Section 8 Building Requirements

Buildings must meet certain federal standards to be rented out to low-income tenants under the Section 8 housing assistance program. Usually, there are state and local requirements by which the resident has to abide. These requirements help to accommodate a healthy, safe, and comfortable living space for the resident. Also, a Section 8 residence cannot cost more than the fair market rent.

Living Room

Section 8 building codes are in place for safety and health reasons.

The living room in a Section 8 building is required to have a good ceiling, with no large cracks or bulges that would allow drafts. The walls should be in adequate condition as well. There should be at least two non-cracked electrical outlets in the room, with no faulty or broken wiring. The floors should be in acceptable condition, with no tripping hazards such as warped floorboards or large cracks. There should also be at least one presentable window in the living room, and all windows should be in adequate, presentable condition.


The kitchen must meet the same requirements as the living room, minus the windows. It must have a pantry or some place to store food. A working stove and oven must be available. Food preparation and serving areas are required. The kitchen must have a working refrigerator and sink.


The bathroom in a Section 8 building must meet the same requirements as the living room. A window is optional if there is an exhaust fan. If any windows can be reached from the ground, window locks is mandatory. There should be a working, flush-enabled toilet, along with a tub or shower that can run cold and hot water. A sink with hot and cold water is mandatory.

Other Livable Rooms

Requirements for other livable rooms, such as the bedrooms, dens, and halls, are largely the same as for the living room. There needs to be some type of light source, whether it be natural light or a light fixture or an electrical outlet. There should be at least one window. If the window is built to open, it should be able to open.

Exterior, Plumbing, and Heating

The roof of a Section 8 building should be in acceptable condition and should not leak. Any gutters and downspouts should be safely secured to the building structure and in good condition. A handrail is mandatory on any extended stairways of four steps or more, and for balconies and porches 30 inches or more from the ground. The foundation should be in adequate condition without drastic leaks. All plumbing should be acceptable condition, using water supplies and sewage approved by a public or private water supply system.

Chimneys should have no leans or overly large cracks. There should be some type of cooling for the warmer months and heating for the colder months. Space heaters are acceptable if they can produce enough heat for the household.


There should be a least one working smoke detector for the Section 8 building. Residences for hearing-impaired residents should have smoke detectors that would alert those tenants. A fire exit is required. Any elevators should work safely and properly. Lastly, residents should be able to enter or leave their units without going through any other resident's unit.

About the Author

Antonio Newell has been a writer since 2006 and has ghostwritten for several people. His specialties are musical and self-help and he has written for Tony Tee Music since 2008 as the content manager. Newell attended Mississippi Valley State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in audio engineering with a musical performance minor.