
Corporation (HTFC) as New York State's Contract Administrators for the Section 8
Project-Based Program. DHCR and HTFC, in turn, selected New York Quadel to
perform the day-to-day responsibilities of contract administration. Quadel is responsible
for conducting management and occupancy reviews, adjusting contract rents, processing
contract renewals, making payments to owners, conducting inspections, and responding
to health and safety issues.
Tenants with income other than public assistance, and whose family members are all
immigration eligible, pay rent equal to the greater of 30% of the family's monthly
adjusted income, or 10% of the family's monthly gross income, see below Eligibility
Criteria, Income for an explanation of adjusted and gross income.
Tenant’s Share of Rent in Households with Only Public Assistance Income
For Project-Based tenants whose only source of income is public assistance, the share of
rent is the greater of 10% of gross income, 30% of adjusted income, or the PA shelter
allowance for the family size, typically it is the PA shelter allowance, see charts below.
Households with Dependent Children (under 18)
# on PA Budget Monthly Rent # on PA Budget Monthly Rent
1 $277 5 $501
2 $283 6 $524
3 $400 7 $546
4 $450 8+ $546
Households without Dependent Children
# on PA Budget Rent # on PA Budget Rent
1 $215 5 $337
2 $250 6 $349
3 $286 7 $403
4 $312 8+ $421
Tenant-Based Section 8 Assistance
Tenant-Based assistance is provided in the form of housing vouchers and is “tied to” the
tenant rather than to the housing development. In general, tenants with Tenant-Based
Section 8 assistance may leave the housing development and take the subsidy with them.
Tenants who apply for assistance in the tenant-based program, known as the Housing
Choice Voucher Program, have the responsibility of finding a suitable apartment and
landlord willing to participate in the Section 8 program.
The largest Public Housing Agencies (PHA) administering the tenant-based Section 8
program in New York City is the Leased Housing Department of the New York City
Housing Authority (NYCHA). NYCHA provides Section 8 assistance to over 89,600
tenants and 29,300 landlords in New York City. Smaller Section 8 programs in New
York City are run by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and
Development (HPD) and the New York State Division of Housing and Community
You must find out whether NYCHA, HPD, or DHCR is administering a household’s
Section 8 voucher assistance. The particular PHA has different rules that will apply to
Note: Information is presented throughout this chapter for each of the three PHAs that
operate in New York City. If the text does not indicate any rules or regulations for a
particular PHA we were unable to obtain the necessary information.
The Payment Standard
In general, tenants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program pay 30% of their income for
rent plus any amount by which the rent exceeds the Payment Standard. PHA’s are
permitted to set a Payment Standard between 90% and 110% of the fair market rent in an
area. HPD has set the Payment Standard in NYC at 110% of the Fair Market Rent
(FMR). NYCHA’s Payment Standard is set according to the rental or transfer date, as
1. For new rentals and transfers from October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007,
NYCHA has set the Payment Standard in NYC at 100% of FMR.
1. Please note (see chart below*), the FMR for 4 bedrooms and above have
decreased from October 1, 2005. HUD regulations mandate that when the FMR
is reduced, the implementation of the lower payment standard will be deferred
until the “second annual review’ following the effective date of the decrease.
This will prevent families from being penalized for a period of one year.
2. For annual reviews for those tenants who rented or transferred 7/01/04 or later, the
payment standard is set at 100% FMR.
3. For annual reviews for those tenants who rented or transferred prior to 7/1/04 the
payment standard is set at 110% FMR.
Apt. NYCHA NYCHA Payment NYCHA and HPD
Size Payment Payment Standard
(No. of For annual reviews for tenants
Bedrooms) For annual reviews for who rented or transferred
For new rentals & transfers
tenants who rented or prior to 7/1/04
Effective: 10/1/06 – 9/30/07
transferred effective 7/1/04
100% Fair Market Rate 100% Fair Market Rate 110% Fair Market Rate
0 $988 $988 $1,087
1 $1,069 $1,069 $1,176
2 $1,189 $1,189 $1,308
3 $1,462 $1,462 $1,608
4 $1,504* $1,556 $1,712
Special Rule Limiting How Much the Tenant May Pay
A special rule applies for Gross Rents (lease rent plus utility allowance), above the
Payment Standard. Tenants entering into new leases are not permitted to rent an
apartment if the Gross Rent is more than the Payment Standard and the family share of
the rent is more than 40% of adjusted income. The prohibition on signing a new lease at
a rent more than 40% of adjusted income does not apply to apartments that rent below the
Payment Standard. Thus, for many tenants especially those in receipt of public assistance
and those with one or more non-citizens in the household it is essential to know whether
an apartment rents at or below the Payment Standard.
Tenant’s Share of Rent in Households With Income
Other Than Public Assistance
As a general rule, if the apartment rent is equal to the Payment Standard, and the tenant’s
gas and electric charges are equal to the Utility Allowance, then the tenant will pay rent
equal to the greater of 30% of the family’s monthly adjusted income, or 10% of the
family’s monthly gross income, or
the minimum rent of $25, see below Eligibility Criteria, Income for an explanation of
gross and adjusted income. If the rent is more than the Payment Standard, the tenant will
also pay the amount above the Payment Standard. If the rent is less than the Payment
Standard, the tenant will still pay 10% of gross income or 30% of adjusted income for
rent (whichever is greater).
The exact rules for calculating the rent for tenants with income other than public
assistance are as follows:
1. Determine the Payment Standard for the family based on the apartment size the
family is renting.
2. Determine the Total Tenant Payment (TTP): the rent the tenant would pay if the
tenant were in a Project-Based Section 8 program, which is the greater of 10% of
gross income or 30% of adjusted income. See below Eligibility Criteria, Income for
an explanation of gross and adjusted income.
3. Determine the Gross Rent: the lease (or contract) rent plus the utility allowance for
NYCHA’s Utility Allowance
# Bedrooms Gas Electric Total
0 $16 $47 $63
1 $18 $52 $70
2 $19 $58 $77
3 $19 $67 $86
4 or more $20 $73 $93
Note: HPD and DHCR do not publish a utility allowance schedule.
4. Determine the Subsidy Amount: Subtract the TTP from either the payment standard
or the gross rent, whichever is less. This is the Section 8 subsidy.
5. Determine the Tenant's Share of the Rent: Subtract the subsidy from the contract
rent. This is the tenant’s share of the rent.
The following examples illustrate how to determine the tenant's share of rent in the
Housing Choice Voucher Program for Gross Rents of $903, $1,153, and $1,223
respectively. The example assumes that one parent and one dependent child are seeking
a one-bedroom apartment. Their monthly-adjusted income is $1,200, (assume 30% of
adjusted income is greater than 10% of gross income). In this example the family has a
new rental, after 10/1/06, for a NYCHA Section 8 apartment.
Example A: Gross Rent of $903 (Contract Rent: $833, Utility Allowance: $70)
1. The Payment Standard for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,069.
2. The Total Tenant Payment, TTP, (30% of adjusted income of $1,200) is $360.
6. Gross Rent is $903
7. The Gross Rent is less than the Payment Standard, therefore the subsidy is the gross
rent ($903) less the TTP ($360) = $543.
1. The Tenant’s Share of the Rent is the Contract Rent ($833) less the subsidy ($543) =
Note: If the tenant paid utilities equal to the utility allowance of $70, the tenant’s share of
rent plus utilities would be $360 (30% of tenant’s income). This is always true when the
gross rent is less than the payment standard.
Example B: Gross Rent of $1,153 (Contract Rent: $1,083, Utility Allowance: $70)
3. The Payment Standard for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,069.
4. The Total Tenant Payment, TTP, (30% of adjusted income of $1,200) is $360.
8. The Gross Rent is $1,153
9. The Gross Rent is more than the Payment Standard, therefore the subsidy is the
Payment Standard ($1,069) less the TTP ($360) = $709
2. The Tenant’s Share of the Rent is the Contract Rent ($1,083) less the subsidy ($709)
Note: If the tenant paid utilities equal to the utility allowance of $70, the tenant’s share
of the rent plus utilities would be $444. That equals $360 (30% of tenant’s income) +
$84 (the amount by which the gross rent exceeds the payment standard.) This is always
true when the gross rent is greater than the payment standard.
Example C: Gross Rent is $1,189 (Contract Rent: $1,119, Utility Allowance: $70)
5. The Payment Standard for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,069.
6. The Total Tenant Payment, TTP, (30% of adjusted income of $1,200) is $360.
10. The Gross Rent is $1,189
11. The Gross Rent is more than the Payment Standard, therefore the subsidy is the
Payment Standard ($1,069) less the TTP ($360) = $709
1. The Tenant’s Share of the Rent is the Contract Rent ($1,119) less the subsidy ($709)
Note: If the tenant paid utilities equal to $70, the tenant’s share of the rent plus utilities
would be $480, which equals $360 (30% of tenant’s income) + $120 (the amount by
which the gross rent exceeds the payment standard).
The tenant’s share of the rent with the utility allowance in this example is exactly equal to
40% of the tenant’s adjusted income. Thus, a family with a monthly-adjusted income of
$1,000 is not permitted to enter into a new NYCHA Section 8 lease for an apartment with
a contract rent greater than $1,137 because it would cause the rent to be more than 40%
of adjusted income.
The chart below summarizes these results.
A B C
Gross $903 ($833 + $70)
$1,153 ($1,083 +
$1,189 ($1,119 + $70)
$1,069 $1,069 $1,069
Adjusted Income $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Total Tenant $360 ($1,200 x
$360 ($1,200 x 30%) $360 ($1,200 x 30%)
Subsidy $543 ($903 - $360) $709 ($1,069 - $360) $709 ($1,069 - $360)
Tenant’s Share $290 ($833 - $543) $374 ($1,083 - $709) $410 ($1,119 - $709)
If the tenant paid
If the tenant paid If the tenant paid
utilities of $70, the
utilities of $70, the utilities of $70, the
tenant’s share of
tenant’s share of the tenant’s share of the
the rent plus
rent plus utilities rent would be $480,
utilities would be
would be $444, 30% which is equal to 40%
Notes $360 (30% of
of tenant’s income, of tenant’s adjusted
income). This is
plus the amount by income. This is the
always true when
which the gross rent most expensive
the gross rent is
exceeds the payment apartment the tenant
less than the
standard ($84). may rent.
Tenant’s Share of Rent in Households with Public
Assistance in NYCHA & HPD Housing Choice Voucher
For NYCHA and HPD Housing Choice Voucher tenants whose sole source of income is
public assistance, the maximum shelter allowance cannot exceed 30% of the standard of
need for the family size, see chart below.
Public Assistance Standard of Need and Shelter Maximums for Section 8 Residents
For Households with or without Children*
Family Standard of Shelter Family Standard of Shelter
Size Need Maximum Size Need Maximums
1 $414 $124 6 $1,059.20 $318
2 $501 $150 7 $1,153.70 $346
3 $691 $207 8 $1,226.20 $368
4 $825.70 $248 9 $1,298.50 $390
5 $964.70 $289 10 $1,371 $421
* In households without children that have 11 or more members will receive a maximum
shelter of $421, whereas households with children that have 11 or more members will
receive a higher shelter maximum than indicated above.
Tenant’s Share of Rent in Households with Public Assistance in DHCR Housing Choice
For DHCR Housing Choice Voucher tenants whose only source of income is public
assistance, the share of rent is the greater of 10% of gross income, 30% of adjusted
income, or the PA shelter allowance for the family size, typically the PA shelter
allowance, see chart above Benefits, Project Based Section 8.
Portability of Tenant-Based Section 8 Assistance
Tenant-Based Section 8 is "portable", meaning that the tenant may transfer the assistance
to a different apartment in the same jurisdiction, or to a different jurisdiction, or even to a
different state. Tenants who wish to move and retain their Tenant-Based assistance must
comply with NYCHA's Tenant Transfer Policy. In general, the Tenant Transfer Policy
prohibits Section 8 tenants from moving during the initial term of the lease and more than
once during any one-year period. Subject to those restrictions, tenants are permitted to
transfer assistance to a new apartment in the following circumstances:
2. NYCHA has terminated the Housing Assistance Payments Contract because of
Housing Quality Standards violations,
3. The owner has given the tenant a notice to vacate or has commenced an action in
court to evict the tenant,
4. The owner and tenant have agreed to terminate the lease prior to its expiration date,
and the owner completes and signs a lease release,
5. The tenant's lease will expire in 60 days and the tenant has notified NYCHA that s/he
desires to move and not renew the lease, or the lease authorizes the tenant to give a
notice of lease termination and the tenant has done so,
6. The tenant vacates the apartment for "emergency reasons" and subsequently
notifies NYCHA, and NYCHA determines that the decision to vacate was justified,
7. The tenant is a domestic violence survivor who has submitted to NYCHA (a) an
exclusionary criminal court or family court order of protection, and (b) copies of one
or more police incident reports within the prior six months, or
8. The tenant is an intimidated victim or intimidated witness to a violent crime.
NYCHA is required to advise families about the procedures for requesting and obtaining
assistance when moving to another jurisdiction.
NYCHA will expedite transfer requests when the owner notified the tenant that it is not
renewing the lease, the tenant fills out a NYCHA tenant transfer form, and the tenant
submits written notification of the commencement of housing court holdover case. All
tenant briefings in such cases must be held within four weeks of submission to NYCHA
of the request.
For a clarification of immigration statuses, refer to Vol. I – Immigrant’s Category and
Naturalization Process, Section H 1.
1. U.S. citizens, including nationals (persons born in a U.S. territory or possession)
2. Legal permanent residents
5. Persons granted withholding of deportation
7. Permanent residents under registry provision (non-citizens who have been
lawfully admitted for permanent residence based on entry in the U.S. before 1972 and
continuous residence since then)
8. Persons admitted under the mid-1980s legalization (amnesty) program
In general, as long as at least one household member has an eligible immigration status,
other household members with an ineligible immigration status may reside in the
apartment, but may not benefit from a federal housing subsidy. In such cases the subsidy
is pro-rated, see below. An entire family is ineligible for Section 8 on immigration
grounds only if all of its members are ineligible.