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How to Apply for HUD

Updated on October 11, 2010

The Mental Aspect

A lot of people are uncomfortable with applying for any type of aid. If you're reading this article, you are probably at least toying with the idea. There is no need to be shy about applying. Either you will be approved or you won't be, and it's not a big deal either way. A lot of people work hard, and still need a bit of help to make ends meet. The branches of HUD were created to help people like you, and if you don't take advantage of the program, someone else will. 

Applying for HUD is quick and painless, though the waiting list is long. The sooner you apply, the better.

Section 8 Housing Assistance

There are a few misconceptions about the HUD Section 8 program. Many believe being a part of this means living in a project. It can be project based, yes, but it is also "tenant based" where the individual can find their own place in the private sector. The quality of HUD Section 8 rentals is generally higher than people assume, and it's a good fit for many people.

The family pays a portion of the rent, but usually no more than 30% of their monthly income. HUD pays the difference after the family pays their share, but the rental is subject to a cap called "Fair Market Rent". Because of this, not all landlords accept HUD.

For landlords, there are pros and cons for opening up a property to HUD.


It makes it easier to rent a property, since there are many individuals looking for a HUD home.

Stability of rent payments.

Renter's desire to be good tenants due to potentially being removed from the program completely if they are not. 


Government inspections and perceived involvement in the landlord's life.

Perceived quality of tenants. Misconceptions about the type of people on HUD.

Inability to charge a higher amount for rent.

The Application Process

Can I Apply For HUD Section 8 Online?

Some cities have stepped into modern times and have created online forms. Most use the traditional paper forms. Some cities will mail the forms to you, while others require that you pick them up. The only way to know is to look up your local HUD office.

Here is a link to the US PHA By State:

You can find the name and address of your local branch there. Then you can put that information into Google and if your branch has a website it will come up. Not all offices do, but at least you'll have the address and phone number if nothing else.

Once you have the application in hand, fill it out to the best of your knowledge. If it's a paper form, keep in mind that it is just a snapshot in time. It needs to be 100% accurate right now. But it's okay if things change, because if you're going to be on a waiting list for 1-4 years it is to be expected. And yes, that's how long the waiting period is. That's why it is best to apply sooner than later.

If your city has moved to an online application, it may be possible to update your information to reflect any changes in your life. If possible, keep it updated regularly.

Special Situations

Is there anything that can make my wait shorter?

If you're disabled, you will be put ahead of any single person under the age of 62. Other than that, no, there is nothing that can make the wait shorter.

Can I live in a HUD home and use or grow medical marijuana?

The federal government still sees marijuana as an illegal substance. Since this is a federal program the California Compassionate Use Act does not apply. Therefore, it is strictly prohibited. If an individual is found to be growing or in possession of pot, they will be terminated from the program immediately.

I'm being evicted, can HUD help me?

HUD does not provide emergency shelter. HUD was established for the long term goal of affordable housing.

Income Limits

50% of Median Family Income
Family Size
Per Month

Finding HUD Housing

Your local office should provide you with a list of landlords that accept HUD. Also look in normal rental listings. If they don't mention HUD, keep a positive attitude. If the landlord really hated HUD, they would have said something about it in the ad, especially on Craigslist where they have all the space in the world. Go look at the rental, ask all the normal questions, and ask them if they accept HUD. If they say no, ask them to consider it. It never hurts to ask. And if they see you standing in front of them asking them about it, they might consider it, depending on the impression you've made.

Other HUD Services

Incentive Programs: One example is the Good Neighbor Next Door Program, which enables firefighters, police officers, teachers and EMTs to purchase certain HUD homes for 50% the value of the home, with a $100 dollar down payment for those who qualify. Qualifications aren't hard to fulfill.

HUD as lending facilitator: HUD assists low to moderate income families in acquiring loans to purchase housing.

Home Ownership Counseling: HUD offers counseling on a wide range of home ownership issues, from the first time buyer to those facing foreclosure.

I love reader input. Have something to add? Have a question? Please feel free to post in the comments.


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