Section 8 Abatement Termination: Terms & Conditions

The purpose of the Analysis, Abatement, and Termination section is to answer some of your biggest questions. What abatements are available? How do I know if one is right for me? When should I terminate my lease?

Section 8 Abatement Termination

Section 8 Abatement Termination: An Overview

The term “abatement” refers to any agreement between a landlord and tenant where the landlord reduces or waives the rent obligation in exchange for some action taken by the tenant.

The most common abatement request from tenants is a reduction in monthly rent. However, other types of abatements can include:

  • A reduction in the amount of security deposit deposited by the tenant
  • An extension of time for paying rent;
  • A temporary waiver of late fees; or
  • A change to other items in the lease which benefit either party.

It is also important to note that not every type of abatement will be mutually agreed upon by both parties. Whether this is because a landlord refuses to further negotiate terms with a tenant or because a tenant decides against the suggestions provided, there is always a chance that problems may arise.

I wish there were an easy way to summarize the conclusions in this chapter. But there isn’t. Abatement law is a complex topic, and the law remains unsettled. And even though the circumstances of each case are unique and highly fact-specific, it would be impossible for me to summarize every legal situation here.

I do have some suggestions, however.

  1. First, read carefully, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand anything or if you find yourself confused.
  2. Second, the more you read and think about the material here, the better you will understand it.
  3. Finally, I encourage you to talk to your attorney before signing anything – even if your attorney is someone else’s attorney because lawyers always have good ideas they wouldn’t share with anyone else.

What Abatements Are Available?

There are three abatement’s available for Section 8 tenants:

Partial Abatement

The tenant is only obligated to pay a partial amount of the total rent. The tenant is responsible for paying a portion, but not the entirety, of their rent. This abatement may be granted if you, as a tenant, are unable to pay your entire rent payment due to financial hardship.

Complete Abatement

The tenant is not required to pay any rent at all during a complete abatement. This case may be granted if the landlord has failed to provide you with essential services that are included in the lease. These services include but are not limited to heat, gas, water, electricity, and hot water. To receive this abatement you must file a complaint within 30 days of when the essential service was terminated.

Abatement Due to Overcharge

If you have been overcharged on your rent, by either being charged higher than your stated rent or receiving an increase that was above state standards, then you may be eligible for an overcharge abatement. You must file this complaint within four years of receiving the overcharge notice in order to qualify for this abatement.

How Do I Know if One Is Right for Me?

There are a few signs that will help you know when Section 8 is right for you.

First, if you live in an area where there is a high demand for housing, Section 8 may be for you. When there are more eligible applicants than available housing and vouchers, the local Public Housing Authority (PHA) must either limit the number of families it can assist or use a waiting list.

Second, if you live in an area where there is low demand for housing, the amount of time it takes to receive a voucher may be reduced or even eliminated! Check with the PHA in your area to find out what their wait time is.

Lastly, if you meet the income limits based on your family size and local cost of living, Section 8 vouchers can help make housing more affordable to you.

When Should I Terminate My Lease?

If you are a tenant, you have the right to terminate your lease at any time by giving the landlord 30 days’ written notice. If you do not, your landlord can sue you for rent for the remainder of the lease term.

By chance you give notice, you will be liable for rent until someone else takes over your apartment or until the end of the 30-day period, whichever occurs first. Here’s how it works:

  1. First, notify your landlord in writing that you want to terminate your lease. Tell him when he can show your apartment and when you plan to move out. If you and the landlord agree on another date for termination, put that in writing too.
  2. Second, leave your apartment in good condition at the end of the notice period. If there are no damages to repair, return your keys and forward your mail to a new address. If there are damages or unpaid rent due, discuss these with the landlord before you move out so that they can be resolved or deducted from your security deposit.
  3. Third, if the landlord does not find someone else to occupy your apartment after you move out (a re-rent), then sue him for the return of any security deposit money he held back for repairs or unpaid rent.

Laws Governing Section 8 Termination

The first step in resolving any dispute is knowing what rights you have under the law. In some cases, there may be an additional local ordinance or regulation that provides additional protection for tenants or landlords depending on where they live and what their situation is.

Laws Governing Section


The bottom line is, if you can afford your normal rent obligation and you’re living on a fixed income, you should consider all of your options before going for an abatement termination. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact your city or county public housing agency or read more about Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP)

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  3. I recently had my hcv contract end with landlord due to them not passing inspection nor correcting the list completely by dead line. Now they want rent which I was gonna pay for this month till I found new place with my voucher. however its complicated because then I have no money for deposit or rent to move into new home with voucher. How do I handle the non payment/eviction notice since they dropped the ball? is it legal for me to continue paying my rental amount or full amount once contract ends w current landlord? again they dropped the ball. not to forget its Christmas in a week.

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