Section 8 voucher holders should not be screened out for having insufficient income!
So, the first step in doing your income screening for a Section 8 voucher holder should be to ask them who issues their Section 8 voucher (it will likely be a housing authority). Then call the organization who issues their voucher and tell them the affordable rent of the unit that the applicant is applying for.
If (A) the affordable rent for the unit is BELOW the maximum rent that is covered by the voucher (according to the organization who issues the voucher), then the household should NOT be screened out for income purposes. So if your screening program is declining the voucher holder, you are likely inputting incorrect data into the program and you need to adjust your inputs correctly. Please also note that the rent for a unit that a voucher holder occupies should be exactly the same as the rent for a non-voucher holder (some housing authorities may be willing to pay an even higher amount than your affordable rents but MHP expressly prohibits that).
If (B) the affordable rent for the unit is ABOVE the maximum rent that is covered by the voucher and/or ABOVE what the organization/housing authority allows, then the household will not likely be able to rent a unit at your property and you should confirm that in writing to the applicant.
A Little Background on the Section 8 Program
• The Section 8 Program is a federal program and is entirely different than the affordable housing program in place at your property.
• The housing authority who issues the Section 8 voucher also reviews that household’s annual income. That household is expected to pay 30% of their own income toward the rent, and the Housing Authority (using funds from the federal government) will pay the landlord or management company the difference in rent. For Example: A housing authority determines that their voucher holders (Household A) makes $2,000/mo. Household A is then expected to pay $600/mo towards rent (as $2,000 x 30% = $600). Household A rents an apartment where the rent is $900/mo. Household A will pay the management company $600/mo from their own income and the Housing Authority will make up the difference by paying the management company $300/mo. If Household A is allowed to use their voucher for a unit that is $1,100/mo, Households A STILL only pays $600/mo and the Housing Authority will pay $500/mo.
• A voucher holder can only use their voucher at an apartment whose rent is within Fair Market Rent (FMR). FMR is set by the Federal Government for each geographical area. However, each housing authority has slightly different rules (as some have more funds than others), and some may allow their voucher holders to only rent a place that is 90% of FMR and others may allow their voucher holders to rent a place that is up to 105% of FMR. For example: If FMR in your area is $1,000/mo for a 1BR unit, Housing Authority X may allow its voucher holders to rent a place with rents only up to $900/mo (90% of FMR) whereas housing Authority Y may allow its voucher holders to rent a place with rents up to $1,050 (105% of FMR). This is because some housing authorities have more funds than others. That is why it is critical for you to contact each Housing Authority as the first step to find out what the allowable rent is for their voucher holders.