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What should I know about Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)?

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Project-Based Rental Assistance law in Georgia


What type of housing assistance do I have?

This article is about Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA). PBRA is a form of government-funded housing assistance. The information in this article may not apply to other forms of housing assistance. It does not apply to public housing or housing choice vouchers.  It’s important to be clear about what kind of housing assistance you are receiving because there are different rules for each type. If you’re not sure what kind of housing assistance you have, a good question to ask yourself is “who do I pay my rent to?”


  • If you pay your rent to your local Public Housing Authority, then you live in public housing.

  • You live in Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) housing if :

    • you applied directly to an apartment where the government pays the landlord rent for some or all of the units in the complex, and 

    • you pay your rent to the landlord. 

This is the most common type of subsidized housing. 

  • You are receiving Housing Choice Voucher assistance (Section 8) if:  

    • you were able to choose your apartment or house on your own, and 

    • a local housing authority pays a portion of your rent to the landlord and 

    • you pay your income-based rent to the landlord.

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What should I know about PBRA housing?

PBRA housing is a type of subsidized housing where the government pays the landlord rent for some or all units in an apartment complex. This kind of subsidized housing results in lower rent for tenants. The tenant pays rent based on a portion of his or her income. The amount of rent is generally 30% of a tenant's net income. Senior citizens may get some extra deductions. In PBRA units the minimum rent is rent $25. Each tenant must pay at least the minimum rent, even if they have no income.

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What are my rights and responsibilities?

Your rights and duties as a subsidized housing "tenant" are the same for any landlord-tenant relationship. You must: 

  • comply with the lease and the program requirements, 

  • pay your share of rent on time, 

  • maintain the unit in good condition and 

  • notify your landlord of any changes in income or family composition.


For the most part, the United States Department of Housing and Development (HUD) administers the PBRA program. However, some PBRA programs are administered by a local housing authority, such as the Atlanta Housing Authority. If your PBRA unit is administered by the Atlanta Housing Authority, some rules may be different than those explained in this article. Those rules may include things like work requirements and minimum rent. Be sure to check with your housing authority for the rules that apply to you.  

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What are my landlord’s rights and responsibilities?

If the landlord does not meet his/her obligations under the lease, the housing authority may end assistance payments to the landlord.

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How can I apply for PBRA housing?

To apply for PBRA, contact or visit the management office of each apartment complex that interests you. Visit the HUD website to find a comprehensive listing of housing authorities and private apartment complexes to apply to. Eligibility for this type of housing is based on income. 

Each apartment complex will have its own screening process and there may be issues that automatically disqualify prospective renters. They may conduct a credit, rental, and criminal history check for each adult that will be occupying the unit.

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How do I handle disputes with my landlord?

You do not have the right to a formal grievance hearing if you live in PBRA housing, but there are some situations where you do have the right to an informal discussion with your landlord.

You are entitled to an informal discussion if: 

  • Your income is recalculated;

  • Your rent goes up;

  • Your rental application is denied;

  • Your landlord tells you that he wants to evict you;

  • Your rental assistance is being terminated; or

  • You moved out and there is a dispute about the return of your deposit.

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Can I add a child in my care to my housing lease?

The law only requires that a caregiver (grandparent or otherwise) have written permission from a parent to have a child in the home of the caregiver. You do not need a power of attorney or guardianship over a child in your care to add them to your lease. If a landlord or housing program in Georgia is asking you for more than written permission, contact a legal services attorney with the Kinship Care Hotline at 1-855-357-6566.

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  • Visit the HUD website to find a comprehensive listing of housing authorities and private apartment complexes.
  • Watch this video to learn how the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) will protect victims of domestic violence who live in federally subsidized or public housing.
  • Use the Georgia Housing Search website to find project-based housing in your area.


For Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties, call Atlanta Legal Aid Society: 404-524-5811 

For all other counties, call Georgia Legal Services Program: 1-800-498-9469 (toll free) 

For Seniors age 60 and older, call the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline: 1-888-257-9519 (toll free)

Last Review and Update: Nov 20, 2019
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