Can a Section 8 Landlord Rent to a Family Member

Housing organizations that receive funding from the federal government to provide affordable housing to low-income families commonly have regulations that prohibit landlords from renting to family members. This is in place to ensure that the housing is going to people who are in need and to prevent conflicts of interest. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, some housing organizations may allow landlords to rent to family members if they live in separate units or if the family member is a dependent. Landlords who want to rent to family members should check with their housing organization to see if they are eligible for an exception.

Tenant Eligibility Requirements For Section 8 Housing

Section 8 is a federal housing assistance program that provides subsidized housing to low-income families and individuals. To qualify for Section 8, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements include:

  • Income:
  • Household size:
  • Citizenship/Eligible Immigration Status:

In addition to the above requirements, applicants must also pass a criminal background check and a landlord reference check.

Tenant Eligibility Requirements for Section 8 Housing
IncomeHousehold income must be below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
Household SizeHousehold size must be within the limits set by the Housing Authority.
Citizenship/Eligible Immigration StatusApplicants must be U.S. citizens or eligible immigrants.
Criminal Background CheckApplicants must pass a criminal background check.
Landlord Reference CheckApplicants must provide a landlord reference.

Landlords who participate in the Section 8 program are required to follow certain rules and regulations. These rules and regulations include:

  • Rents:
  • Inspections:
  • Lease Agreements:

Landlords who violate these rules and regulations may be subject to penalties.

Prohibited Leases Under Section 8 Housing Programs

Federal regulations prohibit landlords with Section 8 contracts from entering into certain types of lease agreements. These prohibitions aim to prevent fraud, abuse, and conflicts of interest within the Section 8 housing program.

Leases with Relatives

  • Landlords cannot rent to their immediate family members, including spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
  • Similarly, landlords cannot rent to relatives of their employees, agents, or contractors who are involved in the management or maintenance of the property.

Leases with Entities or Organizations

  • Landlords cannot rent to entities or organizations in which they have a financial interest, such as partnerships, corporations, or limited liability companies.
  • This restriction applies even if the landlord does not have a controlling interest in the entity or organization.

Leases with Public Officials

  • Landlords cannot rent to public officials who have the authority to approve or deny Section 8 contracts or who are responsible for administering the Section 8 program.
  • This includes elected officials, government employees, and members of housing authorities.

Consequences of Prohibited Leases

  • If a landlord enters into a prohibited lease, the Section 8 contract may be terminated, and the landlord may be required to repay any subsidy payments received.
  • Additionally, the landlord may face civil or criminal penalties.
Summary of Prohibited Leases Under Section 8 Housing Programs
Prohibited LeaseReason
Leases with immediate family membersTo prevent conflicts of interest and potential fraud
Leases with relatives of employees, agents, or contractorsTo prevent conflicts of interest and potential fraud
Leases with entities or organizations in which the landlord has a financial interestTo prevent conflicts of interest and potential fraud
Leases with public officials who have authority over the Section 8 programTo prevent conflicts of interest and potential corruption

Rental Unit Restrictions in Section 8 Landlord Leasing

Section 8 housing programs provide rental assistance to low-income families, elderly individuals, and disabled individuals. These programs allow qualifying individuals to lease a unit from a private landlord, who is then reimbursed by the housing authority. There are certain restrictions on the types of units that can be leased under Section 8 programs, and one of these restrictions is on renting to family members.

Allowed Leases Under Section 8 Housing Programs

  • Standard Leases: Landlords can rent to unrelated families or individuals.
  • Family-Member-Owned Properties: Landlords can rent to family members if they don’t own the property and only act as a property manager.
  • Family Unrelated Renters: Landlords can rent to family members if they are unrelated through blood or marriage.


There are some exceptions to the rule that a Section 8 landlord cannot rent to a family member. These exceptions include:

  • If the family member is a disabled individual or an elderly individual.
  • If the family member is a single parent with children.
  • If the family member is a displaced homemaker.
  • If the family member is a runaway youth.

Additionally, a Section 8 landlord may be able to rent to a family member if they can demonstrate that no other suitable housing is available.

Safeguards to Prevent Abuse

To prevent abuse of the program, Section 8 housing authorities have implemented a number of safeguards. These safeguards include:

  • Requiring landlords to provide evidence that the family member is not related to them.
  • Limiting the number of family members who can live in a Section 8 unit.
  • Conducting regular inspections of Section 8 units to ensure that they are in good condition.

Table: Summary of Section 8 Landlord Leasing Restrictions

Type of LeaseAllowed
Standard LeasesYes
Family-Member-Owned PropertiesOnly if the landlord is a property manager
Family Unrelated RentersYes
ExceptionsDisabled individuals, elderly individuals, single parents, displaced homemakers, runaway youth

Overall, Section 8 housing programs provide a valuable resource for low-income families, elderly individuals, and disabled individuals. The restrictions on renting to family members are designed to prevent abuse of the program and to ensure that the housing is available to those who need it most.

Who Can Qualify as a Section 8 Landlord?

To qualify as a Section 8 landlord, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.
  • Own a rental property that meets the Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
  • Be willing to rent to Section 8 voucher holders.
  • Pass a criminal background check.

Special Considerations For Section 8 Landlords

  • You must agree to follow the terms of the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract. Once you begin working with a Section 8 tenant, you must adhere to all stipulations in the HAP contract. You can ask a local housing authority or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for more information.
  • You must charge a rent that is approved by the Section 8 program. The rent will be based on the property’s fair market rent (FMR), which is determined by HUD. You can look up the FMR for your area on the HUD website.
  • You must make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. This may include installing ramps, grab bars, and other modifications to the property.
  • You must inspect the property regularly and make any necessary repairs, per the HAP contract.
  • Eviction of tenants: You are still allowed to evict a tenant under the following circumstances:
    • The tenant violates the terms of the lease agreement.
    • The tenant engages in criminal activity.
    • The tenant fails to pay rent or utilities.

Avoiding Conflicts of Interest

It’s important to avoid conflicts of interest when renting to family members. Here are some tips:

  • Be transparent: Make sure your family member is aware of all the terms of the lease agreement, including the rent, security deposit, and late fees.
  • Use a written lease: Having a written lease will help avoid misunderstandings and protect both you and your family member.
  • Follow the rules: Treat your family member like any other tenant. This means enforcing the lease agreement and following all applicable laws.
  • Keep your emotions in check: It’s important to keep your emotions in check when dealing with family members. If you find yourself getting upset, take a step back and try to see things from their perspective.
Pros and Cons of Renting to Family Members
Can provide financial assistance to family membersPotential for conflict of interest
May be more likely to take care of the propertyMay be more difficult to evict if necessary
Can build stronger family bondsMay be more difficult to set boundaries

And that’s the scoop on Section 8 and renting to family members – not as simple as you might think, right? But hey, knowledge is power, and now you’re armed with the facts. So, if you’re a landlord pondering this move or a family member hoping to score a sweet Section 8 rental, you know where to start. Remember, rules and regulations can change, so keep your finger on the pulse of the latest updates. Thanks for joining me on this little housing adventure. If you have any more burning questions about renting, property management, or real estate, be sure to swing by again. I’ve got plenty more insights and tips up my sleeve, just waiting to be shared. Until next time, keep those rental wheels turning smoothly!