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What Happens After You Get Approved For Section 8?

Once you’re approved for Section 8 you’ll be placed on a waiting list for public housing or a Section 8 voucher. To find out what happens after you get approved for Section 8, check out our guide to Section 8 below.

What Happens After You Get Approved For Section 8 2024?

Section 8 is the common term for government-funded, low-income housing assistance programs. Individuals and families meeting program income eligibility requirements can apply for Section 8.

Section 8 assistance is provided through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Renters can apply for a project-based voucher or a tenant-based voucher.

What’s the difference between the two?

Project-based vouchers are attached to housing units. The owner of the housing unit contracts with the state/local public housing agency or with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing to low-income renters.

Tenant-based vouchers allow renters to rent housing in the private rental market.
Demand for both types of housing vouchers exceeds supply so waiting lists are common.

Initial Approval For Section 8 Waiting List

Public housing authorities with long waiting lists may use a pre-application process to determine eligibility for the waiting list. The pre-application only asks for basic information.

  • Name and address
  • Family size
  • Qualifications for any local preference (disability, victim of domestic or sexual abuse, elderly, homeless, working families)
  • Race/ethnicity of the head of household
  • Estimate of annual income

If you’ve filled out a pre-application and your application was successful, you’ve only been approved for the waiting list. You haven’t been approved for Section 8 yet and will need to complete a full application once your name is selected from the waiting list.

Public housing authorities with shorter waiting lists may use a full Section 8 application. If you’ve submitted a full application and been approved, you will receive Section 8 assistance once your name is selected from the waiting list.

Basic Information

Full applications ask for a greater level of information which typically includes the basic information listed above, along with:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Gross income of all applicants
  • Housing history of all applicants
  • The criminal history of all applicants
  • Immigration status

Depending on your local housing authority, you may be on the waiting list for many months or several years.

Here’s What To Expect When You’re Selected From the Waiting List


Once it’s your turn, you’ll be notified that you’ve been selected. At this stage, you’ll be asked for any further information and documentation the housing authority requires. You may need to go through an additional income and background check to make sure you still meet the Section 8 eligibility requirements.

Next, you’ll receive your voucher. While the exact procedures at your local housing authority may vary, the basic process is as follows.

Project-Based Voucher

Once you receive a project-based voucher, you’ll be shown the housing unit. If it meets your needs, you’ll fill out the paperwork with the housing authority to accept the unit.

The property manager may require you to fill out an application and pass a background screening. Next, you’ll sign a lease with the landlord and pay the required security deposit. Then you’re given the keys and you can move in.

Tenant-Based Voucher

With a tenant-based voucher, the process is more involved. You’ll need to find a rental within your budget that accepts Section 8 and meets the program requirements for size, rent, and quality.

Your housing voucher will give you a limited period to find a suitable rental. A common period is 90 days. If you’re unable to find a rental, you can ask for an extension.

The search tool at will help you find affordable rentals in your area. Just enter your city in the search bar.

Once you’ve found a landlord participating in the Section 8 program (or willing to participate in the program), expect to go through their standard tenant application and screening process. If you pass the screening, the landlord will need to request a tenancy approval packet from the housing authority.

The completed forms must be returned to the housing authority along with an unsigned lease agreement.

The housing authority will review the information provided by the landlord and then schedule a property inspection. The property inspection makes sure the rental unit meets the housing quality standards set by HUD.

Housing authorities aim to get these inspections done as soon as possible. If any repairs are necessary, you’ll need to wait for another inspection after the repairs are completed.

Once the unit passes the inspection, and the lease and rental amount have been approved by the housing authority, the landlord will receive a Housing Assistance Payments Contract (HAPC).

You need to sign the HAPC and the lease. Your landlord will send copies of these documents to the housing authority. Finally, you pay your security deposit and get ready to move in.

The portion of your rent covered by your housing voucher is paid directly to your landlord. The remaining rent is your responsibility so you must make sure it’s paid on time.

Under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, renters pay no more than 30% of their adjusted household income towards rent.


Once you’re pre-approved or fully approved for Section 8 housing assistance, you’ll be placed on your local housing authority waiting list.

When a housing voucher is available for you, you’ll be asked to complete the application process. Further checks on your income and criminal background may be needed to ensure you’re still eligible for the program.

If everything is in order, you’ll receive your voucher. Renters with a project-based voucher will be able to move into their rental as soon as they pass any required background check, pay a security deposit, and sign the lease.

Renters with a tenant-based voucher, need to find a landlord willing to accept Section 8 and pass the landlord’s tenant screening. A rental unit inspection needs to take place, and the rent amount and lease have to be approved by the housing authority. After these formalities are complete, you pay a security deposit, sign the lease, and move in.