The City of Fort Payne Housing Authority
SECTION 8 HOUSING or Housing Choice Voucher Program
WHAT IS SECTION 8?
The Section 8 program or (HCV Program) provides assistance for low income families in the private rental market through the Housing Assistance Payments Program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).RENTAL VOUCHER HOLDERS select a unit from the private rental market. Rental assistance makes market rate housing affordable. Program participants normally pay no more than 30% of monthly adjusted income towards rent and utilities. The Housing Assistance Payment subsidizes the balance of the rent to the property owner.
HOW DO I QUALIFY?
The landlord must agree to accept subsidy for their tenant, by entering into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract with the FPHA.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR MY UNIT TO BE RENTED TO AN ASSISTED FAMILY?
The unit must meet HUD (HQS) Housing Quality Standards and the rent must be approvable within HUD Fair Market Rents (FMR) and market rate comparable units within the area. (See “A Good Place to Live” and “HQS Inspection Form”).
HOW DO I MAKE A UNIT AVAILABLE TO VOUCHER HOLDERS?
You may call Fort Payne Housing Authority and talk to the Housing Choice Voucher Specialist to have the unit listed on our list of available units, or have your information listed on our Landlord Listing, which is handed out to voucher recipients. You may also advertise in the newspaper with the phrase “Will Accept Section 8”. Our families look for those listings.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN A VOUCHER HOLDER IS INTERESTED IN MY UNIT?
LANDLORD SCREENS TENANTS
The FPHA checks status of eligibility for applicants to the program by verifying income and running criminal background checks. However, you must screen the prospective tenant carefully to insure you are making a good selection. When one of our families contacts you, we can only certify to you their income and criminal history eligibility for the program in accordance with our policies. We cannot provide a reference as to their expected behavior as tenants. You may use any or all of the following screening procedures: 1. Credit Check 2. Criminal Check 3. Other Landlord References 4. Home Visits We encourage all of the above screening methods as long as you do not discriminate. Discrimination includes any tenant selection based on race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, country of birth, handicap, familial status, or refusing to allow children to live in a residential unit.
REQUEST FOR TENANT APPROVAL
When you have selected a tenant, he/she will have a “Request for Tenancy Approval” form for you to complete. When the tenant submits the completed form to our office, the HCV Specialist will contact you to schedule an HQS inspection.
INSPECTION OF PROPERTY
The unit will be inspected to insure that it meets HUD Housing Quality Standards guidelines. Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program regulations at 24 CFR Part 982 set forth basic housing quality standards (HQS) which all units must meet before assistance can be paid on behalf of a family and at least annually throughout the term of the assisted tenancy. HQS define “standard housing” and establish the minimum criteria for the health and safety of program participants. Current HQS regulations consist of 13 key aspects of housing quality, performance requirements, and acceptability criteria to meet each performance requirement. HQS includes requirements for all housing types, including single and multi-family dwelling units, as well as manufactured homes. (See “A Good Place to Live” and “HQS Inspection Form”).
LEASE AND CONTRACT
After the unit passes inspection and the rent has been approved, the landlord and tenant enter into a lease for an initial term of one year. The Housing Authority (HA) and the landlord sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract (HAP) through which the rent is assisted on behalf of the tenant.
CAN A LANDLORD COLLECT A SECURITY DEPOSIT?
Yes, but the security deposit must not exceed the amount of one’s month rent. The HA prohibits security deposits in excess of private practice, or in excess of amounts charged by the owner to unassisted tenants. *The landlord may collect a clean-up fee in lieu of security deposit.
Once the FPHA approves an eligible family’s housing unit, the family and/or landlord must notify FPHA when the family has moved into the unit. FPHA will send the HAP contract documents to the landlord and request a copy of the lease agreement signed between the landlord and the family. The landlord and the FPHA sign a HAP contract that runs for the same term as the lease. Following execution of the HAP Contract, a partial payment may be due and payable for remainder of month. After the landlord receives their first payment, HAP is paid monthly on the 1st of each month. 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 FPHA. The rent requested must be reasonable and the landlord must not charge the tenant any amount other than what the FPHA has determined to be the tenants’ portion of rent.
WHAT’S THE TERM OF THE LEASE AND CONTRACT?
After one year, the lease is renewed for a specified time period (ex, month-to-month, six months, etc.). The tenant may vacate with a notice after the term of the lease expires. If the tenant remains in the unit, the tenant is recertified for eligibility and the unit is inspected for HQS annually, at which time the landlord may request an annual adjustment rent increase which must be approved by the HA. This request must be submitted in writing to the HA and tenant sixty (60) days prior to renewal.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS A LANDLORD?
A: Maintain your property in good condition. You must complete repairs within a reasonable amount of time upon request by the HA or tenant, 24 hours for emergencies. The amount of time that is considered reasonable depends on the nature of the problem (typically within 30 days).
B: Set reasonable rules about use of unit and common areas for your tenant.
C: Do not enter a unit without tenant’s permission and proper notice except for emergencies or tenant requested repairs.
D: Collect appropriate security deposit as directed under the program and use it only as directed by state law.
E: Comply with equal opportunity requirements.
F: Enforce tenant obligations under the lease. Expect your tenant to: 1. Pay tenant portion of rent on time 2. Keep unit clean 3. Avoid illegal activity 4. Permit access for repairs 5. Avoid damages to property 6. Refrain from disturbing others 7. Allow only those occupants on the lease to reside in the unit
G: Comply with terms and conditions of lease and HAP contract.