How Does Section 8 Find out if Someone is Living with You?

How does Section 8 find out if someone is living with you? While they’re not guaranteed to find out, there are multiple ways Section 8 can discover you’re violating your housing agreement.

Before you allow a friend, relative, or partner to move in with you, you must notify your Section 8 caseworker about the change. If you don’t, you risk eviction and may permanently lose your housing voucher.

How Does Section 8 Find Out If Someone Is Living With You?

How Does Section 8 Find Out If Someone Is Living With You

There are numerous ways for Section 8 to find out if someone is living with you. Because you risk losing your housing voucher or public housing if you violate the terms of your Section 8 agreement, it isn’t a good idea to move someone in without prior approval.

Your Landlord Can Report You

Section 8 rules specify that all occupants of a rental unit must be listed on the lease. Landlords in the Section 8 program are expected to ensure that only occupants listed on the lease live in the rental.

Landlords and their representatives become aware of unauthorized occupants when they:

  • Carry out property inspections
  • Visit for maintenance calls
  • Notice new occupants coming and going
  • Hear about new occupants from other tenants

If your landlord finds out that someone else has moved in they can easily report you to their housing authority point of contact or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

HUD maintains a housing fraud hotline anyone can use to report suspected fraud, waste, or abuse in their housing programs.

Neighbors, Friends & Relatives Can Report You

Anyone who suspects Section 8 fraud can call the HUD housing fraud hotline, including your neighbors, friends, and relatives.

Some people may be jealous that you receive housing support. Others may not like you, or seize the chance to settle a score.

You might successfully hide evidence of an unauthorized occupant during your landlord’s occasional visits, but you won’t be able to keep your living arrangements a secret from people with closer access to your life.

Social Workers Can Report You

If you’ve got a social worker, they will know who is on your lease and allowed to live with you. During home visits, your social worker could notice that someone else has moved in. Your children might also mention that a new person is living in the home.

Annual Recertification

Your continued eligibility for Section 8 depends on annual recertification of your income and household composition.

During the recertification process, you need to provide the required information and supporting documentation and confirm its accuracy. Providing false information is fraud which is a criminal offense.

Housing authority representatives carry out property inspections to ensure that the landlord and tenant are fulfilling their obligations.

During the inspection, the assessor will ask your landlord if you’re complying with the occupancy conditions in your lease. They may also speak to your neighbors, and ask who lives at your address.

Read Also: Can A Felon Live With Someone On Section 8?

Who Can Live With You On Section 8?

Who Can Live With You On Section 8?

Members of your household can live with you. This includes your spouse or partner, children, and other dependent family members.

Extended family members and friends aren’t considered household members unless they’re an approved caregiver for an elderly or disabled household member.

Your Section 8 caseworker is the best person to talk to if you’re planning to add a new member to your household. They’ll advise you on eligibility and tell you what information you need to submit to receive approval.

Can Guests Stay With You If You’re Getting Section 8?

Yes, guests can come to stay, but there are limits on how long they can stay with you.

Your landlord’s guest policy and the Section 8 guest policy both govern how long guests can stay.

The guest policies used by landlords and PHAs vary, so you’ll need to check your lease and Section 8 housing agreement to find out how long your guest can stay with you.

PHAs usually allow guests to stay for a reasonable period, with stays commonly limited to 14 or 30 days.

You can’t get around the limit by having the person stay elsewhere for a few days before returning for another stay because guest policies also limit the total number of days a guest can stay in any given year.

Guests staying over the limit are considered unapproved household members and are a lease violation.

Can My Boyfriend Live With Me If I Have Section 8?

Yes, your boyfriend can live with you as long as you notify your Section 8 caseworker about the change in your household composition and he receives approval.

Your boyfriend will need to pass an income and background check. Once he’s approved he’ll be added to your Section 8 paperwork and your lease.

The amount you pay towards your rent may increase because of your boyfriend’s income. If his income puts your household income above the upper limit for your household size, you’ll no longer qualify for Section 8 assistance.

What Happens If You Break Section 8 Rules?

Section 8 rule violations are investigated by your PHA who impose the penalties documented in their policies.

Where a genuine mistake occurred, your PHA may allow you to apply to have the unapproved household member added to your voucher and lease.

If you received an over-payment due to unreported household income you may be offered a payment plan to repay what you owe.

But in cases of deliberate fraud, you could face:

  • Permanent loss of your housing voucher
  • Eviction from public housing
  • Eviction from private housing if can’t afford the rent after the loss of your voucher
  • Being ordered to repay the assistance you received

Ultimately, it’s not worth risking your home or financial stability over an unapproved occupant. Submit the proper Section 8 application and wait for approval so you don’t have to live in fear of discovery or deal with the consequences of being found out.