What is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program?
The HCV program (sometimes referred to as Section 8) is the largest federal low-income housing assistance program. Qualified families are given a voucher to help pay a portion of the cost of renting housing on the open market at a location they choose. The voucher program is funded at the federal level by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At the local level, the program is operated by a Public Housing Authority. Families can pay up to 40% of their monthly adjusted income toward the rental of the unit to the owner. The Housing Authority makes monthly payments directly to the owner on behalf of the family. The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is the difference between the tenant’s portion and the actual rent. The family negotiates directly with the landlord to secure rental accommodations that best suit their need. The unit must meet HUD Housing Quality Standards and pass inspection before a contract is executed between the Housing Authority and Landlord.
What are the benefits of being a HCV landlord?
You receive a guaranteed monthly payment on the first of every month. You retain control. You can collect a security deposit, use your own lease, and screen tenants according to your own suitability criteria. You receive free annual inspections to ensure maximum property upkeep. Most importantly – by participating in the HCV program, you are helping low-income families obtain affordable housing.
What do I have to do to qualify and participate as HCV landlord?
You must be willing to meet the requirements of the HCV program and have a unit that passes inspection. Owners must also certify that they are not related to the assisted family and that they are the rightful owner of the property.
Are landlords required to rent to each person who holds a HCV from the Housing Authority?
No. You may rent to anyone you choose, provided your reasons for not renting to someone are not discriminatory. As long as you have prospective tenants complete an application as a part of the landlord screening process. The selection of tenants is at the discretion of the owner. HCV tenants should be treated the same as unassisted residents and must abide by the same unit regulations.
How do I list my property with Section 8?
Landlords can list their property on www.GoSection8.com. It is simple, quick, and free. You can even do it by fax, or by calling toll-free to 866-466-7328 and following the easy automated instructions or ask for help from service desk personnel.
Do I have to do additional paperwork to rent to a HCV client?
There is a little additional paperwork, but not a lot. The landlord must complete a Request for Tenancy Approval form which indicates the address of the unit, the utilities the tenant is to pay and the monthly rent requested. The landlord and tenant will also negotiate and execute a lease agreement. After the unit has been inspected by the Housing Authority, the owner will sign a contract with the Housing Authority. The lease is not binding until the unit passes inspection and the HAP Contract has been executed by the landlord and the Housing Authority. Landlords must also complete a Tax Identification Form.
Are there rent limitations?
The Housing Authority does a rent reasonableness survey to establish that the requested rent is comparable to other units in a similar area of town, and that the rent is the same for unassisted units. However, tenants’ portion may not be more than 40% of their income.
I requested a rent increase. When will it be effective?
In accordance with the HAP Contract, owners wishing to raise the rent must serve the tenant a 60-day written notice and provide the Housing Authority a copy of the notice. The contract must meet the reasonable rent threshold. Rent increases are effective on the first of the month 60 days after we receive the request.
How can I help my unit to pass the inspection the first time?
First and foremost, the housing must be safe, decent, and sanitary. Housing must also meet the Housing Quality Standards. For more information please refer to the "A Good Place to Live!" brochure.
When will I receive my check?
Checks are processed on the 1st and 15th of each month. If it is a new contract, you will be paid on the next scheduled check run after the unit passes inspection and we have received a signed copy of the lease and signed HAP contract. The Housing Authority will not pay subsidy before the contract terms have been agreed upon and the unit passes the inspection. If the owner permits the tenant to move into the unit prior to the execution of the contract, the tenant will be responsible for the full amount of the rent and the Housing Authority will not pay any amount retroactively.
Can my Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) check be direct deposited to my account?
Yes. Just complete the Direct Deposit Form and return to our office. It may take up to 2 months before Direct Deposit payments can begin. Meanwhile, you will receive checks in the mail until Direct Deposit payments begin.
May a landlord evict a tenant?
Yes. Providing proper legal notice, the owner may have a tenant evicted from their unit. The Housing Authority cannot evict a tenant from your unit. Written notice of the owner’s intent to evict may be given, provided proof of non-payment of rent, damage beyond normal wear and tear, illegal use of the unit, etc. can be substantiated. The property owner must advise the Housing Authority at the beginning of the eviction process by submitting a copy of the initial notice. The owner must adhere to local and state eviction laws in the eviction of HCV tenants.
Are landlords required to make modifications to their units to meet HCV tenant’s ADA/Reasonable Accommodation requests?
Owners of private rental units leased with voucher assistance must make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for a person with disabilities to use the housing and must allow the person with a disability to make reasonable modifications whether the person is an HCV tenant or not. It is unlawful for any person to refuse, to permit, at the expense of the person with a disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises.
What are the HCV tenant’s rights regarding foreclosure?
Renters must now be allowed to remain in their homes for the duration of their lease – even if the home is being foreclosed on. The law provides renters with a minimum of 90 days notice before a tenant must vacate a property. If a buyer plans to use the property as his primary home, or the tenant’s lease is month to month, or there is no lease at all the tenant is entitled to at least 90 days notice. If there is a lease, tenants will be allowed to stay for the duration of the lease before evictions can proceed.
What is the responsibility of the owner under the program?
- Tenant screening, selection of family and leasing of the unit
- Perform all management and renting functions
- Maintain the unit and make necessary repairs
- Pay owner supplied utilities
- Comply with the Housing Assistance Payment Voucher contract
- Comply with and enforce the lease
What is the responsibility of the tenant under the program?
- Find suitable housing
- Provide income and family information needed to verify and certify eligibility, annually and interim recertification
- Allow the Housing Authority to inspect the unit
- Repair damages caused by the family
- Abide by all family obligations as defined in the Housing Choice Voucher
- Avoid committing serious or repeated violations of the lease
What is the responsibility of the Housing Authority under the program?
- Determine tenant eligibility based on the Federal Regulations
- Process applications for certification and re-certification with regards to family participation
- Inspect units, approve lease and execute the HAP Contract
- Determine and pay housing assistance payments to the landlord on behalf of the family
- Explain and disseminate information about program procedures to Landlords/Tenants
- Monitor program performance and assure compliance of Federal, State and Local rules and regulations