FAQ #1: Can a convicted felon get Section 8?

One of the most frequently asked question is can a convicted felon qualify for Section 8?

The answer depends on a number of factors and the type of felony conviction. The application process for section 8 does necessitate a criminal background check so it is a pertinent question.

There are 2 felonies that will exclude you from obtaining a section 8 voucher forever; If you have a lifetime registration on the sex registry or if you sold meth anywhere near public housing facilities. If you already have section 8 and commit one of these felonies you will have your voucher revoked immediately and will never be eligible again.

Any other felony is really on a case by case basis. Most counties will typically allow you into the program if the felony was not committed in the past 5 years. It can be less if you attended Rehab and received a certificate of compliance.

One thing to note is even if you are accepted into the section 8 program, potential landlords can (and usually do) also require their own background check and may not rent to you if you have any convictions on your record. Though that also is on a case by case basis.


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  1. Amanda higgins says:

    I’m on section 8 in IL .and my husband got a domestic violence charge but not convinced. The charges are going to b dropped..will he still get kicked off if he don’t get convicted?

  2. dior love says:

    I have a felony for obstruction of justice to unarmed robbery it’s 5years old I have section 8 in knoxville but want to transfer to Michigan which is the state of my felony well I lose my section 8 if i try to transfer

  3. I’ve been on Hud for 2 years and I have 2 children. I was wondering if my boyfriend could be added on my housing, he has a felony assault (DV) from 2008. He had been to prison several times before that. He’s 39 now and hasn’t been in any trouble since that charge when he was 31. I live in Mendocino county in Northern California.

    • After 5 years of your conviction you can apply for section-8…..that’s Nj law… Not sure about anywhere else….

    • Don’t do it…..it says after 5 years you can get section-8 in nj law books anyway….. But don’t do it…..sec-8 is very important to have……

  4. Elizabeth Gould Benjamin says:

    I have a fancee who’s felony can we get section 8 together

  5. Hello I’m currently on section 8 out of Sacramento, ca and I’m trying port into phoenix Arizona I’m on probation til January 29 2016 for a dui will I be denied to port into their jurisdiction

  6. My sister currently on Section 8 with her daughter and child. It’s was time for their recertification and the PHA sends out a forum requiring a criminal record check. They have never done that before they have been on the program for years. What would cause such a strange action.

    • Anglea,

      I work for HUD and the answer is the agent does have the right to run criminal background checks at recertificaiton as long as it is done for every tenant at the property. They cannot do it just for one household, it must be across the board. This is being done to see if any tenants has any criminal charges that may be serious and can the agent can then eithe rnot recertify the tenant or begin the eviciton process.

  7. Thanks tommi

  8. HI I’ve been wanting to apply for public housing but not sure if I can because I’m a felon for breaking my ex’s windshield to his eighteen wheeler yea

  9. I have a vocher in Hampton I just caught a felony grandllarcy last year I’m trying to port to Atlanta Ga Will they send my vocher back

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