How to be a compliant Program Participant...
Most information for Program Participants concentrates on your rights, but you also have responsibilities to fulfill your side of the HUD mandated guidelines.
Here are some tips for being a compliant Program Participant:
Pay your rent on time and in full. If you are having any difficulties paying the rent, speak to your landlord as soon as possible to see if you can come to some arrangement. Do not wait until you are already late to contact your landlord or property management company.
Take care of the property and contents. It may not belong to you, but it is your current “home” so keep it clean and report anything that needs to be repaired immediately. You should address all such issues in writing to your landlord. Remember, you may have to pay for any damage that is not considered normal “wear and tear”.
Keep to the terms of your tenancy or occupancy agreement. This is what you have agreed with the landlord by signing your lease. Ask questions about the lease terms if you do not understand them. NEVER agree to any lease term that you cannot abide by. You could face eviction if you breach the terms of the tenancy. Additionally, you could also be terminated off the Section 8 Program for material noncompliance of your lease terms.
Talk to your landlord. Let them know if there are any problems or any repairs needed. Keeping them informed at an early stage can prevent anything from developing into a more serious problem.
Avoid causing nuisance to anyone in or around the property. Think about your behavior and how it affects people around you. Noise is one of the biggest causes of annoyance particularly in multifamily units so think about the noise you make in your home and on the stairs.
Be on time for all annual recertifications. Your recertification takes place once a year. You receive notice of the recertification at least 60 days in advance. You should make provisions to devote at least 90 minutes of your time for this process. This is a mandatory part of your continued participation in the Program. Habitual noncompliance could result in termination from the program.
Be sure to contact the Housing Inspector to set up an appointment. You will receive a letter instructing you to contact the Housing Inspector within 10 days of receipt of the letter. That letter also instructs the tenant to contact the Housing Inspector to set up an appointment within 10 days of receipt of the letter. Habitual noncompliance could result in termination from the program.
Choose the right landlord. Once you lease up with a landlord, both parties are committed to each other for the duration of the lease. This is a business arrangement and it should be handled as such. Personal favors that are outside the lease terms will assuredly cause problems with both parties. Oftentimes tenants feel an obligation to their landlords because they were “nice enough to rent to you.” Do all that you can to make sure that your relationship with your landlord remains a business relationship and not one that is personal.
Change of Household Composition and Income. The federal guidelines state that all individuals on the Housing Choice Voucher program must inform our office of any changes in the makeup of their household. The Office must be informed of any and all changes in income ( loss or increases within 15 days) and individuals moving in or out of the premises. Individuals who do not comply with this guideline will find themselves in jeopardy of being terminated from the program.
Acts of Fraud are grounds for termination. There must never be any side deals made by the landlord and the tenant that are outside of the Housing Assistance Payment Contract on file. No such acts will be tolerated from landlords or tenants. This not only grounds for termination from the Housing Choice Voucher Program, it is also a crime.
If you have any questions in regard to any of the aforementioned issues, feel free to contact the Township of Montclair’s Housing Office at (973) 509-4959.