Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in Orlando

Section 8 in Orlando authorizes the government to pay a portion of your rent if you are low-income, elderly, or disabled.
Written by Kathryn Mae Kurlychek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Sep 27, 2022
If you live in
and make 50% or less than the median income, you likely qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers, which allow the government to pay for a percentage of your monthly rent. 
The Section 8 housing program, established in the early 1970s, creates opportunities for low-income families, the elderly, and disabled people to access safe and affordable housing. Section 8 housing vouchers authorize the government to subsidize a portion of your rent—potentially up to 70%, depending on your income. 
With overburdened systems, long waitlists, and extensive paperwork, securing the housing you need in your community can feel overwhelming. 
, the
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has put together this quick and simple guide on how to find Section 8 housing in Orlando,
. In this article, we’ll cover what the program is, whether you qualify, and how you can find housing in the City Beautiful. 

What is Section 8 housing?

Section 8 is a federal affordable housing program that allows very low-income families, as well as elderly or disabled people, to receive partial subsidies on their rent payments. 
The name itself comes from Section 8 of the 1974 Housing and Community Development Act, which originally established the housing voucher program. 
Here’s how Section 8 works:
  • Eligible tenants can apply to their local housing authority for housing choice vouchers or project based vouchers to qualify for rental assistance.
  • Housing choice vouchers allow tenants to live in any apartment that fits the qualifications specified on the voucher. 
  • Project based vouchers are attached to specific properties and allow landlords to designate certain units as low-income dwellings.
  • The housing authority assigns vouchers for a specific number of bedrooms based on family size and composition.
  • Tenants who apply for housing with a housing choice voucher can’t be required to pay more than 40% of their income in rent—the government pays the rest.
Basically, Section 8 helps increase access to decent and affordable housing for those citizens most in need. 

Section 8 obligations

There are a number of responsibilities placed upon tenants, landlords, and local housing authorities to successfully comply with Section 8 guidelines. 
Below, we’ve outlined the basic obligations of each party:
Housing authority
Provide accurate and complete documentation
Screen tenants
Determine applicants’ eligibility and issue vouchers
Find suitable housing and complete all required paperwork before voucher expires
Comply with fair housing laws
Approve units, rental amounts, and leases
Pay rent promptly and attend all required appointments
Complete all necessary repairs and maintenance
Inspect subsidized units annually
Notify the housing authority of any changes in income or family composition
Provide housing authority with documentation of any notices to tenant, including eviction notices
Ensure that both tenants and landlords comply with program rules
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Key takeaway Section 8 regulates accessible and decent housing for low-income families, the elderly, and those living with disabilities—but getting your housing voucher is a lengthy 

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Orlando?

In Orlando, Section 8 housing is managed by the
Orlando Housing Authority (OHA)
. Eligibility for housing choice vouchers through the OHA is determined based on US Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines, but generally individuals or families who make 50% or less of the median income may qualify for housing vouchers. 
The exact amount covered by the government depends on factors like gross annual income and family size and composition. 
To qualify for housing choice vouchers in Orlando, you must be at least 18 years old (or an emancipated minor), a US citizen or documented immigrant, and have no recent record of crimes or evictions. 
If you’ve had serious priors in your past (like methamphetamine manufacture) or are a registered sex offender, your application will likely be denied. 
The HUD takes into consideration the following streams of income when calculating your eligibility for Section 8 housing vouchers: 
  • Wages
  • Business income
  • Interest
  • Social security benefits
  • Welfare assistance
  • Alimony and child support
As of 2020, the median household income in Orlando is $68,100. However, qualifying income levels for Section 8 are not determined by income alone—the OHA also considers family size and composition when determining eligibility. 
Eligible individuals and families in Orlando generally must pay only 30% of their adjusted gross annual income in rent—the rest is subsidized by the government. 
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how applicants are assessed for eligibility in Orlando:
Family size
Extremely low-income
Very low-income

How to apply for Section 8 housing in Orlando

To apply for a Section 8 housing choice voucher, you must submit an application through the
OHA’s website
. Orlando’s system is often overburdened, and may not always be accepting new applications—so it’s important to check the OHA site often to stay up-to-date on when you can apply
If you have a disability or require assistance filling out an application, you can visit the
OHA’s accessibility page
Most applications are added to a waitlist, where processing can take a lengthy amount of time. Once you’ve been deemed eligible by your local housing authority, you’ll have 60 days (approximately two months) to secure a suitable dwelling. 

How to find Section 8 housing in Orlando

In Orlando, tenants can search for suitable housing anywhere in the city, so long as the housing meets the requirements established by the voucher. 
Landlords who offer Section 8 housing still maintain private property rights, and lease agreements will occur directly between the landlord and the tenant.
To find available Section 8 housing in Orlando, you can use
or check out the HUD’s
resource map
When searching for housing, make sure to keep a record of the process, including documentation of any meetings with landlords, and extra copies of any submitted applications. 
If you’re struggling to secure adequate housing within the 60-day period, you may be eligible for an extension—but you’ll likely have to prove that you’ve been working hard to find housing. 
Once you’ve been approved by your landlord, you’ll both have to sign and submit a Request for Tenancy Form to the OHA to ensure the rent payment meets your necessary income requirements. 
Once the OHA approves the lease, they’ll schedule an inspection to make sure the unit is compliant with the housing choice voucher and Section 8 guidelines. 

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