Depending which program you are under, you must work with your landlord and/or the Housing Authority. This information will help you understand when you should contact the Housing Authority & when you should contact your landlord. Make sure you understand this. This information will help you understand some of your rights & responsibilities. It does not take the place of your lease or any other agreements you make with your landlord and/or the Housing Authority
Public HousingSection 8:
Landlord “Can I raise my rent? ”
You must give the tenant and HAM a 60 day written notice prior to the effective date of the proposed rent increase. HAM will review the request for rent increase and advise you if it can be granted
“Can I ask for an additional payment that is not in the contract? Is this legal? “Any payments not specified in the rental contract are not allowed. These “side payments” are illegal and will result in legal sanctions against the owner.
“What are the differences in how I manage my Section 8 assisted unit from my unassisted units?” A Section 8 assisted unit is to be managed in the same manner as any unassisted units. ( You are to manage your property)
“Can my tenant move? Who do they have to notify? “In most cases the tenant can only move when the Lease Agreement expires. They may move then with a written 30 day notice to you and a copy to HAM.
Who is responsible for repairs to the unit?”HAM is NOT a management company. Specify in your lease as to who is responsible for repairs.
In most situations, the landlord is responsible for correcting issues that arise due to ordinary wear & tear, without charge to the tenant. It is also the responsibility of the landlord to correct any tenant or guest caused damage to the property, but can bill the tenant.
“What about pets?” This is up to you. A ‘pet deposit’ & separate pet rent can be required of the tenant.
“I have rented a house to my tenant. Who should cut the grass and take care of the lawn?” State these specifications in your lease. All parties involved must abide by the lease agreement you signed.”
In general, owners may enter a tenant’s unit for three reasons: 1) emergency repairs, 2) non-emergency repairs or improvements, and 3) apartment inspections. Emergency repair requires no advance notice to the tenant. Access for all other reasons requires a minimum of 24 hours advance written notice.
”The tenant & I are having serious issues. Each feels the other is not keeping his part of the contract. What do I do? ” The lease is a legal contract between you and the tenant. HAM is not a party to this contract and cannot enforce its provisions on either party. You and the tenant are responsible for complying with the lease. Make sure the lease contains the following information: lessee (tenant), lessor (landlord / owner), unit address, rent, term of the lease (starting and ending dates, must be for at least one year), who pays what utilities, and what appliances are provided with the unit. Be sure that the procedures for repairs and maintenance are clear. Make sure you clearly state the rules and regulations posted for the property or specified in the contract. If there are disputes, tenants and the landlords should cooperate with each other and attempt to work out any differences. HAM may be able to help, in some limited cases. However, the Housing Authority does not have the power to force a tenant or owner to take any desired action. In some cases tenant and owner disputes must be settled through the court system.
“What is the ‘Housing Quality Standard’ (HQS) Inspection?”]HUD requires HAM to perform an HQS inspection of all Section 8 units before entering into a Housing Assistance Payment contract with an owner, and at least annually thereafter. The inspection confirms whether an apartment meets minimum physical standards established by HUD. All Section 8 voucher holders, tenants, and landlords are required to provide access to HAM staff to allow them to perform the inspection. A family that fails to provide access may be terminated from the program.
“Can I lease a mobile home (trailer) under Section 8?” A tenant can move into any type of residence that meets HQS inspection requirements (considering also jurisdiction and rent amount guidelines.
“What are the Section 8 HQS resources available on-line:”
- The HQS inspection form can be found at: http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/forms/files/52580-a.pdf
- A brochure outlining the basic requirements for a Section 8 unit can be found at: http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/forms/files/593pih.pdf
- You can also find other helpful resources by entering section 8 landlord information in any search-engine.
“What income should I report to the Housing Authority?” You must report ALL income to the Housing Authority. Income includes work paychecks, Child Support, Social Security, and any other benefits you get for any household member, including children.
“When should I report income to the Housing Authority?”]Income must be reported when you first apply, and at your annual re-certifications. Changes in income, either up or down, must be reported IN PERSON within 10 days of the change.
“Will an increase in income change my portion of the rent?” It may. Some types of income will not increase your rent, but if you fail to report them, you may lose your assistance. Also, if your income decreases, your portion of the rent may decrease too. The Housing Authority will determine that. You must keep paying your portion of the rent amount unless the Housing authority tells you IN WRITING to pay a different amount. If you disagree with this amount, you have the right to request a hearing with the Executive Director.
“Which amount on my paycheck does the Housing Authority use to calculate my rent?” Rent calculations are based on GROSS INCOME-the amount earned BEFORE any taxes or deductions have been subtracted.
“What expenses can I turn in?” Out-of-pocket child care expenses for children under age 12, and recurring out-of-pocket medical expenses for household members receiving Social Security or SSI benefits must be submitted for use in rental amount calculations.
“What do I do if something in my house or apartment breaks? “Contact your landlord for repairs. Remember that you cannot withhold your portion of the rent just because the landlord does not make repairs.
“Do I have to keep the utilities turned on?” YES! To keep your housing assistance, you must keep ALL your utilities, including electricity and/or gas, turned on. If you fail to keep ALL utilities turned on, you WILL lose your rental assistance. You may qualify for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“Do I need a smoke alarm?” Yes. Keep batteries in your smoke alarms. Also, do not disconnect the smoke alarm. You may lose your rental assistance if you do.
“Who is responsible for damage to the house or apartment?” You are responsible for damage caused by you, your household members, and your guests. This includes damage to the house or apartment and to the grounds.
“Who do I pay my portion of the rent to?”You should pay your portion of the rent, and the security deposit to your landlord. The landlord cannot charge you more than your lease states. Make sure to get a receipt from your landlord for your security deposit & for your rental payments.
“Am I allowed to have guests at my house or apartment? “Yes, you may have guests for up to 14 days per calendar year. Beyond 14 days, they are considered to be living with you “off lease,” which is a lease violation, and could result in loss of your rental assistance.
“Am I responsible for my guests & their actions?” Yes. You are responsible for the criminal activity of your guests, even if you did not know about the activity or were not present with them at your home when the activity occurred.
“Can I be evicted?” You can be evicted from your unit for:
- Non payment of your portion of the rent;
- Serious/repeated violations of the lease;
- Criminal activity that threatens the health & safety of other tenants, or disturbs the peace.
These causes for eviction will also result in the loss of your rental assistance.
To evict you, your landlord must give you & the Housing Authority a written eviction notice & then take you to court. You have the right to go to court & tell your side of the story.
At the end of your initial lease, your landlord can choose to notify you & the Housing Authority in writing, expressing their wish not to renew your lease, or to discontinue participation in the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program.
If you choose to move from your unit, move to a new unit, or no longer participate in the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, you must notify the Housing Authority & your landlord 30 days in advance in writing.