Landlords and the Rental Assistance Program
Do you currently rent or interested in renting to a Section 8 Participant? The following information is intended for the use of both existing and new housing owners considering renting to Section 8 renters. Thank you for your interest in the Rental Assistance Program.
Renting to Section 8 Tenants Information
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and provides the Housing Authority with vouchers to assist families, elderly and single disabled people with monthly rental payments.
Eligible participants lease a privately owned apartment that meets certain rental guidelines and passes a housing inspection. The participant typically pays 30% of their adjusted gross monthly income towards the agreed upon rent. The authority issues Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) to the owner on or about the first of each month. The apartment may be located in a single family, a multi-family house or duplex. It can also be an apartment or condo complex.
An eligible family may choose an apartment in any community in MA and the authority will manage the voucher assistance even if it is located outside of the Town of Fitchburg or Leominster. It may be permissible to move out of state with assistance.
The authority uses income guidelines and family criteria set by the authority and HUD to determine eligibility. The authority draws names from an established centralized waiting list through the Massachusetts Regional Chapter of National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (MASSNAHRO).
The authority will brief the family about the program requirements and the family will locate an apartment of their choice. It is the landlord/owner’s job to conduct applicant screening using the same methods he/she uses to screen for suitability of private market tenants. The authority does not deem suitability of a tenant, nor screen for rental history. Security Deposits and tenant rent shares are paid directly by the family to the owner. The authority does not guarantee the tenants share of rent.
The eligible family and the owner submit a written request using the HUD form called the “Request for Tenancy Approval” to begin the process for an apartment inspection and assessing the monthly rental amount with the authority. The authority will arrange the inspection with the apartment owner/manager. The inspection will be conducted in a prompt time frame and involves determining that the unit meets HUD and state sanitary codes. Generally, the monthly rent must be the same as rents charged by the owner for comparable private rentals in the same building or complex.
The leasing documents are prepared by the owner (one year lease) and the authority prepares a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract to be completed by and entered into between the owner and the housing authority. The lease and contract can convert into a month to month agreement after one year, or a new agreement can be entered into by owner and family.
Annually, the authority conducts an income review of the family and biannually conducts an inspection. Owners can evict tenants for serious, repeated lease violations (non-payment of rent, disturbances, and housekeeping issues) by following the same eviction procedures required by private rental agreements. The authority may terminate a tenant’s subsidy for various program violations.
The Housing Assistance Payments Contract and Housing Inspection forms are available at the authority office.
List Your Apartment or Rental Properties
The Housing Authority has partnered with www.GoSection8.com for apartment and rental property listings. GoSection8.com is the largest rental-listing service for the Section 8 housing market. They service families, landlords and public-housing agencies across the United States. They provide free information about current housing options under HUD’s Section 8 Housing Voucher (Section 8) Program in every market in the country.
We recommend that Landlords add photos to their listing for better advertising and faster lease up!
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
A federal law protects individuals who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The name of the law is the Violence Against Women Act, or “VAWA.” The following notice explains your obligations under VAWA.