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Change in Family Size After Initial Occupancy

What happens to a family who moves into a Section 8 unit, and becomes overcrowded or underutilized due to a change in family size? For instance, they can expectantly (or unexpectedly) have a baby or two.

In affordable housing, the owner may require the family to move to a unit of appropriate size. If a unit of appropriate size is not available, the owner must not evict the family and must not increase the family’s rent to the market rent.  In the case where a family grows and refuses to move to a larger unit that is on them (unless it violates occupancy standards).  But, what if you want them to downsize their unit when they are over-housed?

As an example;  Jack & Jill Jacobson live in a 3-bedroom unit at Evan Garden Apartments. They have lived in the unit with their three children for 12 years. However, all of the Jacobson children are grown and have moved out of the family. Jack & Jill no longer need a 3-bedroom unit and could move into a 1-bedroom unit. Evan Garden Apartments has only 2- and 3-bedroom units. In this case, a 2-bedroom unit becomes available, the owner may require the Jacobson‘s to move into the smaller unit, but must not require them to move out of the property. If the owner asks the Jacobson’s to move into a 2-bedroom unit, the Jacobson’s may choose to move into it and continue to receive assistance, or remain in the 3-bedroom unit and pay market rent.

If a family refuses to move to the correct size unit, the family may stay in the current unit and pay the market rent. The owner must not evict the tenant for refusing to move but may evict the family if it fails to pay the market rent in accordance with the lease.

You should always offer the family in an over-housed situation a smaller unit so a family who maybe under-housed may not have to live in an over-crowed unit. From a marketing standpoint, it may be easier to lease a larger unit

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