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. Jay jay says:

    Can you get section 8 with a Misdeanor from 5 years ago? In Seattle washington? Would they Denial my application?

  2. bryan adams says:

    I was just released from prison in Arkansas for theft by receiving.I’m on parole since Sept of2015 I’m trying to get sect 8 or subsidized low income apt.I’m also disabled for last 23years.will this prevent me from getting assistance

    • I already have hud here in Arkansas I live in an apt already my boyfriend is getting out of prison were getting married asap will any of this affect my hud he has no job or income

  3. Antwan Mills says:

    If my mom has section 8 in Miami Dade I have a felony it’s been 7 years ago can I be added to her lease she is disabled and I help her a lot

  4. connie mcdaniel says:

    I need low income housing, I’m disabled, I was convicted of distribution , I admitted to giving a friend a pain pill.

  5. melvin j arnold says:

    I have a felony record from 5 years ago. I live in,La. Can I get Hud assistance. I am terminally ill.

  6. I was convicted of a felony dwi on 2012 mu application was pulled for section8 will I be denied

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      You should be fine.

    • R u sure I live in Monroe county and was told they don’t allow felons to receive section 8 of its within 5years

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Possible. but usually if you have not had any run ins since your conviction they let it slide. Perhaps Monroe county is strict on this, I don’t know.

  7. If i have a misdemeanor domestic violence from 7 years ago will i be denied for housing hope (section 8)?

  8. I have a felony for forgery that I caught the end Of last year is it possible parma section 8 will denie me

  9. dion johnson says:

    I’m in LA county and have a misdemeanor for disturbing the peace and also was involved in a felony case that was robbery but it got dismissed/terminated, i was not convicted. this all happened in the same year; 8 years ago Will i be denied still.

  10. dion johnson says:

    I’m in LA county and have a misdemeanor for disturbing the peace and also was involved in a felony case that was robbery but it got dismissed/terminated, i was not convicted. this all happened in the same year; 8 years ago Will i be denied still.

  11. Stephanie says:

    I have a felony from five years ago in August but I completed rehab and got a certificate.i want to apply for HUD..how does that work…can I get HUD

  12. I had section 8 in Mich. My son was with some friends who got pulled over who had weed on them. He didn’t an wasn’t charged. But I got revoked cuz he was in the car!! My question is I moved to another state alone cuz he grew up an moved out. It was over 7 yrs ago. Can I ever receive it again ?

  13. My boyfriend and I are planning on getting married…I have section 8 and want to add him to my case! He was imprisoned for two yrs on a drug conspiracy! Had nothing to do with meth or heroin and he has changed his life, works and is going to school…would they deny him to be added even if its not h.o.h??

  14. SAVANNAH says:

    I live In broward County Fl, and I have a 3rd degree felony (possession of cocaine) that I am fighting right now, so the case is still open. would that be an issue for me to get section 8? I’m currently on the waiting list.

  15. I have a misdemeanor charge for rendering criminal assistance it’s a gross misdemeanor I got a deferred sentence it was back in 2009. Will I be denied section 8 I live in Seattle Washington. My interview is coming up afraid of getting denied??

  16. Katherine Dean says:

    I have 6 charges 3misd.3 felonies its been over 5 years can I get se seection 8 in Florida

  17. Ms. Taylor says:

    I got a citation for misdemeanor poss. Of Marijuana in adjudication was withheld could i loose my section 8 housing since i was never convicted of it??

  18. I am a single.mother of four. Have to domestics and an assault.and i.keep getting denied section 8 i gets.no help from.dhs or other organizations. They.turn.me away and.i.still.do not see y i cannot get approved. I need help

  19. Just wanted to know if I would need to be worried about getting my voucher have 2 shoplifting charges one from 2008 the other from 2014 Jan. Both are misdemeanor would this affect me being approved for my voucher?

  20. Rebecca says:

    i live in South Carolina and i was sentenced on a drug conspiracy of distribution in federal court in 2009. i also have a high misdemeanor for credit card fraud will that prevent me from getting help with housing or and apartment and which program should i try to go to. im homeless along with my son and daughter and really need advice on what to do.

  21. b fenster says:

    I am an ex felon and I am on parole can I still get section 8. My charge is older than 7 years. It war for enbelzelment

  22. samantha says:

    I am currently on section 8. I would like to add my boyfriend, he has theft of a motor vehicle charge from 2008. Will we get denied for putting him on the case?

  23. I have a drug conviction.Its 10 years old an i have 2 kids.Can i get on hud.

  24. I am seeking to live in a ‘low-income’ 55+ apartment complex (operated under Section 42 of the LIHTC Program of the Internal Revenue Code.)

    I have an insurance fraud felony on my record from the 1980’s. But a clean record since. I ‘ve been in public housing for the past 5 years and seeking the move. I have passed the Section 8 background check but am concerned about the new property (where I’ve just passed a credit check – but told nothing about a criminal check just yet)

    Could you please just offer your ‘gut’ feeling (since I am sure you couldn’t answer with certainty)….Thanks!

  25. My boyfriend has a felony on his record and wants to apply for income based housing in south Carolina will be be denied?

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Depends what the felony is, how long ago he was convicted, and his status since then.

  26. I just got called in for section 8 but it say on the letter they do crimnal back ground and my last drug conviction was in 2011 is been about 4/12 years ago I’ve done all my programs and been out of trouble sens you think I would get denied please get back to me thank yoy

  27. jackee griffith says:

    I just got approved and was in the process of getting my voucher just waiting on the housing authority to inspect my apartment I was arrested last Friday for a felony tampering with government documents it us a big misunderstanding that will me cleared up in court but I have not yet been indicted nor have I been convicted and they yanked my voucher. How is this legal? Supposed to be innocent until proven guilty but its more like guilty until proven innocent!

  28. Im getting married and my fiance had a felony about 5 years ago i am on section8 can i lose it

  29. Brittany says:

    I have a misdemeanor facilitate to escape 2nd degree that happened in August of 2014.Am I still eligible for HUD??

  30. What about when the conviction is 10yrs old but you just were released? Are they going to go off of the relase date or conviction date? Thanks for this forum!

  31. shauna lear says:

    Well I’m in Columbus Ohio I have a m1 theft can I lose my voucher that I already have??

  32. I just recevied a letter stating i have reached the top of my wait list in massachusetts i have a felony from about 5 -6 years ago for insurance fraud will that affect my eligibility no drug or violance on my record

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      It may.

    • How is that so when i have not been in any trouble since then and the case has been over 5 years old i have no drugs or violence. How far do they go back?

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      They can go back as far as they want. Most likely you should be fine as 5 years seems to be the standard.

    • specially when im reading ppl will not be faulted for jail time for drug charges (hence below comments)

  33. El Diego Tinnin says:

    I’m was moved to Section 8 program I have a assault with deadly weapon turned in to a misdemeanor will it make me lose my voucher

  34. I have to go to my section eight class today I have a charge from 2009 for conspiracy and possession of intent to distribute did t two years on probation and 107 days in jail will that stop me from getting section 8

  35. Im waiting for the approval or denial letter for section 8..I went to my first appointment …I recently have a theft charge a misdemeanor 1 on my record but im currently in a diversion program..will I be denied??

  36. My fiancée and I been struggling to find a house who had felony since almost 6 years now so we have a beautiful daughter. can u please help me out with section 8 that can accept felony

  37. I’m on disability and my husband is ex felon of 28 years we have been applying for apts and because of the felonies we’re being denied. Is there any thing we can do about this situation? We need to be in a low income housing not able for being denied. Thank you

  38. I have an upcoming appointment for the Section 8 voucher program in Lee County, Florida. I am aware that my prior convictions from five years prior will not disqualify me. However, I am currently on probation with Florida Department of Corrections for Grand Theft which began this past July. I have thus far, been succesful with completing the conditions and am up to date on monetary obligations. Would this disqualify me? Should I even bother attending the appointment and making the effort to take time off work to gather the required documentation? Is this something that is recognized on a case-by-case basis? Would it be beneficial to obtain letters of recommendation from my family, clergy and employer?

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Yes, definitely do not blow it off. You should attend the appointment and make all the effort necessary. It’s unlikely the grand then charge will disqualify you.

    • Thank you for your prompt response. I read somewhere that my application may be placed on hold until the probation is completed. But you’re right, I’ll never know unless I try. Hopefully it will all work out.

  39. I’m on section 8 in new hampshire. My fiance is due to get out of prison, on parole. He’s been in since 2012 will be put 2016. He has multiple felonies, nothing drug related. Theft n domestic. Would he be able to live with me once 5 yrs passes? He’s taken classes while in prison, and has to take one once he’s out.



  41. I have a misdemeanor simple assault from 2011 and was put on unsupervised probation for a year, will that disqualify me from section 8?

  42. I was recently denied but have a hearing next week …i have a open court case could that be the reason i was denied? I recently got it dismissed could i be approved with proof if dimissed?

  43. My fiance is currently in rpf in arkansas. We were kicked off hud because he had charges pending. They dropped all charges except poss of meth. I since have my hud back when he comes home will I be kicked back off even though he no longer has intent to deliver on his charges? My landlord doesn’t care I’m worried about section 8 hud

  44. Alonzo Hill says:

    im no longer on parole or probation. my application was pulled in the lottery. Will I be denied because of my pass life history with the law. for section8 2015 lottery drawing………in Ohio or can I transferred somewhere that doesn’t discriminate against felons……


  46. Julani Smith says:

    My Husband was charged with 2 robbery & one drug sale. Non violent. Can he be released to me on parole if I live n housing in NY.

  47. Will I be denied moving papers and lose my section 8 because since being a participant I have been charged with a felony(Id theft and unauthorized use of credit card )and sentenced probation and I completed it successfully. The charge was back in 2006 and probation completed in 2008. Now I want to move but im afraid when I apply for moving papers due to background check I may lose my section 8.

  48. Will I be denied moving papers and lose my section 8 because since being a participant I have been charged with a felony(Id theft and unauthorized use of credit card )and sentenced probation and I completed it successfully. The charge was back in 2006 and probation completed in 2008. Now I want to move but im afraid when I apply for moving papers due to background check I may lose my section 8. What should I do?

  49. Looks like there’s no sense asking anything here. I don’t see any real answers to anything. I will tell the people I know who need answers what I have been telling them. If you don’t ask, and you don’t try, you will never get anywhere.So file for housing and see what happens. The worst they can do is get turned down.

    • Yes! I completely agree. The worst that could happen is they deny you. I think for the majority, most things, such as criminal records, are handled on a case by case basis with the exception of some charges (i.e. drug trafficking, sex charges, etc). They usually have a housing authority website for each county outlining what their criteria are for determining eligibility and even goes as far as outlining the exact income limits. Long story short, GREAT advice! Just apply and see what happens!

  50. I have section 8 and been recently charged with identity theft, forgery and embezzling will I lose my voucher

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