Landlord Resources

How does an owner get involved with the Section 8 Program?

See link for Section 8 Owners.

How does the owner select the family?

Families who are searching for housing will contact owners to apply for tenancy. Families will follow the owner’s standard application process. IHA encourages owners to screen all applicants. Owners may do so by contacting previous owners and conducting criminal history checks as well as reviewing credit history information. Remember that IHA does not screen for suitability; it is the responsibility of the owner to screen applicants. However, owners must follow the same practices as used for non-Section 8 applicants. Owners should become familiar with federal, state and local fair housing laws and tenant/owner laws to ensure the screening criteria applied are not discriminatory. Upon written request, Section 8 can provide owners with a list of previous owners for a specific client (if available).

What is the Purpose of the Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA)?

When the owner agrees to rent to a Section 8 family, the owner and family will complete the RTA. The RTA form lists information on the type and size of unit, year constructed, proposed rent for the unit, security deposit requested and the date the unit will be available for inspection. The form will also indicate who actually owns the unit, who is responsible for the utilities, who will supply the appliances, the amount of the security deposit, the most recent rent charged for the unit, comparable unassisted units, the managing agent (if applicable) and the mailing address for the Housing Assistance Payment. The form notifies our Inspection Department that an inspection is needed.

What is the Housing Quality Standards Inspection?

IHA will inspect the units using the Section 8 Housing Quality Standards (HQS) to ensure that the units are decent, safe and sanitary. To accomplish this, HUD regulations (24 CFR 982.401) set forth basic Housing Quality Standards, which all units must meet before rental by program participants. The primary objective of these standards is to protect the participants receiving assistance under the program by guaranteeing what HUD considers is a basic level of acceptable housing. The regulations stipulate that each unit leased under the HCV program shall meet basic “performance requirements” with the respect to the following:

  • sanitary facilities
  • food preparation and storage space and refuse disposal
  • space and security
  • thermal environment
  • illumination and electricity
  • structure and materials
  • interior air quality
  • water supply
  • lead-based paint
  • access
  • site and neighborhood
  • sanitary condition
  • smoke detectors

   The HUD form 52580-A is used to record and document inspection results. The owner or a representative of the owner must be present for all initial inspections. If the unit does not pass inspection, the inspector will provide the owner with a copy of the needed repairs and schedule a date for re-inspection. All units must pass inspection before a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract can be executed. Inspections are also performed on an annual basis for families who are under lease to ensure units are maintained in accordance with HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS) guidelines. Owners are encouraged to be present. Failure to keep units up to HQS guidelines could result in the abatement of payment or termination of the HAP Contract.

How Much Can the Owner Charge For Rent?

Owners should request rent for a unit based on the amount that the unit is "worth." The requested rent should be comparable to the rents charged in the immediate area for units of like size, features, and amenities. The area in which the unit is located will most times dictate the unit's worth along with the quality of workmanship and amenities. Section 8 will determine if the unit's rent is reasonable once an inspection is performed. The inspector will chart a "rent reasonableness survey" while inspecting the unit. Rent reasonableness is a HUD requirement. If the total points from the survey agree with the owner's requested rent and the family is able to pay their share, the proposed rent will be approved. In accordance with HUD guidelines, no more than 40% (percent) of a participants adjusted income can be used for rent and utilities during their first year under lease.

How Much Can I Charge for a Security Deposit?

The owner may determine the amount of security deposit for a particular unit. The requested security deposit standards should be the same for all of your clients (whether a Section 8 family or not). Remember that Section 8 is not responsible for damages that may be caused by the program participant. It is the participant’s responsibility to pay the full security deposit and any damages.

When Will the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Begin?

The HAP will begin 2 to 3 weeks following the return of the signed lease and contract. Initial payments will be prorated based upon the effective date of the executed lease and contract.  

When do tenant re-examinations occur and when can rent be increased?
  1. Annual re-examinations are completed yearly in order to update the program participant’s income, household composition, assets and deductions. This process must be completed 90 to 120 days prior to the expiration of their initial lease and contract date.
  2. Interim re-examinations are completed when the family reports a change in income, composition assets, or deductions outside of the recertification period. When a change is made to the family's rent, the owner is mailed an addendum to the lease stating the rent change and its effective date.
  3. Requests for Rent Increases  should be requested 120 days prior to the anniversary date. Rent increases can not be requested to be effective prior to the initial 12 months of the initial lease.
When Can IHA Terminate Assistance?

If an owner violates the housing assistance payment (HAP) contract, IHA may suspend payments and will investigate the situation to determine if the contract should be terminated. IHA will terminate contracts that are under abatement at the earlier of (a) the family's move from the unit or (b) six months after the last HAP was made. Owners can be barred from the program for a serious breach of contract as determined by HUD. The owner can terminate tenancy for any reason permitted under the lease or lease addendum. Owners may terminate for serious or repeated violations of the terms and conditions of the lease, violation of federal, state or local law, criminal activity or other good cause. An owner has the same rights for evicting assisted families as they do for private market tenants; owners must first give the family a notice stating the reason for eviction and must forward a copy to IHA. See contract concerning owner's right to evict. The family may terminate tenancy after the first year of the lease. Terminations by the family during the first year are allowed only if the owner agrees to release the family from the lease. The family must give the owner and IHA notice of termination of tenancy in accordance with the lease prior to moving from the unit. The owner’s lease may not require more than 60 calendar days notice for the family to terminate after the first term of the lease.  Owners must immediately notify IHA if a family no longer occupies the assisted unit. Housing assistance payments made to an owner after a participant has vacated the assisted unit, must be returned immediately.

What are the responsibilities of IHA, the family, and the property owner?

IHA’s Responsibilities

  • Review all applications to determine whether an applicant is eligible for the program.
  • Explain the rules of the program to all of the families who qualify.
  • Issue vouchers.
  • Approve the unit and the owner.
  • Make housing assistance payments (HAP) in a timely manner.
  • Ensure that owners and families comply with the program rules.
  • Provide families and owners with prompt, professional service.
  • Determine rent reasonableness.

The Owner’s Responsibilities

  • Screen families who apply to determine if they will be good renters.
  • Comply with all federal, state and local laws, and not discriminate against any family.
  • Maintain the housing unit, including making all necessary repairs in a timely manner.
  • Comply with the terms of the Housing Assistance Contract with IHA.
  • Collect rent and the security deposit due from the tenant.
  • Manage your unit/property.

The Family's Responsibilities

  • Provide IHA with complete and accurate information.
  • Make their best effort to find a place to live that is suitable for them and that qualifies for the program.
  • Cooperate in attending all appointments scheduled by IHA.
  • Take responsibility for the care of the unit.
  • Comply with the terms of the lease with the owner.
  • Comply with the Family Obligations of their voucher.
  • Comply with all state, federal and local laws for all household members and guests.