Finding Housing

Finding A Place To Live

The Section 8 rental assistance program gives a family the freedom to decide where they want to live. You may choose to live anywhere in Charleston-Kanawha Housing’s jurisdiction or you may move elsewhere in West Virginia or even to another state with assistance.

Charleston-Kanawha Housing’s Jurisdiction

Charleston-Kanawha Housing’s jurisdiction is Kanawha, Clay and Putnam County. CKH has also entered into agreements with surrounding housing agencies that permit CKH to provide assistance to families anywhere in Kanawha County.


Through portability a family may move with assistance outside of Charleston-Kanawha Housing’s jurisdiction. The only requirement is the family must have lived within CKH’s jurisdiction at the time they applied for assistance. If the family did not, they must lease a unit for one year before they can move through portability. You may contact CKH about other housing agencies in West Virginia and in other states.

What To Consider Before You Begin Your Search

Charleston-Kanawha Housing encourages all families to look for housing in areas of low poverty concentration (less than 20% of the population is below the poverty line). In CKH’s operating area, housing in Dunbar, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cross Lanes, Kanawha City, and Putnam County would qualify as low poverty areas. Many of these communities are accessible with KRT service, except Putnam County.

In selecting a rental property for your family there are a number of issues to consider:

Are there employment opportunities located nearby?

Is the property located near public transportation routes (KRT), medical and shopping centers?

How close will you be to the schools your children will be attending?
(See the Kanawha, Clay and Putnam web sites)

Is this a quality unit that will pass inspection? (See the PDF brochure “A Good Place to Live”, 354K)

Does the unit meet your family’s needs? (Size, amenities, etc)

Will the landlord be responsive when repairs are needed?

Does the owner’s lease agreement clearly state the terms for returning the security deposit,
or restrictions on visitors and pets?

These are just some of the questions you should consider in searching for a place to live. Never give a landlord any money to hold a unit or as a security deposit until you’re certain of your intent to rent the property. Remember, once you become a Section 8 program participant you must remain in the unit you select for one year before you can give notice of your intent to move.

Where To Search For Available Housing

To begin your search for housing you may want to look over the available property page on this web site where landlords who accept Section 8 vouchers have posted their vacant rental units. An available property bulletin board is also maintained in the lobby at the Admin Office at 1525 Washington Street West.

You can also find available property through the daily or weekly newspapers or trade publications that are published in our area. When calling about a rental don’t limit yourself to just those advertisements that say “HUD Approved” or “vouchers accepted”. Look for rentals in neighborhoods that you believe best meet your family’s needs and whose rent is affordable to you. Also, landlords are looking for good tenants, whether they have rental assistance or not, so be sure to sell your good qualities as a renter when you contact any landlord.

Approving Your Rental Selection

Once a you find a unit to rent, the landlord must complete the Request For Tenancy Approval (RFTA) that is issued with your voucher. The owner needs to complete this form which will permit CKH to determine the location of the unit, what the owner is requesting for rent, who is responsible for what utilities, the type of utilities ( gas or electric), and who owns what appliances. It is the family’s responsibility to return the RFTA packet to CKH so an inspection can be scheduled. Any forms not completed and signed could cause the inspection process to be delayed.

Scheduling an Inspection

An inspector will schedule the date and time of the initial inspection within 7 to 10 days of the RFTA being submitted by the family. If there are repairs to be made after the unit is inspected, both the owner and the family will receive a sheet listing the needed repairs and the number of days for their completion.

Security Deposits

The amount and payment of the security deposit is between the owner and the family. Charleston-Kanawha Housing does not provide assistance in paying or recovering security deposits.

Required Conditions for Leasing a Rental Property

The unit must pass inspection.

The unit must be determined to be Rent Reasonable.

If the cost of rent and utilities is over the Payment Standard, the total family contribution cannot exceed 40% of the family’s income.

It is our recommendation to both the family and the owner that the family not move into the unit until the inspection has been completed, that it has been determined that all three conditions above have been met, and that the family is eligible to lease the unit.

Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

Race or color
National origin
Familial status

You need to be well informed of your rights when you begin looking for housing, therefore CKH recommends you review the HUD booklet “Fair Housing, Equal Opportunity for All”. If you believe you may have been discriminated against contact the Charleston Human Rights Commission.

More Resources...

A Good Place to Live (PDF, 354K)

Housing Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF, 37K)

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