How To Participate
Who is Eligible for Section 8?
Households in virtually every locality in the United States may participate in the Section 8 Program, if eligible. Please see the Section 8 Participant Information pages under Eligibility, How To Apply, and Leasing, for a summary of how eligible families may qualify for rental assistance and enter the private rental market with a Section 8 subsidy.
What housing is eligible for Section 8?
Any rental unit is eligible for leasing under Section 8 subsidy as long as it is properly zoned, the rent amount is reasonable, and the unit passes the Section 8 inspection based on HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
How Does Section 8 Work?
Section 8 Participants with newly issued Vouchers enter the private rental market to seek housing from private housing providers who have offered their property for rent. Valid Vouchers are the holder’s official documentation that the LTRAP will enter into a contract with a housing provider to pay a rental subsidy on their behalf.
When a tenant locates a suitable rental unit and the landlord agrees to rent to the tenant, a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) is submitted by the tenant to LTRAP. As part of the approval process, LTRAP’s inspector will conduct an inspection of the rental unit. After the inspection passes, the lease is negotiated between the landlord and the tenant, and a contract is then drawn-up between the landlord and LTRAP for the monthly subsidy payments.
Subsidy payments begin after LTRAP receives the signed contracts from the landlord. Subsidy payments from LTRAP follow on the first of each month for an initial term of one year. Concurrently, participants must also pay their share of the rent, calculated by LTRAP on the basis of 30% of their monthly adjusted income*.
Leases and contracts are subject to renewal effective upon each anniversary. At this time, adjustments in the terms may be negotiated as a result of business and economic factors, and rent shares may be re-apportioned as a result of changes to the tenant’s income and/or the amount of contract rent. LTRAP inspects the unit annually, and it must pass the inspection to be eligible for the renewal of subsidy payments.
In accordance with the CFR 982.552, LTRAP completes a criminal background check on all Section 8 applicants. Under certain circumstances, applicants who are found to have a drug-related criminal history or a violent criminal history may be denied admission to the Section 8 Program.
Denied applicants will not be in possession of a Voucher. However, the specific reasons for which applicants with criminal histories can be denied a subsidy are limited, and the possession of a Voucher should not be taken as a guarantee that the holder does not have a criminal history.
Landlords must screen their own prospective tenants. Screening should include the verification of present and past landlord references, a credit check, a visit to the applicant’s current address, and obtaining written authorization from a participant to review their Section 8 file.
LTRAP is not the landlord, and is not a party to the lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant. LTRAP has no tenant management responsibilities, and only administers the tenant’s subsidy.
Locating a Tenant
The Section 8 Office maintains a bulletin board of available units. New Section 8 Voucher holders regularly consult this service for current rental availability. Landlords who desire to list their rentals with the Section 8 Office may call (732) 367-0660. Landlords may also e-mail LTRAP at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also advisable to advertise available rentals in local or community newspapers.
Your Local Section 8 Program
LTRAP administers the Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance program on behalf of the Township of Lakewood. The geographical area served by LTRAP is primarily the Ocean-Monmouth area. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
LTRAP’s Section 8 Program is staffed by over 15 employees who are charged with monitoring the eligibility and Housing Quality Standards of more than 1,000 participant households. LTRAP’s Section 8 Program provides subsidies worth over 12 million dollars per year.
Benefits to Housing Providers for Participating
- A one-year initial lease
- Monthly rent subsidy from LTRAP is paid on time
- HQS inspections help maintain property
- Tenant’s rent share is based on income, and therefore affordable
* Monthly Adjusted Income
*The term "monthly adjusted income" is used as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations at (1999)24CFR5.603 and 5.611, where it states, "…monthly adjusted income (means) one twelfth of adjusted income;" and "…adjusted income means annual income less…deductions."
24CFR5.611 further defines deductions as being (1) $480 for each dependent; (2) $400 for an elderly or disabled family; (3) for elderly or disabled families, disability assistance expense and/or medical expense in excess of 3% of annual income; and (4) child care expenses. Each deduction listed in the definition is further defined elsewhere in the CFR as to applicability.
The terms "monthly adjusted income, adjusted income, and annual income" all refer to income earned or received before taxes. Tenant rent is always calculated on pre-tax income and no other deductions or