What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides housing assistance for low-income families in the private rental market. Rental voucher holders select a unit from the private rental market. Rental assistance makes market-rate housing affordable. Program participants pay no more than 30% of their monthly adjusted income towards rent and utilities. The housing assistance payment subsidizes the balance of the rent to the property owner.
What are the requirements for my unit to be rented to an assisted family?
The unit must meet HUD Housing Quality Standards and the rent must be reasonable for the jurisdiction and approvable within HUD fair market rents.
How do I make a unit available to voucher holders?
You make call the Housing Authority office to have the unit listed on our list of available units. You may also advertise in the newspaper with the phrase “will accept Housing Choice Voucher Program.”
What do I do when contacted by a voucher holder about my unit?
You must screen the prospective tenant carefully to insure you are making a good selection. When a voucher holder contacts you, we encourage you to screen the voucher holder. We recommend that you perform credit checks, landlord reference checks and home visits to their current residence, if possible. We will verify their income eligibility for the program and our case workers will do a criminal background check prior to eligibility determination. We cannot provide a reference as to their expected behavior as tenants. Remember, the lease is between you and the tenant. Treat them the same as you would a non-assisted tenant. Check on them and inspect your property as you feel it is needed. Do not discriminate based on race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, country of birth, handicap or familial status. “Familial status” means a landlord may not refuse to allow children to live in a residential unit.
Request for Tenancy Approval
When you have selected a tenant, he/she will have a “Request for Tenancy Approval” from for you to complete. When the tenant submits the form to our office, a housing representative will contact you to schedule an inspection.
Inspection of Property
The unit will be inspected to insure that it meets HUD Housing Quality Standards. A copy of the HQS inspection form can be downloaded on this web site. Once the inspection is completed you will be mailed a copy of the inspection repair list, if applicable.
Lease and Contract
After the unit passes inspection and the rent has been approved, the landlord and tenant enter into a lease for an initial term of one year. The Housing Authority and you, the landlord, sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract through which the rent is assisted on behalf of the tenant.
Can I collect a security deposit?
Yes you can. However, regulations prohibit security deposits in excess of private practice, or in excess of amounts charged by the owner to unassisted tenants.
What is the term of the lease and contract?
After one year, the lease can be renewed on a month-to month basis. The tenant may vacate with a notice after the term of the lease expires. If the tenant remains in the unit the tenant is recertified for eligibility and the unit is inspected for HQS annually.
What are my rights and responsibilities as a landlord?
- Maintain your property in good condition. Complete repairs within a reasonable amount of time upon request by the Housing Authority or tenant, 24 hours or less for emergencies. The amount of time that is reasonable depends on the nature of the problem.
- Set reasonable rules about use of unit and common areas.
- Do not enter a unit without tenant’s permission and proper notice except for emergencies or tenant requested repairs.
- Collect appropriate security deposit as directed under the program and use it only ad directed by state law.
- Comply with equal opportunity requirements.
- Enforce tenant obligations under the lease.
- Comply with terms and conditions of lease and Housing Assistance Payment Contract with the Housing Authority.
- Take action through the court system to evict when tenant violates the lease.
- Expect your tenant to:
- Pay rent on time
- Keep unit clean
- Avoid illegal activity
- Permit access for repairs
- Avoid damage to property
- Refrain from disturbing others
- Allow only those occupants on the lease to reside in the unit
Owner requested rent increases
Owners requesting a rent adjustment in Total Contract Rent must issue a 60-day notice of the proposed change in rent to the tenant and submit a copy of the notice to the Housing Authority. Based on HUD requirements of rent reasonableness, the Housing Authority will review the proposed request and determine if an adjustment can be approved. If the proposed rent increase does not meet rent reasonableness standards, the Housing Authority may deny the request for increase and/or propose a reduction in the rent. Approved rents must be reasonable in comparison to rents of other comparable unassisted units in the market.
How to request a rent adjustment
In order to considered, your rent adjustment request must:
- Be addressed to the tenant (ex: Dear John Doe).
- State a dollar amount that you are requesting (ex: I would like to raise the rent to $650 dollars per month).
- Give 60 days notice.
- Be signed by the owner/agent.
- Indicate that a copy of the request is being sent to the Housing Authority.