The Housing Choice Voucher Program increases affordable housing choices for very low-income households by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing. The public housing authority (PHA) generally pays the landlord the difference between 30 percent of household income and the PHA-determined payment standard-about 80 to 100 percent of the fair market rent (FMR). The rent must be reasonable as per the fair market value of the rents in the area. The goal of this program is to promote self-sufficiency for low income program participants who do not have the means to rent at the market rate.
Type of Assistance:
Through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the administering housing authority issues a voucher to an income-qualified household, which then finds a unit to rent. If the unit meets the Section 8 Housing Quality Standards, the PHA then pays the landlord the amount equal to the difference between 30 percent of the tenant's adjusted income (or 10 percent of the gross income or the portion of welfare assistance designated for housing) and the PHA-determined payment standard for the area. The rent must be reasonable compared with similar unassisted units.
Eligible Families and Households:
HUD contracts with housing authorities to provide financial assistance to very low-income households, households already assisted under the Housing Act of 1937 and households with incomes up to 80 percent of area median that qualify to receive a voucher in connection with other HUD programs. HUD determines median income levels for each area annually.
A system of "portability" allows families to use the assistance outside the boundaries of the PHA that originally admits a family. HUD pays the administering agency an administration fee to cover costs of running the program, including accepting and reviewing applications, recertifying participants, and inspecting the rental units for quality. Vouchers could be used for homeownership under Section 8(y), but this has not yet been implemented in the Township of Montclair.
FAQ’s about the Housing Choice Voucher Program
Q: How do I get started renting to participants on the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
A: You can call or email the Housing Office and inform them that you have an apartment/home for rent. List your rental property with the agency by completing the form below with the property and emailing it to our office.
Q: What happens if I decide that I will rent to a Housing Choice Voucher program participant?
A: You would have to fill out a Request for Tenancy (see Form #2) in its entirety and submit a copy of your deed and a recent tax bill. If your property is managed by a management company, we will need a notarized affidavit stating that the owner allows the management company to act as their agent.
Q: Can our office give prospective landlords any information about a potential tenant?
A: We are not allowed to give you an opinion on what we think about a potential tenant but we can give you the names of the two last landlords that the participant rented with. Additionally, you should be aware that all program participants have had a sex offender and criminal background check run on the head of household and any other individual in the household composition 18 years of age and older by this office.
Q: Do I need to present any documentation to the Housing Office in regard to the property that I own?
A: You will need to submit a recent tax bill and a copy of the deed to prove ownership of the property. If the property has 3 units or more, we will also require that you acquire a certificate of habitability from the Township’s Code Enforcement Department. The cost is $60 and you can contact the Code Enforcement Office by calling (973) 509-5703. If your property is a new construction, you will need a certificate of occupancy. You would then be required to contact the Township’s Building Department to apply for the aforementioned documentation: (973) 509-4951.
Q: Will I be required to have a lease with the prospective tenant?
A: Participants of the Housing Choice Voucher Program have all of the rights and responsibilities that any renter in the open market would have. They must be given a lease with a tenancy of at least one year. Month to month leases are never allowed for a Housing Choice Voucher participant. The same lease that you initially tendered to the tenant can “roll over” in the following tenancy if you decide to renew the lease with the tenant. You must inform our office of your intentions to renew (or not renew) in writing a minimum of 60 days prior to the lease expiration. Copies of all leases must also be presented to our office for our files.
Q: Are there parameters on the amount that a landlord can charge a Program Participant for a rental.
A: The Housing Choice Voucher Program has payment standards that clearly delineate what are allowable limits that a renter can be charged for a rental based on bedroom size. No additional monies can be charged over these payment standards and no agreements outside of the lease terms can be made. Any such agreements are considered fraud as per the Federal Government guidelines.
Q: When will I receive payment for a program participant from the Housing Office?
A: When you sign a lease with the tenant, you will also be required to sign a Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP Contract). This contract will inform you as to the amount of payment you will receive from our Office and the portion that you will receive from the tenant. All HAP payments will be made by direct deposit and you will receive them by the 5th of each month. New Landlords who rent to Section 8 Participants will be required to fill out a direct deposit form and submit a voided check to us from the account that they would like the funds deposited.
Q: Will the Housing Office send anyone out to inspect the property before the tenant moves in?
A: Yes, Housing Choice Voucher participants are not allowed to move into a rental unit before it has passed a Housing Quality Standard (HQS) inspection. The areas that the inspectors are concerned with are the rooms inside the unit and the common areas that the tenant will utilize. They will also make an assessment in regard to the general health and safety of the rental unit and anything associated with the unit. Units must pass inspection by the 20th day of the prior month in order for a move in to take place in the upcoming month.
Q: What happens if the unit does not pass the HQS inspection?
A: If a unit that is being subsidized does not pass inspection, we inform the property owner of all violations that must be remediated. Landlords have 30 days from the date of the letter to make the necessary repairs or the subsidy for the following month will be abated. The aforementioned abatement is mandated as per the HUD Guidelines.
Q: What should I do if the tenant does not pay their portion of the rent?
A: The landlord can exercise their right to start the eviction process on the tenant. Copies of all documents associated with the eviction process must be forwarded to our office. Any program participant that is evicted for nonpayment is in jeopardy of losing their voucher as staying current is a mandate of their Family Responsibilities. Contact our Office as soon as possible in regard to any issues of nonpayment of rent.
Q: Does the Housing Choice Voucher Program cover security deposits or realtors fees?
A: The Housing Choice Voucher Program does not assist program participants with realtor’s fees or security deposits. Any such monies are the sole responsibility of the potential tenant.
Q: What steps need be taken if a tenant wants to move out or the landlord wants the tenant to move out?
A: Proper notice must be given to the tenant when a landlord wants them to move out. The same applies to the tenant when he/she wants to move out of the unit. The same applies to the tenant when they want to move out of the unit.
NOTE: All State mandates regarding lead paint, fair housing and security deposits must be adhered to by all landlords who rent to individuals who participate in the Section 8 Program.
- Apartment Listing Form
- Request for Tenancy
- Notice of Rent Increase