Planning a wedding should be an exciting time that leaves you up on cloud nine. However, what does Section 8 Rules on getting married to a felon?
But when you’re receiving rental assistance through Section 8, you’ll be forced back to reality in a hurry because of the extra red tape you’ve got to go through when your family situation changes.
And if the person you’re marrying has a felony conviction, then there’s a possibility they won’t receive permission to live with you.
In this article, we’ll go over the Section 8 rules on getting married to a felon so you know where you stand.
What Are The Section 8 Rules On Getting Married To A Felon?
- You must report your marriage to your housing authority within 10 days.
- Your partner must pass a housing authority background check.
- Your combined income cannot exceed the Section 8 income limit for your area.
- You must inform your landlord and get permission for your spouse to move in.
The Section 8 rules for individuals with a felony conviction on their record are the same whether the person is applying for their own Section 8 voucher or apartment, or being added to a family member’s voucher or Section 8 project lease.
Currently, there are certain felonies that are disqualifying offenses for Section 8 public housing and Section 8 voucher purposes, and this disqualification is nationwide.
- If the person you are marrying has been convicted of a sexual offense that requires lifetime registration on the sex offenders register, they are not eligible for Section 8 assistance and cannot live with you.
- If the person you are marrying has been convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in public housing, they are not eligible for Section 8 assistance and cannot live with you.
While those are the only 2 automatic disqualifications, other felonies may be disqualifying depending on the nature and age of the offense, and the rules your public housing authority has put in place.
Each housing authority sets its own policies and some are more restrictive than others, but it’s common for drug offenses and offenses involving violence within the last 5 years to be potentially disqualifying. Some housing authorities with stricter policies look at convictions within the last 10 years.
The housing authority may also disqualify your partner if the crime they committed led to eviction from public housing in the past.
However, the housing authority will look at mitigating circumstances and rehabilitation, so even if the felony is fairly recent it may not result in disqualification, and the more supporting documentation you can provide to show evidence of rehabilitation, the better.
The Biden administration has ordered public housing authorities to update their policies so that they don’t unfairly discriminate against individuals with a criminal record, and hopefully this will make life a lot easier for individuals and families that need help to pay their rent.
Must Read: Does My Husband’s Criminal Record Affect Me?
You Must Report Your Marriage To Your Housing Authority
Getting married is a change in your circumstances and as with any change in your circumstances, you must report the marriage to your housing authority within 10 days of your wedding.
Your housing authority will need to amend your file and carry out an income assessment to make sure that you still qualify for Section 8 assistance, and if necessary, they will recalculate the level of assistance you receive.
Your income limit for Section 8 will increase slightly because the size of your household has increased.
As an example, a single parent with 1 child is a 2-person household. Upon marriage to another single parent with 1 child, the family size increases to 4 people and the income limit for a 4-person household now applies.
Let’s look at the income limits in the Los Angeles area to illustrate the difference. The Section 8 income limit for a 2-person household in 2022, is $47,650, and the income limit rises to $59,550 for a 4-person household.
Your housing authority will be able to tell you what the income limits are for your area.
If your new household income is over the limit set for Section 8 housing in your area, you will lose your section 8 support.
And if your household income has increased but is still below the income limit, you may have to contribute a higher amount towards your rent.
Your partner will also need to pass the background check before he/she can be added to your Section 8 agreement.
You Must Comply With The Terms Of Your Lease
As well as meeting the background check requirements and income limits for Section 8, you’ll also need to comply with the conditions of your lease.
You’ll need to check that the new addition to your family doesn’t put you over the maximum occupancy limit for your rental unit, especially if your marriage adds children to your household.
It’s common for landlords to insist on a background check for all adults who will be living in a property, and you may also be required to add your new spouse to your lease.
If your partner doesn’t pass the landlord’s criminal background or credit history check, then your spouse will not be able to live in the property with you, which would mean you’ll have to go through the difficult process of finding a landlord willing to accept Section 8 and your partner’s criminal background.
If you don’t follow the terms of your lease and move your spouse in anyway, your landlord can begin eviction proceedings and you may also lose your Section 8 entitlement.
Having a criminal background is not currently a protected status under the Fair Housing Act, but rules from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which govern the Section 8 program do not allow landlords to apply blanket discrimination against individuals with a criminal background.
Landlords are expected to evaluate applicants on a case-by-case basis and take the nature of the offense, its severity, and its age into account when they make a decision.
Landlords are also prohibited from making a judgment based on a perceived threat and instead must base their decisions on facts and evidence.
Read Also: Apartment For Felons Dallas TX
What Happens If you Don’t Report Your Marriage?
Your spouse can only live with you if they’ve been approved by your public housing authority and your landlord.
If you don’t report your marriage, you risk losing your current housing support and you could be banned from receiving any Section 8 assistance in the future.
Even if your housing authority doesn’t learn about your marriage right away, when it’s time to complete your annual Section 8 recertification, you won’t be able to hide your spouse without committing fraud.
Providing false information on your Section 8 paperwork could result in a felony charge being filed against you.
Tenants in receipt of Section 8 support have to follow certain rules and procedures. One of these rules is the requirement to notify your public housing authority if your family size changes or if your household income changes. You should usually make your notification within 10 days of the change in your circumstances.
Getting married causes a change in the size of your family and may cause a change in your income, so you must report your marriage.
Your partner or spouse will have to pass a background check with the housing authority and depending on the policy in place at your PHA, their felony may be disqualifying.
If your housing authority allows your partner to live with you, you’ll need to inform your landlord who may want to run a background check of their own, and depending on their criteria, they may refuse to allow your partner to live in their property.
Because so much is at stake, it’s a good idea to fully investigate the likely effect your marriage will have on your Section 8 tenancy before you get married.
Robert Eric (a lover of Cats and Dogs) is the co-founder of HireFelonsJobs. In our search for a better life, after… A platform was created for the purpose of easing the search for ex-convicts.