What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section8)?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) assists low-income families in the private rental market through Housing Assistance Payments (HAP). This assistance makes market rate housing affordable. Program participants typically pay no more than 30% - 40% of monthly-adjusted income towards rent and utilities. The Housing Commission pays the balance of the rent to the property owner.

What are the Benefits?

• Total rent is guaranteed--if the tenant reports loss of income, our HAP payment increases so you are protected!

• HAP payments electronically deposited each month.

• Less chance of tenants defaulting on rent or violating the lease-if they are evicted for cause, they are terminated from our program.

• Minimal paperwork is required to get set up and landlords use their own lease and screening process.

• Inspections done by the Housing Commission closely follow the City’s Rental Inspection. If you can pass that, you can pass ours!

How Does It Work?

When an applicant with a voucher applies for your unit, use the standard application screening process you would for any other applicant to determine suitability. If you approve the applicant to rent the unit, just complete the request for tenancy approval (RFTA) form provided by the applicant. The applicant returns that form to us.Next, we schedule an inspection. If the unit passes, you proceed with executing the lease and signing a HAP contract with us. If the unit doesn’t pass, we’ll provide a list of failed items and come back out for a follow-up inspection once repairs are made. We can generally have everything completed and a new landlord on board within 10 business days.

What are the Inspection Requirements?

If the unit can pass the City’s Rental Inspection, it can pass ours.

The unit will be inspected prior to leasing, then annually. If the unit passes two consecutive inspections, we will inspect bi-annually.

The inspection generally covers functionality of systems (plumbing/electric/HVAC) and health/safety items like smoke detectors, accessible egress, GFCI outlets, no chipping paint, safe exterior/yard, no hazardous dwellings next door, etc.

Have the Tenants Been Screened?

Landlords can and should use the same screening process you would for any other prospective tenant. The Housing Commission has validated that our program participants have not been convicted of a serious violent crime in the last 5 years, they are not on a lifetime sex offender list, and they have not been convicted of any crime related to manufacturing methamphetamine. Further, any program participants who are evicted for cause are removed from our program.

Can I Charge Regular/Market Rent? Can I Increase Rent?

Landlords can and should set rent at the same amount and according to the same policies as applied to any other tenant.

Yes, after the initial 12-month lease period. Just send us notification at least 60 days before the proposed effective date. The rent increase is approvable if it is in line with average market rents for the area and the unit meets inspection standards. You’ll receive an updated rent letter from us at least 30-days prior to the effective date of the increase.

Can Rent Be Reduced?

Total rent to owner will NOT change. If the tenant has a change in income, their portion may go up or down, but our HAP portion will change accordingly to protect your total rent amount.

Can I Require a Security Deposit?

Landlords can and should a security deposit in the same amount and according to the same policies as applied to any other tenant.

Do I Need a Special Lease?

Landlords can and should use the same lease as you would for any other tenant. The initial lease must be a 12-month lease and HUD requires an addendum to the lease (attached).

How Will I Receive Rent Payments?

HAP is directly deposited on or before the 5th of each month. Tenants are responsible for paying their rental portion directly to you in accordance with their lease.

What Happens If the Tenant Violates the Lease?

Landlords can and should enforce the terms of the lease as you would for any other tenant. If a tenant is evicted for cause, they will also be terminated from our program. This is an extra-incentive for voucher tenants to abide by their lease agreement.

Below are links to information and forms commonly requested by landlords:

[1] Payment Standards are set by HUD and are based on market rates for the area.