The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, funds the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. This program allows qualified low-income families to pay 30 percent of their total household income toward rent. HUD pays the remaining portion of the rent with a housing assistance payment voucher. The Housing Choice Voucher allows the voucher holder to live in any rental unit they choose as long as the property owner accepts HUD's voucher payment. This program is administered through local housing authorities. The housing authority is responsible for determining the tenant's rent and paying the property owner HUD's portion of the rent. The tenant pays their portion of rent directly to the property owner.
The property owner will be required to submit a lease agreement, proof of ownership, a government ID and a completed W-9 when he is accepted into the program. Section 8 landlords are required to maintain an affordable rent charge for voucher holders. These Fair Market rents are determined by HUD on an annual basis. Fair Market rents vary according to county. The landlord cannot participate in the program until she finds a tenant with a valid Section 8 voucher.
Advertising for Section 8 Tenants
The landlord will need to advertise that he accepts Section 8 tenants. You can request to have your property added to HUD's and the housing authority's website's Section 8 rental listings. You can also advertise in the newspaper that you accept Section 8 vouchers. Once an applicant has been properly screened and accepted, you can submit a "request for tenancy approval" with the housing authority. The Housing Authority will schedule an inspection of your rental unit before accepting you into the program.
Housing Quality Standards
The property owner's rental unit must meet HUD's Housing Quality Standards. These standards ensure that the rental unit is in safe and decent conditions for the tenant to live in. The inspection will test the quality of the water supply, and smoke detectors. The inspector will evaluate the security of the unit, the unit's sanitary conditions and test sanitary and food preparation facilities. If the unit passes the initial inspection, the owner can move forward in processing the renter's application. If the unit fails the inspection, she will be provided with a list of deficiencies that need to be corrected before the tenant can move into the unit. HUD requires the unit to be inspected on an annual basis.
Reasonable Modifications Under the Fair Housing Act
Section 8 property owners are required to allow a reasonable modification for a tenant with a disability. A reasonable modification is defined as a structural change to an existing premise for a person with a disability to enjoy full access of the unit. Examples of a reasonable modification are installing a wheelchair ramp to the primary entryway, or grab bars in a bathroom. Under the Fair Housing Act, the tenant is responsible for paying reasonable modification expenses.
Davina Price has been writing since 2003, specializing in grant and technical writing for government and nonprofit organizations. She currently is a licensed real-estate agent in Southern California and specializes in working with first-time home buyers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the University of Southern California.