Landlord’s Guide

Landlord’s Guide to the Housing Choice Voucher Program

How do I list my properties with Section 8?

You may advertise on your own. If you place an ad, include a statement that Section 8 vouchers are accepted. You may also list your unit with us and call other HUD Public Housing Agencies.

What are steps involved in renting to a Section 8 tenant?

  1. You have located a family who has a current Voucher with the PGHA and is interested in your unit.
  2. You screen the applicant to make sure they are a suitable tenant.
  3. Contact our office, prior to signing any lease with our Section 8 participant. When we confirm with the program participant that they are interested in your unit, our office will check to make sure the family can afford the rent.
  4. You will then complete the following forms: Request for Tenancy Approval, Lead Based Paint Form, Owner Certification Form, and a
    W-9 form. You must also provide us a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy and a copy of the unsigned lease.
  5. A Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection will take place to make sure the unit meets program standards. The inspector will use the following form to complete the inspection. The inspector will also see if the rent is reasonable compared to other units in the area for the condition of the unit and a Rent Reasonableness Form will be completed.
  6. After the unit passes inspection, the lease will be reviewed to see if it is acceptable and must have a Tenancy Addendum attached. Our office will send you a completed Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract to sign, once the unit is approved.
  7. Once you receive a letter stating the family’s approved move-in-date, you will be required to sign the HAP Contract. Then, you may sign a lease with the tenant and supply our office with a copy.
  8. While the tenant is on our program, the PGHA will pay a portion of their rent and the tenant will be responsible to pay the landlord for the remainder of rent owed. Each year there will be an HQS inspection as well as a new HAP contract renewal process. The tenant’s rent portion may change throughout the year depending on their income and/or household status. You would receive a written notice of any changes in rent.

Does the PGHA screen Section 8 tenants?

It is your responsibility as a landlord to screen the potential Section 8 tenant. Any checks, such as credit history, previous landlord references, employment history, and criminal records are up to your discretion to perform. Our main concern is to check that the applicant meets the income limits and other Section 8 eligibility requirements. We perform criminal checks during the initial application process but we recommend you perform your own verifications.

Who pays the security deposit or other charges owed by the tenant?

The PGHA is not responsible for security deposits; you must collect this from the tenants. Also, our program is not responsible for damages, unpaid tenant rent, or other claims you might have against the tenant. See additional information listed on HAP contract.

Do I sign a lease with the tenant?

Yes, the tenant must sign a lease with you, after we have approved the family to move to your unit. The lease must include the following: names of the landlord and address for mailing rent and phone number, and tenant with family members living in the unit, address of the unit, term of the lease and how it is renewed, monthly rent amount, which utilities are paid by the tenant, which appliances must be provided by the tenant and the Tenancy Addendum. You may also include any other regulations that you normally include in your lease as long as they are in compliance with the law.

What is an HQS inspection and how often is it performed?

A Housing Choice landlord is responsible for providing, decent, safe and sanitary housing at a reasonable rent. HUD program regulations set forth basic Housing Quality Standards (HQS) which all units must meet on an annual basis throughout the term of tenancy before assistance can be paid on behalf of a family of the assisted tenancy. HQS defines “standard housing” and establishes the minimum criteria necessary for the health and safety of program participants. The inspector will use a HQS Inspection Form and will pass or fail the unit. If repairs are needed, you will be notified by mail. A family will not be allowed to rent your unit until you have made any needed repairs and the unit passes an inspection. During annual HQS inspections, if problems are found you must make the needed repairs within the time frame given or the PGHA will stop your HAP payments.

How do I receive my rent and request a rent increase?

The PGHA portion of the rent will be mailed to you after the first Wednesday of the month.

After the initial one year lease term, Landlords in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program may request a rent increase. This request must be submitted to our office 90-120 days prior to the effective date of the tenant’s annual recertification. The request must be made in writing using our request for rent increase form. The owner must be in compliance with all PHA certification requirements.

Upon receipt of your completed request form PGHA will process your request to determine if the requested rent is reasonable in comparison with comparable units in the private market and if funding is available. If your request is approved the rent increase will be effective on the tenant’s annual recertification date. If your rent is not reasonable in comparison with comparable units in the private market PGHA will deny your rent increase request.

May I evict a Section 8 tenant?

Yes, you may evict a Section 8 tenant in the same manner you would evict a tenant who does not have Section 8. For non-payment of rent cases, you may only evict for the rent owed by the tenant. You must also notify our office immediately in writing when a tenant violates their lease and supply us with a copy of any letters, court and eviction notices.