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Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federally funded program that provides housing assistance to eligible low-income families. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Housing Authority of the City of Pawtucket (PHA) administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program enables families to obtain safe, decent, and sanitary housing by subsidizing a portion of each tenant's monthly rent, based upon their income. The subsidy is paid directly and promptly to the property owner/landlord on the last working day of each month for the rent due the following month. The families have the same rights and responsibilities as unassisted families. Property owners have all the rights and responsibilities of landlords renting to unassisted families. As with unassisted tenants, you have the responsibility as an owner to screen and select tenants, collect the rent, maintain the property and terminate the lease, if appropriate.

2. How can I participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program?

You may contact the PHA and inform us that you have an apartment available for rent. We will advertise your vacant apartment on this website. If you are interested, please contact Mary Michalczyk by e-mail at and include the following information: Number of bedrooms, address of apartment, whether some, none or all utilities are included, how much you are asking in rent, a contact name and telephone number. For further information or to list your apartment over the phone, please call 401-721-6017.

3. How is an eligible Section 8 Program participant selected?

The PHA reviews the eligibility of the participant(s) based on household income and family composition and criminal background of all family members 18 years of age or older. The landlord is responsible for screening the occupants for the rental unit and must follow federal, state and local equal opportunity laws.

4. How will I benefit from renting to a family with a Section 8 Voucher?

The guaranteed, monthly subsidy payment from the PHA is your biggest benefit. In addition, if the family leaves the apartment in violation of the lease, you may keep the subsidy payment for the month in which the family leaves. You are also protected from financial loss if your tenant suffers unexpected financial hardship - when this happens, the subsidy payment is increased to compensate for your tenant's lower income. Finally, even if you attempt to evict a tenant for good cause, you will continue to receive the PHA's portion of the rent until the tenant leaves the apartment.

5. Does the PHA screen applicants for tenancy?

The PHA selects applicants for rental assistance from a waiting list. The PHA reviews the applicant for program eligibility only. As in the private market, the owner is responsible to screen applicants for suitability as tenants. The selection of an acceptable tenant, whether assisted or not, is limited only by fair housing requirements and the prohibition of discrimination as established by federal and state law.

6. When can a landlord expect to receive full rent for the Section 8 unit?

Once the unit has passed the HQS inspection, the final steps will be the signing of the Lease Agreement and Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract. Once the contracts have been signed, the Housing Authority will begin making payments. Payments are mailed on the last working day of the month for the rental payment due the following month.

7. What rights do Voucher program tenants have?

Program participants have the same rights and responsibilities as unassisted tenants, except that they are responsible only for paying a portion of the rent. 

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