Section 8 Landlord Questions
One common misconception about the role of the Housing Authority is that the HA
is responsible for the tenant’s actions under the lease. The role of the Housing
Authority is to administer the Section 8 Program which includes determining a
family’s eligibility for the program conducting annual property inspections, and
other administrative functions of the program.
Although we make every effort to counsel tenants on their behavior and take
action to terminate a tenant’s program participation for repeated lease
violations, we have no authority or ability to enforce the lease provisions when
a tenant does not comply with the terms of the lease. The Housing Authority is
not a party to the lease and consequently has no property management enforcement abilities.
For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you screen your prospective
tenants carefully to ensure that your property investment has been placed in the
possession of a tenant who will take proper care of your unit.
We also request that you communicate to us when you have lease violation
issues with a tenant and provide a copy of any lease violation notices to us
that you give to your Section 8 tenants. By providing the Housing Authority with
this information, action can be taken to terminate a program participant who
repeatedly fails to follow the program rules.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to screen the family. The Housing Authority
does not screen a family other than to determine if the family’s income allows
them to participate in the Section 8 Program. Landlords should use the same
criteria to screen families participating in the Section 8 program as they would
any other prospective tenant. The same rejection criteria should also be
In addition to the screening criteria you use for all other potential
tenants, the Housing Authority can also provide you with the following
information about program participants:
A participant’s current address as shown in the Housing Authority records;
The name and address, if known, of the landlord at the participants
current and prior address;
Claim and damage payments made by the Housing Authority on behalf of
participants; and the reason, if known, for any evictions.
Each Request for Tenancy Approval Form (the form submitted to request a unit
inspection) has a “Tenant Release Form” attached to it. Upon the Housing
Authority’s receipt of this form, the Housing Authority will provide the
landlord with the information listed above.
If, after screening the family, the landlord is interested in renting to the
Section 8 Participant, the Section 8 Program Participant and landlord will
complete and sign a “Request for Tenancy Approval” form indicating the date the
unit is available for rent, the rent desired, and who pays for what utilities.
That form is then brought to the Housing Authority to arrange for a unit
Yes. In 1998 HUD revised the regulations which limits circumstances under which
a property owner can rent his unit to a relative under the Section 8 Program.
The Housing Authority can permit such leasing only if it is determined that the
leasing of a relative’s unit would accommodate a person with disabilities.
For instance, if a property owner had a rental unit close to his/her property
which was handicapped accessible in order to provide attendant assistance to a
disabled family member, the Housing Authority could allow leasing to a relative.
The relationship which HUD defines as a relative is the parent (including
stepparents), child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of the Section
8 Voucher holder or any of his/her family members.
Upon receipt of the Request for Tenancy Approval, the Housing Authority will
review the rent and tenant’s income to ensure the tenant’s rent portion is
within the 40% tenant rent portion limitation required by HUD regulations. If
the rent calculation is verified as O.K. to process, an appointment will be made
with the landlord to inspect the unit. Housing Authority staff usually try to
schedule the inspection within 3-5 working days.
When the appointment for the inspection is scheduled, the unit is assumed to
be ready for occupancy. The Housing Authority inspector is required to verify
the that the unit meets
Housing Quality Standards (HQS). These are HUD established standards
designed to insure that units on which rent subsidies are paid are decent, safe
and sanitary. To view the HQS requirements, visit our
page. In addition to inspecting for HQS compliance, the inspector may
also note items needing repair that are not required but recommended for
To assist you in preparing your unit for inspection, a “Required Repair
Checklist” is attached to the Request for Tenancy Approval Form. This checklist
shows the items that most commonly fail the HQS inspection. You are encouraged
to use this checklist in reviewing your property before the Housing Authority
inspector inspects your property.
If there is an HQS violation, the Housing Authority is prohibited from
executing a Housing Assistance Payments Contract until the required repair is
completed and the unit has been re-inspected. No payment can be made for any
days preceding the confirmation of repair completion.
The Housing Authority inspector will also determine what utilities the tenant
is required to pay, e.g. gas, electricity, water, garbage etc. The tenant will
receive a credit, also known as a Utility Allowance, towards their portion of
rent based upon the utilities for which they are responsible. These allowances
are developed by the Housing Authority and estimate what a typical tenant’s
utility costs will be. The Housing Authority inspector will also confirm with
the landlord what utilities they will pay for and this will be reflected in the
lease and contract.
NOTE: If you are unsure how much you should request for rent, we recommend
that you contact local property management companies and seek guidance on
current rents for a specific area.
There is no limit so long as the rent request is not higher than other units
renting in the same neighborhood on the open market. A Housing Authority staff
person will review the rent the owner is requesting to determine if it appears
to be a fair rent based on rents for comparable units. The Housing Authority is
required by program regulation to certify that the rent being paid is not
greater than rent being charged for comparable non-Section 8 assisted units.
This is to insure that tax dollars are not being used to inflate rents in the
private rental market.
Rent comparability is determined by comparing the Section 8 unit to other
similar units. The comparability process is somewhat like an appraisal. The
staff person will consider the subject unit’s size, location, quality and age of
amenities (e.g. carpet, dishwasher, appliances, etc.). Also considered is the
unit’s interior condition and the exterior amenities and appearance of the
building. These are then compared with other like units and the rents are
Under the Housing Choice Voucher Program guidelines, there are two tests
which must be made. The first test is conducted when the Request for Tenancy
Approval is submitted. The calculation of whether the tenant’s rent portion is
less than 40% of their monthly income is completed. If it is determined that the
tenant’s rent will be less than 40% of their income, then the rent
reasonableness test is conducted during or after the actual inspection of the
The security deposit is no longer capped by HUD. Owners may collect a security
deposit from tenants provided the following two criteria are met:
The security deposit may not be in excess of amounts charged by the owner
to unassisted tenants.
The security deposit required does not violate state or local law.
Subject to state and local law, and in accordance with the lease, the owner
may use the security deposit, including any interest on the deposit, as
reimbursement for any moneys owed by the tenant.
There are five factors which affect a tenant’s rent under the Housing Choice
Voucher Program. What must be known prior to determining the tenant’s rent is
30% of the tenant’s monthly adjusted income
40% of the tenant’s monthly adjusted income (under the program guidelines,
the tenant’s rent portion cannot exceed this amount)
The Housing Authority’s “Payment Standard” for the bedroom size the family
The Rent the Owner is asking
The Utility Allowance figure (a Utility Allowance is a HUD required
allowance which must be deducted from the tenant’s rent portion for