Section 8 denial letter will be sent to applicant households that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) or a local Texas Public Housing Authority (PHA) has determined to be ineligible for Section 8 housing assistance. Households that receive a TX Section 8 denial letter will not be placed on the low income housing waiting list and will lose eligibility for a housing voucher. However, the process of Section 8 denial appeal provides a way for these applicant households to contest the PHA’s decision. Learn about Section 8 housing disqualifications and how to appeal Section 8 denial in Texas by reading the following helpful sections:

  • What is a Section 8 denial letter in Texas?
  • What are the reasons for Section 8 denial in TX?
  • What to do if Section 8 application was denied in Texas

What is a Section 8 Denial Letter in Texas?

A Section 8 Denial Letter will arrive in the mail if a local PHA determines an applicant household’s ineligibility. The letter explains both the reasons for section 8 housing disqualifications and the process for filing a Section 8 denial appeal in Texas. If the PHA denies assistance due to a member’s criminal record, the PHA must also include a copy of the criminal record with the denial letter.

What are the Reasons for Section 8 Denial in TX?

A Section 8 denial letter, which describes what are the reasons for section 8 denial, may be sent to ineligible housing applicants for a number of reasons. Section 8 housing disqualifications may include a failure to meet basic eligibility standards, such as not meeting the minimum income level, having a household member with a drug-related eviction or failing to have all members sign required forms. PHAs may also establish local Section 8 housing disqualification policies.

However, Section 8 housing disqualifications may not be based on unfair criteria such as:

  • A member’s race, sex, gender identity, marital status, national origin, color, religion or age.
  • A family’s past or current place of residence.
  • A family’s chosen living location under the Section 8 housing program.
  • Any family member’s status as an unwed parent, public assistance recipient or a child born out of wedlock.
  • The presence of children in the family.
  • A family’s participation or lack of participation in a self-sufficiency program.
  • An applicant’s history or lack of history as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault or stalking.

What to Do if Section 8 Application Was Denied in Texas

Section 8 denial appeal is a good option for applicant families that believe they were incorrectly, unfairly or unlawfully disqualified from Section 8 housing. Depending on the source of the housing choice voucher (HCV), some denied households will appeal through the TDHCA while others will appeal through the PHA.

TDHCA Policy on Denial Appeal: The TDHCA gives denied applicants ten days to submit a written request for an informal review with the Department and allows denied applicants to request one free copy of any Department documents related to the case. In return, the denied applicants must provide the TDHCA with any documents that he or she plans to submit as evidence at the hearing. At a TDHCA hearing, the appealing applicant may present witness testimony, written documentation relevant to the case, demonstrative evidence (such as a model or chart) and any physical evidence directly related to the case.

Denial Appeal Requirements for Texas PHAs: The TDHCA requires local PHAs to establish an informal hearing process to make sure a PHA’s decisions do not violate the law or HUD rules and regulations. The TDHCA also requires a PHA’s informal hearings to occur promptly. The TDHCA requires the PHA to allow denied applicants to examine and copy any documents held by the PHA. While the necessary materials and standard procedures may vary according to different housing authorities, most will require the denied applicant to provide written request for an informal review within an established timeframe. For example, the Houston Housing Authority has instituted an appeals process that allows a denied applicant to file a “Request for An Informal Review” no more than 15 days after he or she receives a Section 8 Denial letter. After the hearing, PHAs must provide a written decision that includes the reasons for the decision.

In cases of discrimination, denied applicant households may file a housing discrimination appeal directly through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or a Local Fair Housing Enforcement Agency. HUD has an Office of Hearings and Appeals with a staff of Administrative Judges and Administrative Law Judges that makes decisions for cases directly involving HUD, including Fair Housing Cases.