The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is a federally funded program monitored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program is administered by local public housing agencies and provides rental assistance to eligible low-income households to enable them to obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing. The program pays a portion of the rent directly to the landlord and the assisted family is responsible for the remainder of the rent.
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 quality 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 services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority completes a rent reasonableness study on every unit before the initial leasing can take place and each time a rent increase is requested after the first initial lease term. This is done to ensure that the rent for your unit is reasonable compared to other similar units in the area.
For more information go to HUD’s new HCV Landlord Resource website (Link HCV Landlord Resource Website to https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/landlord) and HAP Contract HCV Guidebook.
How does the Section 8 process work for Landlords?
- Owners use their own criteria to screen a potential tenant for suitability as a renter. The Housing Authority does not screen participants.
- The owner and prospective tenant completes the Landlord packet containing the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) and other documents. The tenant returns these documents to the Housing Authority.
- The dwelling unit must pass Housing Quality Standards initially and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments.
- The owner uses their own lease and this should be the same lease used for unassisted tenants.
- Housing Assistance Payments are made directly to the landlord each month. Generally printed and mailed the 1st and 15th of the month. We are working on Direct Deposit.
- Request for rent increases should be submitted in writing at least 60 days prior to the date of the increase. No rent increases are allowed during the initial lease term (first 12 months).
- Section 8 program provides steady monthly rental payments.
- You will have a greater pool of potential renters.
Housing Search and Approval.
As vouchers become available, families are notified by mail to attend a briefing session. At the briefing session, all income is recertified and eligibility is determined including conducting a criminal background search. The family will be given a voucher and paperwork for the landlord to complete. The family will be given sixty (60) days to find an acceptable unit. The unit must meet Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and Housing Authority must be able to approve the rent. The family is also limited (based on their income) on the amount of rent that can be charged. This is determined on an individual basis. When a family finds a suitable unit, and the unit is approved by the PHA, the landlord and tenant should execute the lease. Remember that all leases will be for one (1) year.
You, the landlord are responsible for the SCREENING and selection of prospective tenants. The PHA certifies that families are eligible to receive the voucher, but does NOT screen the applicants for acceptability as tenants. You are encouraged to use your normal screening procedures and are under no obligation to lease to a family with a voucher. You must not discriminate against any prospective tenant on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. The HA will furnish the family’s current address, their current and prior landlord, if this information is available to the PHA. This information will not be available for clients receiving their voucher for the first time.
Request for Tenancy Approval.
If you determine the family will be suitable tenants, you and the family will complete the Request for Tenancy Approval form and all attachments of the landlord packet. All pages, except the Owner W-9 form, should be completely filled out (in ink) and returned to the PHA by the FAMILY. The Owner W-9 form is required by the housing authority, but the Owner can either fax or bring this document into the office as it contains private information regarding the owner.
After the PHA receives the Landlord packet and it is approved then an HQS inspection will be scheduled and rent reasonableness determination will be conducted. We recommend you and the client be present for the inspection. An adult (18 or older) MUST be present for the inspection, all utilities MUST be on, and the range and refrigerator must be in the unit for the inspection if provided by the owner. Inspections will be scheduled within 14 days of receiving the Request for Tenancy Approval. All units must pass a Housing Quality Standards inspection before the subsidy can start.
You may collect a security deposit as long as it is not in excess of security deposits for unassisted units. The PHA does not assist with security deposits.
Contract and Lease.
Once the unit passes inspection and the PHA receives a copy of the lease, the PHA will prepare the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract. The HAP Contract is the legal, binding agreement between the PHA and the landlord. It outlines your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. You and the family must sign the Lease Addendum and Violence against Women Addendum. These addendums are in addition to your lease. In the event of a conflict, the HUD lease addendums will override the terms and/or conditions of your lease. You will be required to enter into a one (1) year lease with your tenant. The HAP Contract and the lease will be for a term of one (1) year.
All HAP contacts will start after the unit has passed HQS inspection and the family has taken possession of the unit. The PHA will provide you with a statement reflecting the amount to be paid by the family and the PHA.
Housing Assistance Payment.
The Housing Assistance Payment is the subsidized portion of the rent paid directly to you by the PHA. After the HAP Contract and Lease are signed, the PHA will send your first Housing Assistance Payment. Checks are printed three times monthly: First working day of each month, middle of the month, and end of the month (we are working on Direct Deposits). The first month on the program, the landlord usually receives their check with the second or third run of the month due to paperwork; afterwards, the check should arrive at the first of the month. The tenant is responsible for their portion of the rent.
Annual Recertification and Inspections.
Each year the PHA must re-examine the family’s income, family composition and recalculate the family’s portion of the rent. You will receive notice of any change in the family’s portion of the rent or the Housing Assistance Payment.
In the event, the family reports a change in income and/or family composition at a time other than the annual re-certification, the amount of rent may change. As the landlord, you will be notified by the PHA of the new amounts to be collected from the tenant.
The PHA will conduct an inspection annually or biennially to assure that the home continues to meet HQS. If the home has deficiencies, the owner (or tenant if deficiency is a result of tenant’s actions) is responsible for taking corrective action within 30 days for non-emergency failures and the owner must take corrective action within 24 hours for emergency deficiencies. The PHA will also make special inspections in response to complaints by the tenant or local, state, or federal entity.
The owner may NOT increase the rent during the first 12 months of the lease. Owners may request a rent increase after the initial lease term. This increase must be requested in writing and with a sixty (60) days’ notice of the increase. Before the increase is granted, the PHA will obtain services from an independent entity which collects and maintain data on market rents in the PHA’s jurisdiction. The rent reasonable software must determine the rent is reasonable in order to approved the rent increase.
Termination of Tenancy.
You may terminate the lease (or evict in accordance with your lease) for noncompliance of the lease and/or failure to carry out their responsibilities under state or local tenant/landlord laws. You may NOT terminate the lease without stated cause during the initial lease term or any lease renewal term. Copies of termination notices or eviction notices must be provided to the Housing Authority.
If the tenant becomes ineligible for assistance from the PHA for any reason, you may continue to lease to the family without receiving payments from the PHA or terminate the lease in accordance with the lease terms. If the PHA terminates assistance to the voucher holder, you will be given a thirty (30) days’ notice of such termination in most cases.
1. Screen the family for suitability as a tenant. Check rental history, credit history and criminal record history.
2. Obey the lease, tenancy addendum with the family and the HAP Contract with the PHA.
3. Treat HCV renters the same as non-subsidized renters.
4. Maintain the housing unit by making necessary repairs in a timely manner. The unit must maintain Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
5. Follow fair housing and equal opportunity requirements. You may find more information about housing and discrimination of HUD’s website under Fair Housing (link Fair Housing to this website https://www.hud.gov/fairhousing)
6. Conduct normal landlord functions during the term of the lease, including inspections and enforcing non-compliance. Copies of correspondence or documents to the tenant are to be provided to the Jonesboro Housing Authority.
7. Notify the PHA immediately if and when the family moves from the unit.
8. Collect rent due from the assisted family (provide receipt) and otherwise comply with and enforce provisions of the lease. Evictions are performed by the landlord in accordance with state and local laws.
9. Collect the security deposit from the family. The security deposit is decided between the landlord and tenant and the PHA cannot assist the landlord in collecting the security deposit from the tenant.
10. Collect any charge as a result of damages caused by the family. The issue of damages to the unit is between the landlord and the family. The tenant can be charged for tenant caused damages.
11. Pay for any utilities and/or services for which you are responsible under the lease.
12. May not lease property to a relative (parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother) of any member of the assisted family, unless approved by the PHA as a reasonable accommodation.
13. Must adhere to provisions on modifications to a dwelling unit occupied or to be occupied by a person(s) with disabilities.
If you, as the landlord would like to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program and have questions, please call (870) 336-9610.
If you would like to make properties available for Voucher holders you can listed available units on the GoSection8 (http://www.gosection8.com) website. Or you can contact the Housing Authority at (870) 336-9619 to get your property listed on our Bulletin Board or get you contact information listed on our Landlord List.
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