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Section 8 FAQ's

When may I come into the office if I don’t have an appointment?

The office is open to participants without appointments on Tuesdays from 9:00-3:30 and Thursdays from 1:30-3:30.

How do I notify the PHA if I have a change in my income?

You must change your income by coming into the office during the times listed above.  If you cannot come into the office, send a letter to your Program Representative and follow-up with a phone call to be sure that the letter arrived.

Why is reporting all  my income and any changes so important?

The amount of rental assistance you receive is determined by your income.  If you are not reporting all household income, you are receiving more subsidy than you need which is a federal and state crime.  The information that you report is sent to Washington and is checked against other wage and benefit databases.  When your name is flagged that there is unreported income, you will receive a notice from Providence Housing to repay the full amount within 60 days.  Failure to do so will result in termination from the program and you also will not be eligible to move to any other subsidized housing in the country.  Your name will be flagged in a database so that you will not receive rental assistance in the future.  You are also subject to State and/or Federal prosecution criminally and/or civilly.

What should I do if my new job is temporary?

You must report the new job to your Program Representative within ten days even if you think it may be temporary.

What should I do if my adult child who lives with me is working but I do not know where and he/she doesn’t give me any money anyway?

As Head of Household, you are responsible for all information concerning every member of your household.  Your child must sign release waivers and provide the name and address of his/her employer.  Failure to do so results in the loss of rental assistance for the whole family.

What should I do when I want to add someone to my lease?

You must come into the office on the days listed above.  Please bring his/her  birth certificate, and Social Security Card.  If the person is 18 years or older, he/she must accompany you, sign release waivers and produce a picture ID.

Can I add my boyfriend/girlfriend to the lease?

A boyfriend/girlfriend must be added to the lease if he/she is living in the unit.  They must, however, go through the same screening process as you.  You must bring him/her to the office with his/her birth certificate, Social Security Card, income and picture ID.  After signing waivers, a criminal check will be done.  After passing the screening, if your owner has no objections, he/she will be added to the lease

If someone has a criminal record is he/she automatically ineligible?

Violent or drug related criminal activity within the past five years may cause someone to be ineligible.  You have the right to a hearing during which you may produce any additional information such as rehabilitation, etc.

What should I do when I want to move?

You must come into the office on a Tuesday from 9:00-3:30 or a Thursday from 1:30-3:30 to request a thirty (30) day notice.  You must have your owner sign the form at least 30 days before you plan to move into the new unit.  Return this to your Representative who will then give you a Request for Tenancy Approval.  The new owner must complete and sign this form.

What if my owner/agent refuses to sign the 30 Day Notice?

If you are unable to hand-deliver the 30 Day Notice, to the owner, you may send it certified mail only to the owner/agent and return the receipt (green card once signed) to your Program Representative.

Can I have pets?

Whether pets are allowed in your home is your owner’s decision.  It will be indicated on your lease.  If you get a pet after the lease was signed, you must check with the owner.  If he/she states that you can have the pet, you must get that in writing and give a copy to your Program Representative.  If you do not have the agreement in writing, it could be a reason for eviction in the future and would jeopardize your voucher.

What should I do if there is no heat/ a window is broken/ no water  or other repair to be made?

Contact your landlord first.  If he/she does not respond within a reasonable time, call your Program Representative to schedule a complaint inspection.

How can I get an extra bedroom for my children?

Children of the same sex share one bedroom without regard to age.  If there is a significant medical reason that they need separate rooms, you must bring a doctor’s letter for consideration of approval.

What should I do if I receive a legal notice from the owner/agent?

If you receive a legal notice from the owner, please bring a copy to your Program Representative and contact your personal attorney or a representative from RI Legal Services (274-2652).  Do NOT ignore any legal notice.

Can I pay my rent in cash?

It is preferable that you pay your rent by check or money order so that you have a receipt, and payment can be traced if the owner doesn’t receive it.  If you must pay in cash, ask for a receipt immediately.

The owner is not fixing the violations.  Can I stop paying the rent?

You are always responsible for paying your portion of the rent.  Contact your legal advisor if you think you may have other options.  Your Program Representative is responsible for having the owner rectify the problem or advise you to move.

What should I do if the owner/agent is asking me to pay more money for rent? 

Notify your Program Representative immediately and do not pay any additional amounts requested.  The Section 8 Lease is the lease in effect no matter what other agreement that you may have made.

The owner refuses to accept my rent check?

Notify your Program Representative and contact your legal advisor.

The owner told me that I have to pay for the utilities but the lease says everything is included.  What should I do?

Notify your Program Representative immediately and do not make any changes unless authorized by a PHA Representative.

Can the utilities be in someone else’s name?

The Head of Household should be the responsible party for the utilities.  If the family is responsible for utilities, they must be turned on.  They cannot be in the owner’s name if, according to the lease, the tenant is responsible.  What the utility companies permit is their policy.  The PHA’s policy is that the utilities must be on and we will require further documentation if it is in anyone else’s name that is other than head of household.

What should I do if I receive a termination letter?

Request an informal hearing within ten days of the date the letter was sent and follow the instructions in the letter.

Who do I contact if I am interested in Family Self-Sufficiency?

For more information, call (401) 709- 6406, or (401) 709-6407.

What is Homeownership?

Homeownership allows qualified families to buy a single family house and continue receiving voucher assistance towards their mortgage.  For more information, call one of the numbers listed above or attend the orientation which is held the last Saturday of each month at 9:00 a.m. at the PHA Offices at 50 Laurel Hill Ave.

Can I leave Providence with my voucher?

Yes, however, you must contact your Program Representative.  You must give 30 day written notice to your landlord and the paperwork must be transferred to the new Housing Authority.  You may look for housing anywhere in the United States or its territories which operate a Voucher Program.

What should I do if I think that I have been discriminated against?

Report all cases of housing discrimination to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Complete HUD Form 903.1 which is included in your briefing packet or ask your Program Representative for a copy.  You can also file online at

What should I do if the owner sells the property?

The owner must contact the PHA prior to the sale of the property.  After the sale, the new owner should contact your Program Representative and provide documents.  If the owner wants you to move from the property, he must send you something in writing.  When you receive it, provide a copy to your Program Representative and contact your legal advisor.  Never vacate before speaking to your Program Representative and a legal advisor about your rights.

What should I do if the owner wants to terminate the lease?

You must bring a copy of the notice to your Program Representative who will advise you based on the reason the owner wants you to vacate.  If the Owner has not given you a written notice you do not have to leave the apartment.  Never vacate before speaking to your Program Representative and a legal advisor about your rights.

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