It is possible to collect rent from the Government through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Under the program, you rent out your house to a low-income tenant who is eligible for housing assistance. The tenant pays a portion of the rent while the government through your local public housing authority funds the balance. However, to benefit from the arrangement, you must meet the pre-qualifications and adhere to government housing regulations.
For your rental property to be eligible under the program, the rent payable should be within ten percentage points of the fair market rate. The Department of Housing and Urban Development assesses fair market rates annually. If the rent you are seeking is within an acceptable range, you may notify your local public housing authority of the availability of your property to tenants under the program. The public housing authority lists your property. Alternatively, as you advertise your property in the open market, you can indicate that you accept applications from tenants under the program.
Screen the applicants thoroughly just like you would any other prospective tenant. Participants in the program are free to choose where they want to live, provided it is within their range of entitlement. However, it is your responsibility as the landlord to ascertain whether they can actually pay their portion of the rent and observe your tenancy conditions. In addition to the rental application form, have the prospective tenant fill in a request for tenancy approval and submit it to the housing authority.
On receiving the request for tenancy approval, the housing authority confirms that the terms of the proposed lease are within the tenant’s entitlement. The housing authority will then arrange an inspection of your house to ensure compliance with Housing Quality Standards.
Housing inspectors visit your house to ensure that it offers safe, decent and sanitary living conditions. The Inspectors use both federal and state law criteria when inspecting the house and will only approve the tenancy if the requirements are met. If the inspectors require you to conduct repairs or install safeguards, you must do so before the tenant can move in. Housing Inspectors subsequently conduct inspections annually, so you must maintain the property in good condition to continue to receive the government rent subsidy.
On successful completion of the inspection, the housing authority sends you a Housing Assistance Payments Contracts to facilitate payment of its portion of the rent and a courtesy lease agreement. You can choose not to use the courtesy lease agreement, but if you sign your own, ensure it includes the Tenancy Addendum that the Department of Housing and Urban Development prescribes, a copy of which is on its website. Present both signed documents to the housing authority and start receiving your rent from both the tenant and the government.
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- HAP Housing: Frequently Asked Questions for Section 8 Landlords
- Berkeley Housing Authority: HCVP Property Owner’s Frequently Asked Questions
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