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Learn About Section 8 Requirements in Tennessee

The main Tennessee Section 8 requirements are determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which provides federal funding for this program. Moreover, the Section 8 qualifications are also set on a local level by public housing agencies (PHAs). As such, your Section 8 eligibility can vary slightly depending on where you apply due to the fact that PHAs are independent organizations.

If you meet Section 8 housing eligibility, you can file an application. However, because of the high demand for vouchers, there is no guarantee that you will receive assistance even if you are eligible. Read below to learn more about the requirements for this program and discover which factors can affect your eligibility.

What are the Section 8 requirements in Tennessee?

The first requirement for meeting Section 8 eligibility in Tennessee relates to your legal presence in the U.S. Generally, at least one member of your household must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or a qualified immigrant.

If certain members of your family are legally present but others are not, it will affect how much assistance you may be eligible to receive. Local PHAs base the amount of your rental assistance given on the number of people who meet the citizenship or legal presence requirements in your household.

While your citizenship does matter, your residency in Tennessee usually does not. You can have Section 8 housing eligibility in Tennessee regardless of whether you live in the state.

In most cases, you simply need to sign up for assistance in the county where you want to receive a voucher. Some PHAs will give preference to applicants who already live in their jurisdiction, but you will still be eligible to sign up anywhere you choose.

Next, your household needs to meet “family” status. Under the HUD’s definition, a family can be composed of any of the following:

  • A single person who is a senior, was displaced from home or has a disability.
  • A single person who is the remaining member of a family that receives assistance.
  • Any other eligible single person.
  • Two or more people who live together and are related by blood, marriage or adoption, or are otherwise associated with one another.

In order to meet TN Section 8 eligibility, your household also needs to be in good standing with HUD and PHA housing programs. If you have received assistance from another government program in the past, any violations may count against you in the future. For example, being evicted from public housing might hurt your chances of being approved for a voucher.

PHAs and landlords also reserve the right to set additional eligibility criteria. In addition to meeting the HUD’s Section 8 qualifications, you might need to agree to a criminal background check or credit check before you can get a voucher or work with a certain landlord.

Note: Some PHAs require that you have a Social Security Number (SSN) and that you are 18 years of age or older before you can apply. Other times, you may be able to provide your SSN at a later date if you do not currently have one.

What are the Tennessee Section 8 income limits?

Under the Section 8 income guidelines in Tennessee, you can qualify as long as you earn no more than 80 percent of the median area income. Income limits are published annually by HUD and can vary depending on the county where you sign up. In any case, your earnings will be compared with families of the same size in your county or city.

While it is possible to have Section 8 eligibility with an income around 80 percent of the median, you are more likely to get a voucher if your income is lower. PHAs usually target applicants who have an income below 50 percent of the median.

In fact, housing authorities are required to save most of their vouchers for applicants who earn no more than 30 percent of the median area income. This requirement exists so that families with the greatest financial need are more likely to get assistance.

The income rules for this program can be complex. To learn more about Section 8 requirements, read our complete guide here.

Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in Tennessee?

You will need to verify that you meet the Section 8 income guidelines and other requirements before you can receive a voucher. Some PHAs require that you prove your eligibility when submitting your initial application, while others only need to see verification documents when your family is chosen for a voucher.

Various documents can be used to prove your eligibility. The types of paperwork you need might depend on your individual situation. In most cases, you will need some or all of the following:

  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of citizenship or immigration status
  • Social Security card
  • Bank statements, pay stubs or other income verification
  • Photo identification card

You will usually need to confirm the Section 8 qualifications of each person in your household. Keep in mind that PHAs may also check your information by contacting banks, employers and local agencies directly. In such cases, you should be prepared to sign a consent form.

Which Tennessee Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?

Once you are approved for a voucher, you are responsible for finding suitable housing. The unit you choose must be rented by a landlord willing to take Section 8. It also has to pass a PHA inspection to make sure it is in safe, sanitary and decent condition. Housing authorities also usually check that the rental rate is fair.

What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?

If you do not meet the Section 8 requirements in Tennessee, the PHA will inform you in writing. Depending on the reason for your denial, you might have another opportunity to apply for help. In any case, you have the right to request a fair hearing.

Keep in mind that most PHAs have more than one type of assistance program. If you do not meet the Section 8 qualifications in TN, you might be eligible for a different type of help.