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Fair Market Rent Definitions

Fair Market Rent

Fair Market Rent is the rent amount, including essential utilities (not telephone, tv, internet, etc.), to rent privately owned, existing, decent, safe, sanitary, and modest (non-luxury) rental housing with suitable amenities. Fair market rents are calculated at the ZIP code level. See more

Small Area Fair Market Rents

Small Area Fair Market Rents are Fair Market Rents calculated at the ZIP code level. Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) were created to allow voucher families to move to high opportunity neighborhoods. SAFMRs are mandated but HUD in areas with high rental cost variation in a metro area. To learn more about SAFMR click here.

Payment Standard Definitions

Basic Range

The basic range is a percentage multiplier of the FMR chosen by PHA's to set the payment standard. The basic range is equal to 90% to 110% of the FMR Value. There are exceptions to the basic range but in the vast majority of cases payment standards are set within the basic range.

Family Share

The Family Share is the portion of rent and utilities paid by the family. See Total Tenant Payment (TTP).

Gross Rent

Gross Rent is the sum of the contract rent plus essential utilities.

Housing Assistance Payment

The Housing Assistance Payment is the total amount of assistance a voucher can receive.

Payment Standard

The Payment Standard is the maximum monthly assistance payment to a family assisted in the housing voucher program before deducting the Total Tenant Payment (or Family Share) paid by the family. This amount is usually equal to between 90% and 110% of the FMR value but special exceptions do exist. See more

Total Tenant Payment (TTP)

Total Tenant Payment (TTP) is the portion of rent and utilities normally paid by the family. The TTP should equal The Greatest of:

  • 30 percent of the household's adjusted monthly income
  • 10 percent of the household's monthly income
  • Welfare rent from a public agency
  • Minimum rent set by PHA

Section 8 Housing and Tenant Definitions

Common Space

Common Space is space available for use by all the occupants of the housing unit in shared housing. Also see Private Space.

Congregate housing

Congregate housing is housing for an elderly person or people with disabilities that meets the minimum Housing Quality Standards.

Disabled Family

A Disabled Family is a family whose head, spouse, or sole member is a person with a disability. It may include two or more persons with disabilities living together, or one or more persons with disabilities living with one or more live-in aides.

Displaced Family

A Displaced Family is a family in which each member was displaced by governmental action, or whose dwelling has been extensively damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster declared or otherwise formally recognized pursuant to Federal disaster relief.


A Domicile is the legal residence of the household head or spouse as determined in accordance with State and local law.

Elderly Family

An Elderly Family is a family whose head is over the age of 62.


A family includes, but is not limited to, the following, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status:

  • A single person
  • A group of people living together with or without children
Ultimately a family designation is determined by the relevant PHA.

Private Space

Private Space is the portion of a contract unit that is for the exclusive use of an assisted family in shared housing. Also see Common Space.

Public Housing Agency (PHA)

The Public Housing Agency, also known as the Public Housing Authority, is a State, county, municipality, or other governmental entity or public body which is authorized to administer the housing voucher program. Rather than the HUD administering the Section 8 program in communities all over the country, the HUD delegates administration of the program to local entities.

Single room occupancy housing (SRO)

Single room occupancy housing (SRO) is a unit that contains no bathroom or kitchen, or contains one, but not both, types of facilities.


A Tenant is an individual or a family renting or occupying a dwelling unit.

Loan Limits Types

Conforming Loan Limit

A Conforming Loan Limit is the maximum price cap on a mortgage that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will purchase or guarantee. Conforming Loan Limits are adjusted annually.

FHA Loan Limit

FHA Loan Limits are the maximum allowed loan amount for Federal Housing Administration loans. FHA Loans are a type of Mortgage Insurance. For more on loan limits see the Loan Limits Overview.

HECM Reverse Mortgages

Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) reverse mortgages allow seniors to turn home equity into cash. Money from HECM mortgages can be used for things like medical bills, home repairs, or other unexpected expenses.

Jumbo Loans

Jumbo Loans are loans that exceed conforming loan limits Income and credit score requirements must be met to acquire a Jumbo Loan.

VA Loan Limit

VA Loans are the maximum allowed loan amount for Federal Housing Administration loans. VA Loans are only available to those who have served in the US military. VA Loans are not a type of Mortgage Insurance.

Income Limits Terminology


The median monthly income for a state, county, or area.

Low Income (l80)

Low Income (l80) is the income limit based on 80% of the average monthly income for a given area.

Very Low Income (l50)

Very Low Income (l50) is the income limit based on 50% of the average monthly income for a given area.

Extremely Low Income (ELI)

Extremely Low Income (ELI) is the income limit based on 30% of the average monthly income for a given area.

Arthur Williams

Arthur Williams

Arthur has been in real estate for over 15 years. He started his career as a real estate agent and then started investing himself. Arthur has experience navigating many different financing options, multi-family and single-family rentals, commercial real estate, and restoration projects.

June 17, 2022 (Updated June 23, 2022)