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Frequently Asked Questions


About Rental Assistance and the Section 8 Programs

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No, the unit must pass inspection before MDOC will make any payments on your behalf.

You may not update or change any information online – you must submit changes in writing to MDOC:

Montana Department of Commerce
TBS8 Housing Division
PO Box 200545
Helena, MT 59620-0545

To apply for Montana State Section 8 Rental Assistance:
Go to www.housing.mt.gov
(choose the site that refers to HAPPY software),
Click on 'Apply for Section 8 Rental Assistance' box (fifth link down on upper left hand side of screen),
Read this entire page – it contains important information, instructions and links.
When you get to the bottom of the page, click on link that says 'Open this application in another window'. This is the online application.
Fill out application completely. (Choose only one District.)
Print receipt when prompted.
Allow two weeks to receive confirmation letter of placement on list.

Unfortunately, there are too many factors and variables that affect the timeline to estimate accurately. The wait list is running one to three years. Keep your contact information current with MDOC and your field agent will contact you when you near the top of the list.

MDOC will assign one bedroom for each two persons within the household, except in the following circumstances:

One additional bedroom for every two remaining family members and essential persons, which allows the family to choose that family members six years of age or older are not required to share a bedroom with family members of the opposite sex, that children are not required to share a bedroom with other adult family members, and that children of the same sex with more than 6 years of age difference are not required to reside in the same bedroom. Children under the age of two, of either sex, may share a bedroom with parents for purposes of meeting the occupancy standards. Children over the age of two are not required to share the same bedroom with a single parent head of household, unless that is family choice.

Income limits can be found at Income Limits.

Once you have located a unit and the unit has passed inspection you will pay the landlord 30% of your gross adjusted income.  MDOC will send you a Payment Determination stating what your portion to the landlord will be and what MDOC will be paying the landlord.

Your name must reach the top of the wait list before you can be assisted.

You and your perspective landlord will fill out a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA).  This form tells us what the rent is and what utilities you are responsible for paying. 

Medical marijuana is prohibited in federally subsidized housing.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program assists low-income individuals and families with their rental payments. Under the Section 8 Program, property owners retain the same rights and responsibilities that they have under Montana State law. They use their own rental agreement or lease and decide what the term of tenancy will be. The tenant has the same obligations as any tenant under State law. SCHA’s subsidy does not change the normal relationship of property owners or managers to tenants. The main difference is that each month the property owner will receive two payments for the tenant’s rent – one from the tenant, which is about 30% of his or her income, and the balance from the  MDOC.

To check position number and status on the State of Montana's Section 8 wait list: Go to www.waitlistcheck.com
(choose the site that refers to HAPPY software).
Enter birth year (e.g. 1980 - not birthdate),
then enter Social Security Number as password (no dashes).
You are allowed only one 'Active' application.

Section 8 is the name for many of HUD’s Rental Assistance programs. The term “Section 8” is used because the federal law, which created the program, is Section 8 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.

■ The applicant applies for Section 8 when on the  waiting list is.
■ The applicant’s name comes to the top of the waiting list.
■ The Housing Authority (HA) determines if the applicant is eligible for the program.
■ The applicant is issued a Voucher and a Request For Tenancy Approval (RTA) form.
■ The voucher holder has 90 days to locate suitable housing within the area.
■ The voucher holder finds a unit on the private market to rent.
■ The property owner/manager of the unit screens the applicant for suitability as tenant (The HA does not screen for tenant suitability.)
■ The property owner/manager and the voucher holder complete the RTA form and return it to the HA.
■ The HA inspects the unit according to Housing Quality Standards.
■ The HA passes and approves the unit or notes needed repair items.
■ The HA negotiates rent based on Rent Reasonableness.
■ The HA enters into a contract with the property owner/manager of the unit.
■The owner and tenant sign the property owner/manager’s Rental Agreement or Lease.
■ The HA receives a copy of rental agreement between the tenant and property owner/manager.
■ The HA inspects the unit annually.
■ The HA reviews tenant eligibility annually.

Obtain and follow the guidance in the grievance procedure provided by management.

Promptly report suspicion of any type of infestation to management.  Management will take measures to exterminate.

There are a few factors that could cause your number on the wait list to go up instead of down, the most common of which is when someone with an earlier application date transfers to a different District of the state wait list (in this case, the same one that you are on), or as I enter those paper applications that have an earlier application date than yours, your number will go up.

HUD requires that residents pay rent based on income.  Changes to household income and family composition affect the tenant rent and housing assistance payment.  Failure to do so, may cause the household to pay more than rent than required, or be required to repay the government for overpaid subsidy.

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