Section 8 Facts logo on a transparent background.

Section 8 Guidelines For Unit Size

Find out Section 8 guidelines for unit size before you apply.

Here is how you can figure out how many bedrooms you may be eligible to get: it all depends on who is in your household.

Who is in your household, does not mean just the number of people. Although, this number is the first and most important factor in making the determination.

However, Housing Authorities will take many other factors into consideration before they actually decide how big of a unit to give you.

Lets go over the general Section 8 Guidelines HAs use to determine unit size for eligible applicants.

How Many Bedrooms Are You Entitled To As a Section 8 Voucher Holder?

First, lets look at the simple answer, which is based on the number of people in your household. The general federal guideline is two people per room.

For example, if you have a husband and wife and two daughters, you would be eligible for a two bedroom. The children will be sharing a room. If you add another relative to this household, say aunt Betty, she would be eligible for her own bedroom. As a result, your family would be getting a three bedroom unit.

Here is a chart that Housing Authorities typically use to determine the maximum and minimum number of people allowed in one bedroom.

Housing Choice Voucher SizeMinimum # of People in HouseholdMaximum # of People in Household
0 BR11
1 BR12
2 BR24
3 BR46
4 BR68
5 BR810
6 BR1012

Other Considerations in Section 8 Guidelines for Unit Size

In many cases, there are other factors outlined in Section 8 guidelines that are used to determine unit size.

These include such situations as foster children, pregnant women, children of different ages and sexes, other relatives that are applying as part of the household, people with disabilities, and more.

For example, a pregnant women is considered to be a two person household and may be eligible for a two-bedroom. If there are children with a significant age difference and/or different genders they may be eligible for separate bedrooms. Also, if a household member has a disability, he/she may be eligible for a full time aid. This aid may be eligible to have a separate bedroom. Consequently, in this case, you will be getting a bigger unit.

In some cases, the unit size and configuration may also impact the number of people that are allowed to live in it. For example if one of the bedrooms is very small, the HA may determine that only one person can live there. On the other hand, if there is a very large bedroom and there are three small children, the HA may decide that they can all live in this room. Moreover, if you have a child who is in college full time and lives on campus, you may not be getting a bedroom for him/her.

Overall, there is no sure way to know ahead of time how many bedrooms you will get. However, if you have a pretty straight forward household, you may play the guessing game based on the general guidelines. There is a good chance you will get the unit size you were hoping for.

Housing authorities have gotten tougher…

However, section 8 housing authorities have gotten tougher over the years and are less likely to accommodate special circumstances. Read more about it here. 

Overall, if you are applying to HAs that are very popular and have huge waiting lists, their guidelines may be a lot stricter than in other less popular places.

This is why it is a good idea to apply to as many different HAs as you can. There is a good chance you may end up getting a much better and bigger unit.

Final word of advice: be sure to have all paperwork in order. For example if you are applying for a room for a medical aid, you need to have all medical records on hand.