Frequently Asked Questions From Landlords About The Section 8 Program
1. How can I list my property through Section 8?
You can list your property for free by contacting NCHousingSearch.org. Socialserve.com is a free website that lists affordable housing throughout the country. Owners may list properties available for rent by HCV families by posting the information on this website at socialserve.com or by calling the toll-free number at (877) 428-8844.
2. How much rent can I expect from my property?
You determine the asking price for the unit. However, the rent must be reasonable compared to other units of similar location, quality, size, type, and age. If the rent is not reasonable to similar units, you may be asked to lower it to accommodate the tenant interested in moving into the property. Should you rent your property through Section 8, rent increases must also be reasonable in relation to comparable units, the payment standard in the jurisdiction, and what portion of the rent the tenant can afford to pay.
3. How much can I ask for a security deposit?
You can ask for as much is allowable under local law, typically one-months rent. However, you cannot legally ask more in security deposit from a Section 8 applicant than you would ask of any other applicant. Once you have collected a security deposit, you will have to place the money in an interest-bearing account. Please consult local guidelines for more details.
4. How is the breakdown in rent calculated?
The housing authority will do direct deposit to the landlord for the difference between the jurisdictions payment standard and tenants total payment. The tenant would pay the difference between the total rent and the voucher amount (which would be paid by the housing authority). Both the tenant and the housing authority would pay their portions of the rent to you at the beginning of every month. A delay in the housing authority’s payment may be expected when the tenant first move into the unit. However, a prorated rent can be paid on a mid-month move.
5. Can I refuse to rent to an individual?
You have the right to select the tenant you want for your unit using whatever criteria you determine. However, you must not discriminate against an individual because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, or disability.
6. Who pays for damages to the property during occupancy and at move out?
Damages beyond the normal wear and tear and are tenant-related can be paid for by the tenant. You should have a standard practice listed in the lease as to how damages will be paid for by the tenant. After the tenant moves out, you may take compensation for damages beyond the normal wear and tear from the tenant’s security deposit and/or take court action. The Housing Authority does not pay for any damages to your property.
7. What if I have problems with the tenant?
If you have repeated problems with the tenant, you have the right to enforce your lease and take the necessary actions against the tenant. Whenever you do start proceedings against a client, you must follow local regulations. Should you send the tenant any correspondence, such as a warning letter or a notice to vacate, please send a copy to the housing authority.
8. What is the housing authority inspector looking for in the inspection?
Before a tenant can move into your property, the housing authority has to inspect the unit. The inspector is looking for minimum Housing Quality Standards (called HQS) to ensure that the unit is in livable condition. If it is not, you may be asked to make some repairs to the unit prior to the client moving in. The housing authority cannot pay on the unit until it passes inspection.
Housing Quality Inspection List
- There cannot be any chipping or peeling paint anywhere on the inside of the unit.
- There cannot be any chipping of peeling paint five feet and under on the exterior of the unit.
- Cooking stove must be clean and in working order. (Either the tenant or the owner must provide)
- Refrigerator must be clean and in working. (Either the tenant or the owner must provide.)
- There must be an operable heating system.
- There must be hot and cold running water in the bathroom.
- There must be hot and cold running water in the kitchen.
- There must be a operable shower or bathtub.
- There must be a operable toilet.
- Bathrooms must have either a window to the outside OR an exhaust fan.
- Plumbing system must be operable.
- All drains must be operational.
- All windows accessible from the outside must be lockable.
- All electrical outlets must have cover plates and operable.
- There must not be any missing, broken, or cracked windows.
- The roof must be structurally sound and waterproof.
- The hot water heater tank MUST have a temperature pressure relief valve with a downward discharge pipe made of galvanized steel or copper tubing that is 3 feet long (NO PVC). An earthquake strap is required for all hot water heaters.
- All GFI outlets must be operable.
- The floor covering cannot be torn or have holes than can cause someone to trip.
- If there are stairs and railings, they must be secure.
- Working smoke detectors and or carbon monoxide detectors (if applicable) are required in every unit and on every level.
- The contract rent must be reasonable, based on the rent of comparable units in the neighborhood.
In every Section 8 lease agreement, the landlord is responsible for:
- Performing all management and rental functions, including resident screening.
- Maintaining the unit in accordance with the HUD Housing Quality Standards.
- Complying with equal opportunity requirements and all fair housing laws applicable to the property.
- Furnishing all information required under the Housing Assistance Payment contract.
Collecting the following from each Section 8 assisted family:
- Any necessary security deposit
- The tenant portion of the monthly rent
- Any charges for damaged caused by the family
A Simple Step-by-Step Process
- Place your property on the Available Property at Socialserve.com. or call by calling the toll-free number at (877) 428-8844.
- Interview and screen prospective tenants.
- Select a tenant, fill out the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) form that the tenant has in their possession and have the applicant submit the forms to the Housing Authority. You may be requested to complete a pre-inspection form to be returned with the RFTA.
- An appointment will be scheduled with you for the Housing Quality Standards inspection.
- When the dwelling passes the inspection, a lease effective date will be established.
- The Lease will be signed by both the Landlord and tenant. The Housing Assistance Payment Contract will be signed by the Landlord and a Housing Authority representative.
- The tenant receives the keys to the dwelling and moves in.
- YOU GET PAID!
In closing, to get started, all you have to do is contact the Housing Authority and ask for Section 8. We can mail you out a landlord packet. As easy as 1-2-3. Good luck and good success!