Families and individuals residing under the three Leased Housing Voucher Programs (Tenant-Based, Project-Based and Moderate Rehabilitation) have their rent amounts set using the same calculation.
Boston Housing Authority (BHA) first calculates a household’s maximum housing voucher subsidy, or the total amount that BHA will pay toward rent each month. This amount is based on the payment standard – the cost of rent and utilities for an apartment by bedroom size and location. The maximum amount BHA will pay toward rent is calculated by subtracting 30% of the household’s monthly adjusted income from the payment standard. If the unit rents for less than the payment standard, the household will still pay 30% of its monthly adjusted income.
For example, your payment voucher is for a two-bedroom apartment. If the payment standard for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,036 and your household monthly adjusted income is $600, BHA will pay a maximum of $1,858.
$2,036 Payment Standard
- $180 (30% of $600; amount you will pay)
= $1,856 (maximum amount BHA will pay toward your rent)
Your family may rent a unit with more bedrooms than the number on your voucher, but the payment standard amount is based on the unit size for which your family is eligible. Your family may also rent a unit with fewer bedrooms than is listed on your housing voucher – but must meet certain state and federal laws. For example, there can be no more than two persons per living/sleeping room.
Your family's rent and utilities will depend on the unit you choose. If the apartment rent amount is higher than the payment standard, your family will pay more than 30% of its monthly adjusted income. You may not pay more than 40% of your adjusted income towards rent and utilities, even if the apartment is much higher than the payment standard. This means that the owner may have to reduce the rent for you to afford a unit.
Every year, BHA is required to ask tenants in Section 8/Leased Housing programs to submit income verification and update household information (also called family composition). This process of rent recertification is required to stay in the program and may impact how much rent you pay.
You can use our affordability calculator to estimate whether you can afford an apartment using your voucher.
Landlord Request for Rent Increase
Your landlord may request a rent increase after you have been in your apartment one year. If the rent request is made, your landlord is required to give you and BHA a 60-day notice. BHA will determine if the rent increase amount is reasonable. If BHA approves the request, your Leasing Officer will contact you to discuss what this means for you and how much more you will pay in rent. You do not have to accept the rent increase – your Leasing Officer will advise you regarding your options in this situation. Read more about BHA’s policy on rent increases.
Rent Increase Frequently Asked Questions
Please see the attached document for frequently asked questions about the rent increase process and how a rent increase could potentially affect your share of the rent: Rent Increase FAQs