Five Santa Barbara Property Owners Facing Complaints On Section 8 Income Criteria

Posted By: Sharon Lum Santa Barbara Community,

Make Sure your Section 8 Income Criteria is in Compliance!

Are you in compliance with new 2020 law requiring that you accept applications from Section 8?

Beyond accepting Section 8 applications, you must also properly calculate whether they meet your income criteria. On June 6th, the Independent featured an article written by a Section 8 renter who is filing complaints against five Santa Barbara property management companies. Read the full article here.

SBRPA cannot provide you with legal advice on whether you are in compliance. So, I went to Rob Fredericks, President of the Santa Barbara Housing Authority, to ask what guidance he could provide landlords on how to calculate whether a prospective Section 8 resident meets your income criteria. Please see his response below.

All my best,

From Rob Fredericks, CEO Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara

SB 329 & How Income should be calculated for a Section 8 voucher holder. 

The net effect of the law is that the voucher amount must be considered as part of the tenant’s income and any income standard applied by the landlord must be based on the portion of the rent which would be paid by the tenant, rather than the contract rent.  

For example, let’s assume the contract rent for a one bedroom unit is $1,600.  If the prospective renter is a voucher holder and this prospective renter’s portion of the rent is just $400 per month, then if a landlord uses an income standard such as a 3x multiplier, it would be $400 x 3 = $1,200, rather than taking the contract rent amount of and multiplying it 3, which would be a substantial difference at $4,800 per month.

The point of the voucher program is to take the issue of making enough money to afford the rent out of the equation.  So, in my opinion there really should not even be a multiplier standard for voucher holders;  but if you apply such an income standard, it would be based on the portion of the rent paid by the tenant.  

Rob Fredericks
Executive Director/CEO
Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara
808 Laguna St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

SBRPA NOTE: Some local attorneys disagree that the tenant’s earned income is to be used to calculate the income standard that must be met, so always consult your own attorney.