Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)

The Project-Based Section 8 Rental Assistance is a government-funded program that provides affordable apartment communities that are owned and managed by private landlords with a rental subsidy that helps pay the rent for low income tenants.  Called the Total Tenant Payment (TTP), program tenants pay either 1) 10% of their monthly income (gross income minus exclusions), 2) 30% of their monthly adjusted income (gross income minus exclusions and deductions) or 3) a minimum rent of $25.  The subsidy stays with the building; when you move out, you no longer have the rental assistance.

How do you know if you are eligible to participate in this program?

Step 1: Confirm that you meet the basic qualifications

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, and a United States citizen or noncitizen who has eligible immigration status.  Single persons are eligible, as well as households with or without children.  HUD commonly refers to a household as a “family,” so don’t let that term confuse you.  A “family” consists of one or more persons, and having children is not required to be considered a “family.”  However, single persons are not permitted to occupy an apartment unit with two or more bedrooms.  If a Project-Based Section 8 property does not have any one bedroom units, a single person household would not qualify.  Eligible immigration status includes a lawful permanent resident; registry immigrant; refugee or asylee; conditional entrant; parolee; withholding grantee; person granted 1986 amnesty status; resident of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and Guam; victim or relative of a victim of trafficking.

Step 2: Calculate your household’s income

A household’s gross annual income is used to determine eligibility for occupancy, which is the total amount of money earned by all adult members of the household.  The household must make less than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) of the area they are applying to.  This is referred to as the income limit, and the amount increases for each additional member of the household (including children).  The income limit for the Cumberland and Allegany County area can be found on our Home page in the section of the chart titled “Section 8 PBRA/Multi Family & LIHTC.”   There are many possible adjustments to a household’s gross income including exclusions (like the income of household members under 18) and deductions (unreimbursed medical expenses).  Because determining income is so complex, we recommend you contact each property to determine if you are eligible and what your rent will be.

Step 3: Determine if there are any restrictions

A Project-Based Section 8 community may be reserved for elderly or disabled tenants.  It may also have a closed waiting list.

Step 4: Be aware of common factors that may disqualify an application

Applicants will have to submit to a Resident Check which includes a investigation and review of the tenants data provided, criminal records, credit report, housing history and utility debt.  An applicant is not required to have good credit, but a poor credit report may make you ineligible.  Credit decisions are made on a property by property basis and depending on the geographic area and financial standards of each property owner, your credit requirements can be very different for each apartment property you apply to.  The household’s rental history is also taken into consideration.  A list of prior landlords will be required, including the address of the property and landlord contact information.  In addition, the property manager may contact previous landlords for a reference.  If you have a poor track record as a tenant at other properties, you could be at risk of being rejected as a qualifying tenant.  Always try to keep a good relationship with every landlord and never leave a lease on bad terms.  A criminal background check will be required, as well.  Having a criminal record may make it difficult for a person to be approved for housing, but it does not automatically disqualify them.  A person with an arrest record, but no conviction, has a greater chance of qualifying over someone who has been convicted of a crime.  Each property operates differently, but may allow persons with a criminal record to qualify based on the length of time since the offense occurred, and the severity of the crime.  Persons on any state lifetime sex offender registry are ineligible as well.