Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
Thank you for your interest in our Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. We hope that this information will be helpful in making your decision to partner with us in our mission to provide quality, affordable housing to our clients.
—Diane M. Fuller, Executive Director
Information for Landlords
How Does the Program Work?
Housing Choice Vouchers allow participating tenants to choose and rent units from private owners. All owners who are in good standing with GMAHA and have units within the GMAHA jurisdiction are welcome to participate. GMAHA pays a fixed amount of the rent to the owner each month, and the tenant pays the difference between the subsidy and the total rent, in addition to any utilities not included in the rent.
In general, tenants pay at least 30% - but no more than 40% - of their monthly adjusted income for rent and utilities. This income test is only done at move-in and admission to program. (Tenants may pay more than 40% of their income after the first year.) The program does not place limits on the amount of rent at participating owner can charge, but rents must be comparable to similar units in the same area. Owners may apply to raise the rent after a tenant's first full year of occupancy.
Benefits of the Program
Every month, owners receive part of each voucher holder's rent from GMAHA. These "housing assistance payments" arrive at the beginning of every month. The payments help low-income families afford decent housing and provide a dependable source of income for participating owners. Payments are made directly to your designated bank account.
Flexibility and Stability
If tenant's income unexpectedly drops, GMAHA can reduce the tenant's portion of the rent and increase GMAHA's portion. This flexibility helps voucher-assisted tenants miss fewer payments and maintain stable tenancies.
Inspections Help Maintain Property Value
Our housing inspections help owners identify and fix problems with units. By ensuring that units are kept in good condition, the program improves tenants' quality of life and helps owners protect their investments.
Advertise Your Vacancies With Us
While we cannot refer tenants to specific buildings, we do help tenants find housing by maintaining lists of units available for rent in the GMAHA area. The lists are updated frequently and available upon request at our S-8 office.
Moving? Selling your Building?
If you're changing your address or selling your property, let us know promptly. Please contact the case manager at GMAHA at 309-755-3521.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How Does S-8 Program Work?
A: Families apply to the S-8 Waiting List when it is open. Once selected from the waiting list the family finds a rental unit in the private rental market and pays 30% of their income for rent. HUD, through the GMAHA, provides a subsidy for the balance of the rent directly to the owner each month.
Q: Do I Pick My Own Tenants?
A: Yes, you must do your own tenant screening and test for suitability. The GMAHA does not recommend acceptable tenants, but rather takes a neutral role in the leasing process.
Q: How Much Rent Can I Rent My Unit For?
A: The GMAHA has Payment Standards by bedroom size that is guidelines for maximum subsidy we can pay for a family. This Payment Standard is generally the current rental market.
Q: Who Pays The Security Deposit?
A: All tenants are responsible for their own Security Deposit pursuant to State local laws. Owners should follow existing laws regarding the payment of interest on deposits.
Q: Does the Family Pay for Utilities?
A: If the unit has a separate MAE/city meter, the family can be responsible for paying that utility. The GMAHA cannot enter into any agreement whereby the utilities are shared by multiple units based on a proration that the owner or some agent of the owners determines the value of the utility payment. If a family is responsible for paying a utility, the GMAHA generally credits the family with a Utility Allowance that lowers their tenant rent portion and leaves them with the necessary money to pay the utility bill. If multiple units have only one utility meter, the owner will be responsible for paying the utility.
Q: What Happens After I Find A Tenant?
A: Once you have identified an acceptable Section-8 Participant, complete the Request for Tenancy Approval that the tenant provides you with. Once that document is received in our office, a Housing Inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection of the unit. Once the inspection is completed and a move-in day is determined lease and Housing Assistance Payment Contract is executed and the participant can then move into the unit.
Q: What Will the Inspector Be Looking For?
A: The Housing Inspector will be checking to see whether the unit is in compliance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS). These are minimum standards that any unit on the S-8 Housing Choice Voucher Program must meet. A Housing Quality Standards Self-Inspection Checklist will be provided to help you with your inspection.
Q: Can I Use My Own Lease?
A: Yes, you are free to use your own lease and if needed GMAHA can provide you with a standard sample lease. However, HUD regulations require that the HUD Tenancy Addendum be attached to all leases. If the owner's lease contradicts anything in the HUD Tenancy Addendum, the HUD Addendum shall prevail.
Q: How Long Can I Rent To A Section 8 Family?
A: The initial lease term is for one year. After the initial term, the Landlord and tenant can choose to sign a new 1 year contract or continue on a month-to-month basis indefinitely so long as HUD continues to provide the appropriations needed to fund the Section 8 Program. In addition, if the family's income increases to a level whereby 30% of their income is greater than the unit rent, the family will no longer need the assistance of the Section 8 Program and will be terminated from the Program after six-month waiting period to ensure the income level is maintained.
Our Section 8 Staff is available to assist you. If you have any questions, please contact a Section 8 Case Manager at 309-755-3521.