Can My Parents Use Section 8 Voucher to Rent from My Mother-in-Law?

 In Real Estate
section 8

Photo by Simon Harmer on Unsplash


My parents have Section 8 voucher. Can they rent from a trust where the beneficiary is my mother-in-law?


Yes. They are only related through you and your spouse which is not closely enough related to run afoul of any Section 8 restrictions.

Section 8 is the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program that provides housing vouchers to low-income individuals. Essentially, the beneficiaries pay a third of their income towards the rent and HUD pays the balance. While it’s a federal program, it’s actually administered by local housing agencies. Unfortunately, the need is much greater than the availability of housing vouchers, so the waiting list can be many years or even decades long, depending on the location.

In order to prevent gaming of the system, the HUD rules bar using use of the Section 8 voucher if the landlord and tenant are relatives. It turns out that it’s very difficult to find the HUD definition of “family member” for this purpose, but I did find a publication that does define it here. It’s definition is very expansive, including in-laws. However, it doesn’t go as far as to include the in-law of a child. So, there’s no problem in your case. (Interestingly, at least to me, while English does not have a word for the relationship between parents of children who are married to one another, Spanish does, consuegro and consuegra,)

Further, since a trust is involved, your mother-in-law would not be renting to your parents. Instead, it’s the trust, which not being a person is not a family member. Finally, be aware that while there’s a general bar on renting to family members, the HUD regulations do allow the tenant to be related to the landlord if the tenant is disabled.

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