A Section 8 tenant is a low-income tenant who receives a government housing voucher. Local housing authorities receive funds from the federal government and disburse them directly to landlords of Section 8 tenants.
Federal law does not require landlords to accept Section 8 tenants, but states are permitted to pass laws that supersede federal law in this regard. In states where landlords are required to accept Section 8 tenants, potential tenants may still be excluded due to credit, rental history and criminal background.
Landlords who rent to Section 8 tenants are required to undergo annual property inspections to ensure that the housing they provide complies with federal standards. They are also required to charge no more than the calculated fair-market rent in the area. Failure to comply with either of these standards renders a landlord ineligible to receive Section 8 voucher payments.
Section 8 tenants face additional restrictions. Section 8 does not cover any part of the security deposit; this must be paid in full by the tenant. Tenants are also required to maintain the property, obey all terms of the lease, pay any portion of the rent not covered by Section 8 in full and notify their housing authority upon any change in income or familial status.