Section 8 Landlords FAQs

Section 8 Landlords FAQs

What do I do if the tenant fails to pay their portion of the rent?
Landlord will need to serve the tenant a 3-day notice to quit, just like you would with any other tenant. Send the AHA a copy of ALL notices served to the tenant. We will follow up by sending our own letter to the tenant explaining the repercussions of whatever the situation is.

Tenants can actually be terminated from the Section 8 program for eviction for non-payment of rent, disconnection of utilities, serious lease violations, moving with not notice, not complying with requests by AHA for information and failure to be present for inspections and appointments, to name just a few.

We would appreciate any landlord notifying us of any disconnection notice that they may receive for utilities.

How much rent should I charge?
Landlords set the rents but they must meet reasonable rent guidelines established by HUD.

How much rent does the AHA pay on the tenant’s behalf?

Each client receives a different amount of housing assistance depending on his or her income and number of allowances. HUD will only allow a tenant to spend 30-40% of their income on rent and utilities. Tenants cannot pay any difference if the rent exceeds these figures.

Can a tenant move in before the unit passes inspection?
We suggest that the tenant waits to move in until after the unit passes inspection, but that is up to the tenant and landlord. NO housing assistance will be paid until a unit passes inspection. If you do allow a tenant to move in early, remember that all repairs will have to be completed before we will pay ANY rent on the unit.
Who screens the tenant?
You do. The AHA does a background check on each applicant, but we do not screen tenants for suitability or check their references. That is the landlord’s responsibility.
Can a landlord increase the rent or make a change to the lease?
Landlords must give the tenant and the AHA a 60-day written notice of any change. Rent increase will need to meet rent reasonable guidelines. During the first year of the lease, no rent increases are allowed.
What standards are required for a unit to pass inspection for Section 8?

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) are used for all inspections. HUD has determined the guidelines as to what is required for safe, sanitary, and affordable housing. City codes may require additional features.

Sample Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection Checklist

Can I put my vacant unit on the Section 8 program?

It is not the place or the unit that is on the Section 8 program, but the person that Section 8 assists. We will gladly add your contact and unit information to our Section 8 Rental Listing which is made available in our lobby and online.

Can I get my unit inspected by the housing authority just to see what it needs to pass inspection?
No. We can only do inspections on property when a Voucher-holder is interested in it. We ask that the landlord not schedule an inspection until they feel that the unit will pass.
Do I need to have the utilities turned on at the unit prior to the inspection?
Yes. As part of the inspection, we will need to ensure there are adequate water, gas, and electricity.
How do I schedule an inspection of a unit if another tenant is still residing the unit?
Inspections cannot be done until the unit is vacant.
If this unit was just inspected 2 months ago, will you have to re-inspect it again?
Yes. Unless it has been less than 7 days, an inspection is required.
I am having problems with a tenant. They keep playing loud music. Can AHA help?
Please remember that this is your tenant. The tenant is a Section 8 program participant, but they are not our tenant. The AHA is paying rental assistance on their behalf. However, if you have sent any legal notice (such as a 7/7 day notice) please send a copy to us. We want to be aware of any concerns that you have.
As a landlord, how do I inform you that my address has changed?
Please notify us in writing as soon as possible regarding any changes of address or phone number. This will prevent any delay in payment of correspondence.
Must a tenant give a 30-day notice to vacate?

Yes. Unless a tenant is transferring to another unit with the same owner, a 30-day notice is required. We inform the tenants that they must give their 30-day notice by the last business day of the month. We ask that they give us a copy of their notice signed by the landlord. If this notice will be breaking a lease and if the landlord agrees to break the lease, the tenant must also have the landlord sign a Mutual Rescission form.

As a landlord, when will I get paid from Section 8?
Regular monthly payments are mailed on the first business day of the month.
What can I include in my rental agreement?
Rental agreements should state:

  • Amount of rent
  • When, where, and to whom the rent is to be paid
  • The period of the agreement

(Remember: HUD requires a new lease to be effective for one year. After the initial one-year, the lease may be either month-to-month or year-to-year, as preferred by the landlord.)

  • Number and names of tenants
  • Responsibility for utilities
  • Pet policies
  • Trash removal (if the unit is a single-family dwelling)
What are my responsibilities as an owner?
Owners are encouraged to screen families on the basis of their tenancy history. An owner may consider a family’s background with respect to such factors as:

  • Payment history of rent and utilities
  • Caring for unit and premises
  • Respecting the rights of others to the peaceful enjoyment of their housing
  • Drug-related criminal activity or other criminal activity that is a threat to the life, safety or property of others
  • Compliance with other essential conditions of tenancy

In addition, the owner is responsible for performing all of the owner’s obligations under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract and the Lease including:

  • Complying with equal opportunity housing requirements
  • Maintaining the unit in accordance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS) including performing routine maintenance
  • Preparing and furnishing the AHA with information required under the HAP contract
  • Enforcing tenant obligations under the lease
  • Paying for utilities and services (Unless paid by the family under the lease)
  • For provision on modifications to a dwelling unit occupied or to be occupied by a disabled person
  • A move-in inspection is recommended and should be conducted with the tenant present. This move-in inspection should be signed by both the tenant and landlord to eliminate any disputes over damages at the time of move-out.
Will my property/units be inspected every year?
Inspections are scheduled annually for all Section 8 Voucher-holders. Should there be any repairs needed, a letter will be mailed to the landlord and the tenant. Most repairs are re-inspected in 14 days, unless there is an emergency repair. If repairs are not completed for the second inspection, a final inspection will be scheduled in another 14 days. If repairs are not completed by the final inspection, cancellation may commence. We also recommend that landlords keep watch over their own properties and we encourage you to monitor how the property is being cared for. (Keep in mind the tenant/landlord law of 24-hour notice for any inspection or non-emergency repair.)
What do I do if the tenant vacates without notice?

Please notify the AHA immediately. Tenants will be terminated from the Section 8 program for moving with no notice.

What do I do if the tenant’s boyfriend/girlfriend moves in?

Please notify the AHA immediately. Family members listed on the lease agreement as approved by the AHA are the ONLY individuals permitted to reside in the unit. Additional family members must be pre-approved by the AHA (unless it is due to the birth of a child, adoption, etc.).

What are a landlord’s responsibilities for making their rental units accessible to persons with disabilities?
Federal regulations require landlords to “….permit, at the expense of a handicapped person, reasonable modification of existing premises, occupied or to be occupied by a handicapped person, if the proposed modifications may be necessary to afford the handicapped person full enjoyment of the premises of a dwelling. In the case of a rental, the landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for a modification on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted.” (24 CFR 100.203)

Landlords are also required to “…make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a handicapped person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit, including public and common use areas.” (24 CFR 100.204)