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Sole Place of Residence for a Section 8 Applicant or Tenant?

There have been plenty of questions/concerns in affordable housing in regard to a Section 8 resident’s sole place of residence.  I mean how many places can a tenant live?  If they own the apartment or house, and they rent it out…no problem, you have to count it as an asset and count the rental income.  But what if they rent an apartment for their own residence somewhere else?

The 4350 .3 HUD Occupancy Handbook, Chapter 3: Eligibility for Assistance and Occupancy, 3-5 (D) says;

1. A family is eligible for assistance only if the unit will be the family’s only residence.

2. The owner must not provide assistance to applicants who will maintain a residence in addition to the HUD-assisted unit.

3-10

A. Key Requirement

Assisted tenants must have only one residence and receive assistance only in that unit. This rule is meant to ensure that the government pays assistance on only one unit for a family and provides assistance to as many eligible families as possible with available funding.

B. Sole Residence Requirement

1. A family is eligible for assistance only if the unit will be the family’s only residence.

2. The owner must not provide assistance to applicants who will maintain a residence in addition to the HUD-assisted unit.

Here are some various examples of a Section 8 applicant or tenant owning a second residence…or not…

We are a multifamily site in New Mexico and have encountered the following situation.

“A Resident paid his rent with a check identifying his address in Arizona (AZ). Review of documents in file shows that resident works for an airport in AZ. Called tenant into office to explain.

The AZ address belongs to his sister. Resident works at an airport in AZ on Monday through Thursday of each week. Therefore, he usually leaves New Mexico on Sunday afternoon and returns on Friday. In AZ, he stays is a house that is provided by the airline. The house has three bedrooms and is near the airport. The airline places the resident and two other people (on a rotating basis, as needed) in the house so they share the apt. There is no lease and no charge for this temporary housing.

Is this a violation of the HUD Model Lease which requires the subsidized apt to be the sole place of residence?

This arrangement is not a violation of the lease, as long as the resident’s income from the job is included in the tenant rent calculation.  Chapter 5 of 4350.3 even discusses scenarios where an individual may temporarily be absent from the apt due to employment opportunities elsewhere.

I think it would be a different story if the resident had a lease and/or paid rent for the apt in AZ, or kept their possessions there and emptied the apt here, or if she never returned to the apt here, but this is not the case.”

Another example;

A Resident has lived at one of our communities for over 15 years. Each year for their AR we have verified a pension from Egypt. This year they didn’t feel that it was fair to count the pension because that money doesn’t come to the US and it is used to pay for their apartment in Egypt. This is the first we have had knowledge that they have an apartment in Egypt.   They gave us a copy of the lease which states that it is for a residence. The lease is dated 1/1/12. Resident said it is where they stay when they go home.

Clearly they have a 2nd apartment which they say is for them to stay when they go home.
If they own the apartment, you have to count it as an asset and if they sub rent it, you would count the income.

Once you have verified the 2nd residence you need to appropriately send them a notice of lease violation for Failure to disclose an asset and a 30 day notice of termination.

HUD Subsidized housing is there for those in need.  There are plenty of people who would be grateful for the unit and would be willing to play by the rules.  Not many people who are eligible for Section 8 can afford a 2nd home unless they are hiding income!

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