What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program provides assistance for low income families. Voucher holders have the freedom to choose a unit in the private rental market. They will receive a housing assistance payment to meet their rent payment. The program participant pays thirty percent of their monthly adjusted income for rent and the Elkhart Housing Authority assistance payment subsidizes the balance of the rent to the property owner. (Some variances apply.)
Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Requirements:
To rent a unit on the HCV program it must meet the HUD Housing Quality Standards and the rent must meet rent reasonable certification. (The rent for the unit is reasonable for the market area.)
HQS inspections consist of a number of areas of focus, primarily health and safety issues. While the inspection is being conducted, the inspector may require access to areas the tenant has access to. The inspector will open closets, refrigerators, cabinets and all appliances. All utilities must be operational at time of inspection. Any discrepancies will be noted and distributed to the landlord. When all corrections have been made a re-inspection can be scheduled.
All listed discrepancies must be corrected before authorization will be given. A list of the most common, but not limited to, fail items are below.
The rent certification process is based on Fair Market Rent (FMR), established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development- Federal Register/vol.67, No.100.
The FMR is the bases of the approved rent formula. Each individual unit may qualify at a different amount; much of the formula depends on the overall quality of the unit. Most properties on our program currently qualify at around 100% of the FMR. The average utility amount will be subtracted from the percent of qualification, giving the approved amount. The average utility amount is calculated with a table provided by an independent study. The table is broken down by bedroom size. Each is allotted a certain amount according to the number of bedrooms and type of utility.
What to do When Contacted by a Voucher Holder?
Screen the prospective tenant carefully to insure that you are making a good selection. EHA only certifies to the income eligibility for the program. We cannot provide a reference as to their expected behavior. You may use any or all of the following screening procedures.
HUD regulation requires that EHA provide any listed landlord on record for the voucher holder if the landlord requests the information.
Once you have decided to rent to the family, they will provide you with a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) to complete. The client will return this to our office and the inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection.
The regulations promote a conventional landlord/tenant relationship.
After the unit passes inspection and the rent has been approved, the landlord and the tenant will enter into a new lease with an initial one-year term. The lease and the HAP contracts are to be entered into on the same date. This may require a new lease by the landlord.
HAP contracts cannot be executed before the unit has passed the HQS inspection.
You may have the right to collect a deposit that is standard market practice.
How Does Rent Payment Work?
Each participating family is responsible to pay a portion of the monthly rent directly to the property owner/landlord. The family potion of the rent is calculated in compliance with HUD regulations by HCV staff and is based on total household income. Once the family portion is calculated, that information is used to determine the subsidy amount. The subsidy amount is paid monthly by direct deposit to the property owner/landlord. Many factors apply to rent calculation and those amounts may vary throughout the lease. However, official notice of any change is distributed by HCV staff.
Why Use the HCV Program?
Landlord Rights and Responsibilities:
Expect your tenant to:
Listing Your Properties:
To list available apartments you have currently for rent, please go to www.indianahousingnow.org or by calling 1-877-428-8844. This new website will allow you to list the details of your property and make updates at any time. Any changes made are updated instantly.
Elkhart Housing Authority
1396 Benham Ave. Elkhart Indiana 46516