Once you get your Section 8 voucher, you should guard it with your life, as it can help you fix your finances well into the future. Here are several mistakes to avoid, as they can lead you to lose your voucher.

If you need help right away, this relief program will direct deposit a short term loan into your bank account. Review the terms of this funding closely before accepting these funds.

There’s a misconception that Section 8 serves as emergency rental assistance. In other words, people think they can rely on it for instant help when they can’t pay the rent.

Why can’t you rely on Section 8 for emergency rent assistance? Because, depending on where you live, it could take you a year or longer to get your housing voucher. Why the long wait? Because demand for Section 8 is very high, while the funding for the program is limited.

Combine those two, and you could see yourself sitting on a Section 8 waiting list for multiple years.

Is this “bad news” meant to scare you? Absolutely not, as you can use Section 8 to make rent much more affordable for the long term. And you can start by contacting your Public Housing Agency (PHA) to begin your Section 8 application. Why did we mention the long wait then? To emphasize the importance of securing a Housing Choice Voucher. So when you get one, you should do everything in your power to keep it.

As with most forms of government assistance, you’ll need to follow some rules to maintain Section 8 eligibility. If you break them, you could lose your voucher, which could mean a return to the days of having to pay your rent in full versus just 30 percent of it out of pocket.

What are some big no-nos that can cause you to forfeit your Section 8 voucher? Have a look:

Section 8 Mistakes to Avoid

Violating Your Lease

Even though Section 8 is government assistance, you’ll still be dealing with a landlord. When you sign your lease, the landlord will lay out rules to follow. If you don’t, they could evict you, leading to a loss of your voucher.

Lying To the PHA

The PHA is the main link between you and your Housing Choice Voucher. You’ll be working with them to apply for Section 8, and you’ll continue that relationship when you’re a Section 8 tenant.

Throughout the relationship, you’ll need to maintain open communication lines where you relay information about your situation. For instance, you’ll need to disclose your household income, as it plays a huge part in determining your Section 8 eligibility. You’ll also need to keep your PHA up to date on any changes to your household. So, if you have a baby, you’ll need to report that to the PHA. Or if someone moves out, that will need to be disclosed too.

Failure to report such information can lead the PHA to terminate your assistance. Even if it negatively impacts your voucher, be sure to tell the truth so you can maintain assistance and avoid fraud.

Damage and Disturbances

It’s rather obvious, but any damages to property that you don’t fix or domestic disturbances can lead to issues with your landlord, which can trigger the PHA to stop assistance.

Criminal Activity

One of the quickest ways to lose your Section 8 assistance is to engage in violent or drug-related criminal activity.

Not Paying the Rent

With a voucher, you’ll only have to pay about 30 percent of your rent. The voucher will take care of the rest. If you don’t pay your portion on time, you could lose your assistance.

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