Housing Choice Vouchers allow participants to choose and rent units from private owners. All owners who are in good standing with the agency and have units within Richmond’s jurisdiction are welcome to participate. The agency pays a fixed amount of the rent to the owner each month, and the participant pays the difference between this subsidy and the total rent, in addition to any utilities not included in the rent.
Benefits of being a participating landlord
- Timely and consistent payments. Each month landlords will receive payments as indicated on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract between the 1st and 5th of every month.
- Ability to monitor HAP payments with the Landlord Portal.
- Flexibility. You are protected from financial loss if your tenant suffers unexpected financial hardship. When this happens, the subsidy payment may increase to compensate for your tenant’s lower-income ensuring continued housing stability.
- UPCS-V inspections are conducted biennially. Inspections of the unit help to maintain the value of the unit. Inspectors will identify problems within the unit that may require additional attention.
- Exceptional customer service and effort to ensure there is a direct line of access to assist with the resolution of tenancy issues that may arise. Contact HCVPleasing@RRHA.com
- Controlled vacancy rates. Participants are searching for quality affordable housing daily. At RRHA we encourage our landlords to take advantage of listing their units on GoSection8.com. This list is printed and included with move packets monthly.
What are the restrictions?
- Conflict of interest. Federal law does not allow RRHA to approve an apartment for rental when the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of the voucher holder or any member of the voucher holder’s family. The only exception is if RRHA provides reasonable accommodation for a member of the voucher holder’s family who is a person with a disability.
- Tenant rights. Housing Choice Voucher tenants have all the rights and responsibilities of unassisted tenants, except most are responsible for only paying a portion of the rent. Landlords are required to ensure that all lease requirements are the same for assisted and unassisted tenants.
How to become a participating landlord
Landlords can participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program by:
- Reviewing the RRHA Landlord Briefing, signing the Acknowledgement form sending back to the Leasing Specialist.
- Once a voucher holder chooses your unit you will receive all necessary information and forms to get started.
HCVP Landlord FAQs
The landlord has to be willing to participate in the HCVP program and have a unit that can pass inspection. Owners further qualify by attesting that they are not related to the assisted family, that they have not been debarred by HUD, and that they are the rightful owner of the property. This does not occur until the landlord selects a HCVP tenant. There is nothing an owner must do to pre-qualify or register as a landlord.
Your lease can be used as long as it fits the following criteria:
- Lease terms must match the HAP contract
- Lease term must be a minimum of 1 year
- Must not display/exhibit discriminatory language or behavior
Once the unit passes the inspection the tenant and owner must discuss a move-in date, execute a lease and forward the executed lease to the Leasing Specialist to generate the HAP Contract for signature from the owner.
The lease and contract are valid for 12 months. Once the 12 months are completed the tenant becomes a tenant at will. A new lease and contract is not required but is acceptable.
You will need to provide:
- Completed W-9 form
- Clear copy of your social security card and/or official government document
- Clear copy of your photo identification
- If applicable, management company’s IRS letter (assigning the tax ID number)
Upon signing the Lease, you can collect (from your tenant) the tenant’s share of the first month’s rent and a security deposit.
The security deposit may not exceed the value of two months of approved contract rent.
The owner and tenant must complete the Contract Rent Adjustment form at least 60 days prior to the HAP contract anniversary date. A copy of this notice must be forwarded to the Leasing Specialist. The Leasing Specialist will conduct a rent reasonableness review to determine if the requested increase is comparable to unassisted units in the area.
The RRHA portion of the rent, called the “subsidy,” is mailed/direct deposited once a month between the 1st and 5th of the month.
If it is a new contract, you will be paid on the next scheduled payment date after HCVP has received the signed Housing Assistance Payment Contract. HCVP will not pay subsidy before the contract terms have been agreed upon.
There could be several reasons why you did not receive a payment this month:
- If the unit is in abatement (two failed inspections) payments are stopped until repairs are made, and the unit passes an inspection.
- If this is a new contract, the signed contracts may have been returned too late to be included in a payment run. You will be paid on the next payment date.
- If your tenant has had a recent re-exam, his/her income may have increased to a level where he/she is no longer eligible for HAP assistance.
HCVP cannot give legal advice. We recommend you seek the advice of an attorney.
Fair Market Rents (FMR) are calculated and published annually by HUD. Each housing authority has the discretion of using a percentage of the FMRs between 90% but not to exceed 110% of the Fair Market Rents. FMRs are used to establish the Payment Standards for that housing authority’s voucher program. The percentage used is based on current rental conditions of private market units within a housing authority’s jurisdiction. FMRs are not an indication or guarantee of the rent that will be approved for a unit.
No. The tenant’s participation in the program does not allow the tenant to pay more than 40% of their adjusted gross income toward rent and utilities. The owner must accept the rent approved as the full rent for one month. The rent approved includes the tenant share of the rent and subsidy. Payments outside of the approved rental amount is considered a “side payment” and is a violation of the program.
If the tenant is still living in the unit after the Contract has been terminated, the tenant is responsible for paying the owner the full rent amount. If a participant is awaiting move into a new subsidized unit, the landlord can adjust the move-out date to ensure payments commence while the tenant is occupying the unit.
Biennial inspections coincide with the tenant’s recertification date. A property inspection will be scheduled prior to the unit’s contact anniversary date. Tenants and landlords will receive a notice including an inspection date and time. If the unit does not pass inspection, a final inspection will be scheduled with a copy of the written repair notice will be sent to the landlord. If those repairs are not made by the rescheduled inspection, the landlord will receive written notice of termination from the Housing Choice Program.
Yes. Moves are permissible as long as the family notifies RRHA ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the lease provisions, and finds acceptable alternate housing. Under the voucher program, new voucher holders may choose a unit anywhere in the United States. A family that wishes to move to another housing authority’s jurisdiction must consult with RRHA to verify the procedures for moving.
Before you can move to another unit and continue to receive your housing assistance, you must complete your tenant obligations under your current lease. This includes giving your landlord a proper 30-day notice to vacate sending a copy of the notice to the Assisted Housing Specialist and attending Leased Housing Department.
Biennial inspections are generally scheduled two weeks in advance. Inspections will be scheduled within a 4 hour time frame. Inspections for new contracts are scheduled within one week of a successful rent reasonableness review. Inspectors will arrive within the time frame specified in your appointment letter, either between 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. – 4 p.m.
No. However, there must be a responsible adult present, age 18 or over, to allow the inspector entry into the property/unit. We advise it is in your best interest to be present for the initial inspection. This is an opportunity for you to find out firsthand details regarding the unit. It is also an additional opportunity to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the HCV Program.
If the first inspection is missed, the unit will be failed and a second appointment will be scheduled. If you miss a second appointment and/or the inspector is unable to conduct the inspection, the family will be proposed for termination from the HCVP. If landlords miss a second inspection, the unit will be placed in abatement.
Any participant who is proposed for termination from the HCV Program is entitled to an informal hearing. To receive an informal hearing, the participant must make a request, in writing, within 15 days of the notice of proposed termination. The hearing request form may be completed and emailed to HCVP@rrha.com, mailed to 918 Chamberlayne Parkway Richmond, VA 23220 or faxed to 804-644-1445.
RRHA is not responsible for, and will not pay the cost to repair, damage to any property that is caused by the tenant. You should consult with an attorney to determine your rights and available remedies.