The Top Ten things every landlord should know:
Like almost everything else in the Section 8 program, the move-in process requires landlords, tenants and the Housing Authority to work together closely. For that reason, the Housing Authority has compiled a list of the top 10 things every provider should know about the move-in process. We hope this list will help make your next move-in fast, efficient and problem free!
- 1. Vouchers must be issued to Participants and must be issued vouchers each time they move. Participants are not eligible for an initial inspection unless the Housing Authority has issued a voucher, and the move-in process cannot proceed without an inspection. Landlords may contact the Housing Authority to determine if a tenant’s voucher has been issued.
- 2. Request for Tenancy Approvals must be submitted-Before the Housing Authority can perform an initial inspection, the tenant will provide the landlord with a Request for Tenancy Approval. This form must be filled out completely, because missing information will slow the process. After you send us the Request for Tenancy Approval, we check the rent and utilities for affordability. When the voucher is issued to the family, they are provided with an affordable rental rate range, based on their income. We strongly recommend that you talk to participants ahead of time to find out what they can afford. If a family’s share of gross rent (contract rent + utility allowance) exceeds 40 percent of the family’s monthly income, then the family won’t qualify for the unit.
- 3. Units must be prepared for inspection, to ensure a speedy inspection process, units must be ready for inspection at the scheduled time. Construction or rehabilitation work must be complete. Also, the unit must be unoccupied (unless it is occupied by the tenant for whom the inspection was scheduled). If a unit is not ready for inspection at the scheduled time, the Housing Authority inspector will not inspect the unit which will delay the process.
- 4. Tenants should not move in before inspection-Participants are encouraged not to move into a rental unit before it passes inspection because the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not allow Section 8 subsidy to start until after a unit has been inspected and shown to meet HUD’s Housing Quality Standards. That means that participants who move in prior to the unit passing inspection are responsible for the total amount of contract rent. This can result in financial hardship for the participant and inconvenience for the landlord.
- 5. Rents must be affordable and reasonable-Participants may ask a landlord to reduce rent if their share of rent and utilities exceeds 40 percent of their monthly adjusted income. Please note that the landlord is under no obligation to lower the rent, but the Housing Authority will be unable to provide a subsidy if the rent exceeds 40% of the tenant’s monthly adjusted income and/or the rent does not meet rent reasonable criteria.
- 6. You must sign a lease and a contract-Once a unit has passed inspection, the Housing Authority prepares contracts and sends them to the landlord. Before providers can receive their monthly Housing Assistance Payments, the Housing Authority must receive a copy of the signed contract (between the landlord and the Housing Authority) and a copy of the signed lease (between the landlord and the tenant). The lease must include the lease term, a list of all family members who plan to occupy the unit, the unit’s address and who pays for the unit’s utilities.
- 7. Owners and participants cannot be related-Please note that landlords and participants in the Section 8 program cannot be related, unless the participant is verified disabled and has requested a reasonable accommodation.
- 8. Side payments are not allowed-Landlords must never collect side payments from the participants. Asking for or accepting a side payment is considered fraud and could make the landlord and/or tenant ineligible to participate with the Section 8 program.
- 9. The Housing Authority does not reimburse for deposits or unit damage-The Housing Authority does not have funds available to help tenants with deposits. Participants are responsible for all deposits. Landlords should collect deposits at the time of move-in, and make sure the lease describes payment plans in detail. The Housing Authority also does not reimburse landlords for unit damage. It is the provider’s responsibility to request payment for unit damage from the tenant.
- 10. When to contact the Housing Authority-A Douglas County staff person is always available to answer your questions. Do not hesitate to contact us.