Housing Choice Voucher
The housing choice voucher program (formally Section 8) allows very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.
How do I become a Landlord for the Rental Assistance program:
The Public Housing Authority has an information packet which includes what is expected of landlords, as well as Housing Quality Standard guidelines. If you agree to work with our program you will need to complete a W9 and a Direct Deposit Form. Once you have completed the required forms, your available rental property/properties will be placed on our Courtesy List. The Courtesy List is provided to all eligible families seeking a rental property.
ROLES - THE TENANT, THE LANDLORD, THE HOUSING AGENCY, AND HUD
Once the Housing Authority approves an eligible family’s lease and housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the HA sign a housing assistance contract which runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone - tenant, landlord and the Housing Authority - has obligations and responsibilities within the voucher program.
TENANT’S ROLE: When a family selects a housing unit, and the Housing Authority approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year, the landlord may initiate a new lease or allow the family to remain in the unit on a month-to-month lease. When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the HA of any changes in income or family composition.
LANDLORD’S ROLE: The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program’s housing standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the service agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the HA.
HOUSING AUTHORITY’S ROLE: The HA administers the voucher program locally. The HA provides a family with the rental assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and HA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide rental assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet his/her obligations under the lease, the HA has the right to terminate assistance payments.
HUD’S ROLE: To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow the HA to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays the HA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites the HA to submit applications for funds for additional rental vouchers. Applications are then reviewed and funds awarded to the selected HA on a competitive basis.
Basic Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Checklist
- All electrical switches & outlets must work & have proper cover plates.
- All light fixtures/fans/ceiling heaters/vent-a-hoods, must be in good condition & operate properly.
- All gas appliances must have properly installed cut-offs.
- All exterior surfaces must be without holes, openings or other defects.
- All cabinet doors must be in good working condition.
- All windows must be in good condition & have locking devices.
- All paint intact, no loose paint, no chips; when there is a child under 6 & house built before 1978.
- Tub, tub surround, toilet, bathroom floor, lavatory, ventilation must be in good order.
- Carpet, tile, wood flooring must be in good condition & recently cleaned. Property must be clean.
- Approved keyless locking device & peep hole must be on each exterior door.
- Must not be any evidence of roaches or other infestation.
- Must not be any un-vented gas heaters in sleeping areas. Old gas lines must be capped or disconnected.
- Must not be any water leaks under kitchen, bathroom sinks or in laundry area.
- Must not be any debris or trash outside or inside the unit. Alley must also be clear.
- Rooms used for sleeping must have at least one working window.
- Smoke detectors must work & are near sleeping areas not the kitchen.
- Storm/screen doors when present must be in good condition.
- Appliances must be in good condition & work properly.
- Walls & ceiling must be without holes or evidence of water leaks.
- Water heater must not have any leaks or excessive corrosion & must be properly installed.
- Unit must have suitable heating system for all living areas.
- Must not have any un-vented heaters in any bathrooms.
- Carbon monoxide detectors must be provided with gas space heaters.