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 PHA.
BASIC OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES
The basic owner responsibilities in the HCV program are outlined in the regulations and include the following:
• Perform all of the owner’s obligations under the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract, the HUD Tenancy Addendum and the lease. If there is a conflict between the lease and the HAP/HUD Tenancy Addendum, the HAP/HUD Tenancy Addendum prevails;
• Have PHA approval before moving a tenant into the unit;
• Maintain the unit in accordance with the Housing Quality Standards (HQS), including performance of ordinary and extraordinary maintenance;
• Comply with equal opportunity requirements;
• Prepare and furnish to PHA information required under the HAP contract;
• Collect from the family any security deposit, the tenant’s contribution to rent (the part of rent to owner not covered by the housing assistance payment from PHA), and any charges for unit damage by the family;
• Enforce tenant obligations under the dwelling lease;
• Notify the AHA of eviction notices in writing 30 days in advance, stating grounds or cause;
• Sale, transfer or change of Agency: Landlord must notify AHA Section 8 Office in writing, within thirty (30) days of change so that AHA may make appropriate changes.
• Provide proof that all city, state, and local taxes, fines, assessments and/or payment agreements are current;
• Remain current on all city, state, and local taxes, fines, assessments and/or payment agreements related to real estate taxes; and
• Comply with the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA) when screening and terminating tenants.
• In accordance with applicable fair housing laws and other requirements, owners are responsible for screening tenants prior to occupancy;
• Agree to a ONE year initial lease agreement and an approved contract rent;
• Provide a letter of good standing for existing tenants who request to move from existing units.
Section 8 Landlord Access
Landlord access is a system to allow landlords to view information on-line. Using this system, Landlords will be able to view all HAP payments. Landlord Access is a centralized, secure, web-based system for producing on-line statements for all owners. This eliminates the need for creating paper payment statements, saving time, eliminating excess paper usage and improving owner access to data.
A letter is given to all Section 8 landlords detailing how to login to the Landlord Access website with instructions including your registration key and how to register.
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What are some of the benefits for Section 8 participation?
One of the reasons for the program’s success is that owners like you have taken time to learn the rules and have recognized some of the benefits of becoming a participating landlord. Over the years, many owners and property managers have come to appreciate the advantages of having a contracted monthly assistance payment as well as minimum inspection standards. Keeping your property consistently well maintained helps ensure both its resale value and its appeal to prospective tenants when a family moves out.
Family Payments to Owners
The family is responsible for paying the difference between the housing authority’s payment amount and the total rent to owner for the unit. It is the owner’s responsibility to collect any portion of the rent payable by the family.
- When you are contacted by a prospective renter, evaluate him or her as you would any other renter.
- Make sure that your tenant selection standards are based on objective, business-related considerations, such as previous history of nonpayment, damage to property, or disturbance of neighbors.
- Owners must apply the same standards of tenant selection to any family that applies, whether the family is a prospective Section 8 renter or not. Tenant selection must not be based upon race, color, age, religion, sex, familial status, disability, or any other discriminatory factors.
- The housing authority does not screen families for their suitability as renters. That is the job of the owner.
Who is responsible for unpaid tenant rent and damages?
You should treat your tenants as you would any other renter, and enforce your lease. Your cooperation is essential to the housing authority being able to serve you and any family you may select as a renter. Please notify us if the tenant is violated their lease and make sure to give us a copy of any notification you give to the tenant or any notices given to you by the court.
May Landlords evict a Section 8 tenant?
During the term of the lease, the owner may terminate tenancy only for:
• Serious or repeated violations of the terms and conditions of the lease, including, but not limited to, failure to pay rent or other amounts due under the lease.
• Violations of federal, state, or local law that impose obligation on the tenant in connection with the use or occupancy of the unit or premises.
Other good causes, such as the following:
• Failure by the family to accept the offer of a new or revised lease.
• Family history of disturbances of neighbors, destruction of property, or living or house keeping habits resulting in damage to the unit or premises.
• The owner’s desire to use the unit for personal or family use or for non-residential purposes.
• Business or economic reasons, such as sale of the property, renovation of the unit, or a desire to lease the unit at a higher rent.
The owner may not terminate for “good cause” during the initial term of the lease unless the cause is something that the family did or failed to do. At the end of the initial term or at the end of any successive definite term, the owner may terminate the lease without cause.
Terms to know
Family Rent to Owner: The amount payable monthly by a family as rent to an owner in a Section 8 program.
Gross Rent: The sum of the rent to owner plus any utility allowance. If there are no tenant-paid utilities the gross rent equals the rent to owner.
Rent to Owner: The monthly rent payable to the owner under lease. Rent to owner includes payments for any services, maintenance, and utilities to be provided by the owner in accordance with the lease.
Head of Household: The person who assumes legal and financial responsibility for a household and is listed on the housing application as its head.
Housing Assistance Payment (HAP): The monthly assistance payment by the housing authority.
Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract: A written agreement between a housing authority and an owner for the purpose of providing housing assistance payments to the owner on behalf of an eligible family.
Housing Quality Standards (HQS): The HUD minimum quality standards for housing assisted under the Section 8 program.
Premises: The building or complex in which a unit is located, including common areas and grounds.
A rent to owner that is not more than either:
1) The rent charged for comparable units in the private unassisted market or
2) The rent charged by the owner for a comparable unassisted unit in the building or on the premises.
3) Rent Reasonableness: At the time of the inspection, the inspector will also be evaluating the rent reasonableness of the housing unit. The proposed rent will be compared to the rent for other units on the market of similar size, features, and amenities.
Although there are no HUD “ceilings” on the rents charged in the Voucher Program, rents must still be reasonable and comparable to those charged for similar unassisted units. The PHA bases the determination of reasonableness and comparability on the unit inspection report and rental market information.
PHA Disapproval of Tenancies: If the family chooses a unit with a gross rent greater than the payment standard and their share exceeds 40% of their monthly adjusted income, the PHA is not permitted to approve tenancy.
Who makes the rental payment and when may an owner expect to receive the payment?
If you decide to participate in the program, be prepared to furnish proof that the property taxes are current. This is one of AHA’s requirements for the program.
We will begin making payments to you after the tenancy has been approved and the Housing Assistance Contract has been signed. Payments will be deposited directly into a bank account of your choosing. Payments will be made on or about the first business day of each month and will continue as long as the following conditions are met:
• The unit meets Housing Quality Standards
• The tenant is eligible for assistance
• The tenant resides in the unit
• The owner is in compliance with the contract
Who selects and screens the tenants?
Even though a family is determined by the housing authority to be eligible for the program, the owner must approve the tenant as a suitable renter. The housing authority knows that the owner has approved a family when a Request for Tenancy Approval form is submitted.
It is the owner’s responsibility to screen families who are interested in renting their units. Owners should:
Consider a family’s background regarding factors such as:
• Paying rent and utility bills
• Caring for property
• Respecting the rights of others to peaceful enjoyment of their residences
• Engaging in drug-related criminal activity or other criminal activity that is a threat to life, safety, or the property of others
• Compliance with other essential conditions of tenancy
Q. What must be completed to begin an inspection in a new unit?
A. Previous tenant must be completely moved out of the unit. Power must be on in the unit. Refrigerator and stove must be in the unit. All repair work / improvements must be completed prior to the inspection.
Apartment must be painted prior to a new unit inspection.
An inspection of the unit will not be scheduled until the Landlord Packet is received with proof that the property taxes for that unit are current.
Q. What are the top ten items that fail inspections?
1. Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Inoperable detectors in unit.
- All bedrooms are required to have a smoke detector
- All units that have gas appliance, heat, etc. must have a carbon monoxide detector in the unit
2. Security Issues
- Broken windows
- Broken window locks or broken door locks
- All first floor windows require window locks
- Windows will not stay up when opened and/or windows that will not open
3. Inadequate apartment plumbing
- Leaks at kitchen or bathroom sinks
- Hot water
- Toilet loose from floor
- Toilet or drain plug ups
4. Electrical Hazards
- •GFI outlets not functioning properly
- •Broken, cracked, or missing outlet and switch covers
5. Ceiling and wall stains from water leaks
6. Roach, Rodent, and/or Insect Infestation
7. Holes in floors, walls, and doors
8. Peeling or chipping paint at ceilings, walls, or doors
9. Exterior / interior stairs and railings need to be secured
10. Front / Rear yard needs to be mowed and clean of garbage and debris