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Section 8 Rental Assistance Programs offer rental assistance to persons with low-income who wish to live in homes in the private rental market, but cannot afford market rental rates.

For more information, please see the menu choices below.


2012 Section 8 Administrative Plan

As of June 23, 2008, CHA will use SCHousingSearch.com to list available units for Section 8 voucher holders.

Click here to read a letter from Executive Director Gilbert Walker.


Section 8 Rental Assistance Programs offer rental assistance to persons with low-income who wish to live in homes in the private rental market, but cannot afford market rental rates. Section 8 participants pay 30% of their adjusted gross income for rent and utilities. The Housing Authority Assistance Payments Program subsidizes the balance of rent for the property owner.

CHA administers approximately 3,100 Vouchers and Moderate Rehabilitation Certificates.  With a Certificate or Voucher, a family is able to select a home in the private rental market. 

If the family chooses to move, the assistance is transferable. All housing must be inspected by the CHA staff and meet Housing Quality Standards.

For more information about Columbia Housing Authority's Section 8 program, please call (803) 254-3886, ext. 235.

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The Mod Rehab program is a project-based rental assistance program for low-income families. The housing units consist of apartments and homes owned by private landlords that have been moderately renovated. The assistance is tied to the unit.

When vacancies occur, families are selected from the Mod Rehab waiting list. 

The family selected for the unit will be responsible for paying approximately 30% of their adjusted monthly income for rent and utilities.

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CHA's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list is currently closed and will remain closed until further notice.

When the list is reopened, CHA will advertise the opening 30 days prior in The State newspaper.

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Q: What are the requirements for my unit to be rented to an assisted family?
A: The unit must meet HUD Housing Quality Standards and the rent must be fall within HUD Fair Market Rents and market rate comparables.

Q: How do I make a unit available to certificate and voucher holders?
A: You may call the Section 8 office at 254-3886 ext. 235 to have the unit posted on our list of available units. You may also advertise in the newspaper with the phrase "will accept Section 8." Our families look for those listings.

Q: Who pays the rent?
A: The tenant pays 30% of his/her monthly income less utilities toward the rent. You collect the tenant's portion of the rent from the tenant. The CHA pays the assistance (difference between the tenant rent and the contracted rent amount) directly to you.

Q: Can I collect a security deposit?
A: Yes, you may collect whatever you normally charge, up to a full month's rent. You cannot charge an assisted tenant more than you charge an unassisted tenant.

Q: What is the term of the lease and contract?
A: After one year, the term is open-ended as long as the tenant remains eligible and the unit is maintained to Housing Quality Standards. The tenant may vacate with 30-day notice after the first year; however, the landlord must have good cause to terminate the lease and evict the tenant.

Q: What do I do when a certificate or voucher holder is interested in my unit?
A: Here are the steps to follow:

  • Step 1: Landlord screens tenants - you must screen the prospective tenant carefully to insure you are making a good selection. When one of our families contacts you, we can only certify to you their income eligibility for the program.
  • Step 2: Request for Tenancy Approval - When you have selected a tenant, he/she will have a "Request for Tenancy Approval" form for you to complete. When the tenant submits the form to our office, with a copy of your proposed lease, an inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection. Please note that the utilities must be on for the inspection.
  • Step 3: Inspection and rent - The unit will be inspected to insure that it meets HUD Housing and Quality Standards. Required repairs and rent amount will be discussed with you by the inspector.
  • Step 4: Lease and contract - After the unit passes inspection and the rent has been approved, the landlord and tenant enter into a lease. The CHA and the landlord sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract through which the rent is assisted on behalf of the tenant.

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  • Once your portability forms have been received from the initial Housing Authority, you will be assigned to a group briefing within seven (7) business days after client contacts our office. It is your responsibility to contact this office to see if your voucher has been received.
  • You must have an appointment to be seen, as it is sometimes impossible to assist walk-ins. Please make sure your initial Housing Authority has transferred your paperwork before contacting Betty Simpson. Her contact information is as follows: Phone number (803) 254-3886 Ext. 208; Fax number: (803) 376-6182; Mailing address: 1917 Harden St Columbia, SC 29204

  • It is required that you provide the Portability Officer with birth certificates for everyone under 18, social security cards for all family members, and picture identification for everyone 18 years of age and older. Family members 18 or older must be present for the briefing.
  • You must also provide the Portability Officer with written verification of all household income (pay stubs are not acceptable), savings account statement, and childcare payments.
  • Once the clearance is approved, the voucher and Request for Tenancy Approval forms will be issued. Your voucher will expire on the date your Housing Authority indicated on the portability paperwork.
  • Once the Portability Officer receives the Request for Tenancy Approval, a physical inspection of the unit will be scheduled within 5 to 10 working days of receiving form. The Request for Tenancy form will not be accepted if there is any missing information on the Request, this will cause a delay in processing.
  • After the unit passes inspection, you will receive a call from the Portability Officer giving you the approval to sign the lease with the landlord. Once you sign a lease, you must contact the Portability Officer for an appointment to sign other documents for rental assistance payments to start. No rent will be paid on your behalf until this is done. If you do not hear from the Portability Officer within three (3) business days after the unit passed inspection, call 254-3886 ext 208.
  • Most landlords in Columbia require a full month security deposit as well as a credit check payable by the tenant. You will be responsible for your security deposit, which could be up to the one-month rent. You will also be responsible for your portion of the 1st month rent.
  • It is not unusual for a portability family to have to pay a full month rent (in addition to the security deposit) in order for an owner to take a unit off the rental market.

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