INCREASES IN SECTION 8
Rents in Section 8 housing are
NOT covered by rent control in San
Francisco. The Housing Authority sets the rules that govern rent
Your rent can only be increased
by the San Francisco Housing Authority
(SFHA)'s Section 8 program. You should only pay more rent if you have
been told to do so in writing by the SFHA. Your landlord does not have
the right to raise your rent.
If your landlord wants more
money for rent, he/she must request it from
the SFHA. If the SFHA approves, they will pay more towards your rent.
it will not change the amount you pay for rent (called the "tenant
portion"), except if the rent approved is over the "payment standard"
(see below for more on these these type of rent increases).
Landlords can not charge you
more than what the Housing Authority has
approved. It is illegal for a Section 8 landlord to ask for or
accept "side payments" from tenants.
Can Rent Be
There are very few reasons why
your rent can be increased in Section 8
housing. It can be raised only if:
- Your household income increases
- You move and start a new tenancy
- The SFHA approves a "contract" rent that is higher than the
- The SFHA lowers their "payment standard" (the amount that
the Housing Authority will pay overall for rent on a unit of a
When Can Rent
Your rent can only be
increased once a year on your
must be given 30 days notice in writing from the Housing
When contract rent is
than the payment standard.
are 2 situations where you
can be required to pay over 40% of your income for rent:
when the SFHA approves a rent that is higher than the SFHA's payment
standard and when HUD reduces the Fair Market Rents to less your
1. If your landlord asks the Housing Authority for a rent increase that
is higher than the "payment standard" and the SFHA approves, you can be
required to pay the extra rent on top of what you already pay.
When this happens, however, your landlord will only be able to raise
your rent by a small percentage in the future.
2. If the payment standard is reduced (which happens when HUD
reduces the FMR), you can be required to pay the difference in rent
between what the SFHA can pay and what you currently have been
This was mostly a problem in
2005, when HUD lowered its "Fair Market
Rents". Some Section 8
voucher holders received very large rent increases. Below are some
that explain why this happened and what tenants and advocates can do to
address an unaffordable rent increase.
Tenants Article by
SFHA Administrator Tony Uccifferri about the FMR rent increases
Letter sent by the Mayor to Section 8 landlords
Important things to know about this type of
- You must be given 90 days (3
months) written notice by the
Housing Authority before the rent increase goes into effect.
- The rent increase can only be
given on the second
anniversary date after your move-in.
- your rent CAN be increased to
over 40% of your income with
this type of increase.
- If you are disabled, you
can request more assistance from
the SFHA towards your rent.
you get an "FMR" rent
One of the most
useful first steps in
attempting to roll back a rent increase is simply to contact your
landlord. Below is a sample letter you can send. We also suggest you
include the letter that the Mayor wrote urging Section 8 Landlords to
consider lowering their rents in these situations.
It also helps if you include information
"comparable rents." If you show your landlord that the rent for your
unit is above other market rents in your neighborhood, he/she may be
more inclined to lower it. Go to "Craigslist"
or the "SFGate"classified
ads and search for same size units in your neighborhood to include in