How Rent is Calculated

In the Section 8 Program, the amount of rent you pay is directly tied to your monthly income.  Caribou Housing Authority will calculate your TTP (Total Tenant Payment), the amount of money you pay for housing.


The first step in setting your rent is determining your household income.  You are required to report money receive from all sources for all household members.  Your income is determined using your gross income (total amount), not your net income (amount remaining after certain taxes and deductions).

Income CHA will CountIncome CHA will NOT Count
Employment (Gross)Live-in aide’s income
Net business incomeFoster children/adult’s income
Net income from real estate or personal propertyEmployment income of children under 18 years of age
Monthly gifts or contributions (in the form of money or the actual item)Employment income above $480 per year for full-time students 18 years of age or older
UnemploymentFood Stamps
PensionsAdoption care income above $480 per year, for each child
Child Support 
Worker’s Compensation 
General Assistance 
Social Security Benefits 
Military Pay 
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 
Assets – Income from assets (checking account, savings account, stocks, bonds, CD’s) 

Note:  If you are in doubt whether something is income or an asset report it to CHA, in writing.  The CHA knows HUD rules and will only count appropriate asset items.

TANF Income Reduction

If a family member receives TANF income and the amount is reduced due to fraud or a violation of the welfare agency’s rules, CHA will continue to count the original income amount.  For example, if a family received $500 a month in benefits from a welfare agency, but the agency reduced the payment to $300 a month because of fraud, CHA will still count the income source as $500 a month.  CHA will verify the amount, the terms and the reason for the payment reduction with the welfare agency.


Adjusted Income

Your adjusted income is determined by subtracting HUD approved deductions from your gross income.

Dependent$480 For each child under the age of 18 yearsFor each child 18 years and older, who are full-time studentsFor each adult (excluding head of household and spouse) who has disabilities
Elderly/Disabled Family$400 – One-time deduction if The head of household, or spouse, is 62 or older OR The head of household is disabled
ChildcareApplies if the child is under 13 and it enables an adult to work or go to college. Cannot use if childcare is paid for by another agency
Disability Assistance OR
Medical Equipment
Applies if the head of household, or spouse is elderly or disabled.  The cost of expenses must exceed 3% of annual income and expense must not be paid by insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or another agency.

Contract Rent

The landlord will request a rent amount.  CHA will compare the landlord’s request to the Payment Standards, released annually by HUD, and rent reasonableness.  If the landlord does not agree to a reasonable amount, the unit will not be approved for the Section 8 Program.  The amount of rent the landlord charges for the unit is call the contract rent.

Utility Allowance

Your Utility Allowance is the amount of money CHA expects you will have to pay for utilities for your unit.  CHA estimates your Utility Allowance based on the size and structure type of your unit and the type of utility.

  • Note:  The Utility Allowance is based on the lower of the unit size or the voucher size.

If a family’s Total Tenant Payment (TTP) is lower than the utility allowance, they may receive a Utility Reimbursement Payment from CHA (via check) to cover the difference. 

Payment Standard

Each year, HUD announces the Payment Standards for units according to the bedroom size and location.  HUD bases this on a survey that collect information about rental rates for various unassisted units.  For example, HUD may say that the Payment Standard for a one-bedroom unit is $633 base on what owners typically charge for a one-bedroom unit.  CHA uses this number to calculate the amount of assistance the Section 8 Program will provide.

  • Note:  If you want to rent a 3-bedroom unit for your family, but are only eligible for a 2-bedroom, CHA will use the 2-bedroom Payment Standard.

Total Tenant Payment (TTP)

Your Total Tenant payment is the minimum amount you will pay for rent and utilities.  CHA calculates your TTP based on your income. 

  • TTP is annual household income minus any deductions divided by 12 times 30%

In certain cases, you may pay up to 40% of your family’s monthly adjusted income.

Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)

The amount of money that CHA pays to an owner to help you with your rent is called a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).  CHA may only part of the rent.  You pay the remaining portion.  CHA decides the amount of the HAP based on your income, the amount you will pay for utilities, the amount of rent asked for by the owner and other items.

Tenant Rent

This the actual amount of rent that you will be paying for your share of the rent to the owner.

Gross Rent and Payment Standard

CHA uses the smaller of two numbers to calculate the amount it will pay the owner (the HAP) – the Gross Rent for the unit (Contract Rent + Utility Allowance) or the Payment Standard for your family.  Remember the Payment Standard is a pre-determined maximum amount that CHA will pay toward a rent, based on the number of bedrooms.

Minimum Rent

The minimum amount of rent you will pay is $50 a month. 

How to Determine the Maximum and Minimum Rent plus Utilities   Maximum Family TTP   $468
Maximum Rent Assistance provided by CHA
(Payment Standard – TTP) $697 – $468 = $229
Affordable Rent and Utilities
(CHA assistance + 30% of monthly adj. income)   $229 + $468 = $697
Maximum Affordable Rent and Utilities
(CHA assistance + 40% of monthly adj. income)   $229 + $627 = $856

In this example, the family should look for a unit with rent plus utilities for rent that includes utilities) at $697 to $856

CHA uses a specific set of calculations to determine a participant’s Total Tenant Payment (TTP). The following scenario demonstrates these calculations for our example participant, Jane Smith.