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Landlord Key To DCHA Section 8 Voucher Program

DCHA Relationships chart.

Landlord—

HUD has permanently repealed:

"Endless Lease": Owners are now allowed to non-renew Section 8 tenants at the end of a definite lease period. They can still evict Section 8 tenants for lease violations or other good cause during the term of the lease. But, they do not need a "good cause" (reason) to terminate at the end of the lease term. Owners can simply non-renew just like they do for non-Section 8 tenants.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to rent decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since the rental assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find and lease privately owned housing, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.

How Does The Section 8 Program Work?

  1. An applicant must be a U.S. citizen or non-citizen with eligible immigration status, low income and be: a family of 2 or more persons where the head of the household, spouse/co-head is 18 years of age or older, or a single person who is either over 62, or has a disability/handicap. The family completes an application and is placed on a waiting list. The wait can vary from several months to a year or more.
  2. When the applicant’s name comes to the top of the waiting list, Dane County Housing Authority (DCHA) contacts the applicant to verify continued interest in the program and conducts a criminal background investigation to determine adult applicant’s eligibility. If an applicant has a history of illegal drug activity and/or violent criminal behavior with the past three years, he/she is denied Section 8 assistance.
  3. Next, the family meets with an Eligibility Specialist, who verifies their eligibility for the program based on family composition and income. If the applicant is approved, he/she is invited to an orientation to learn the rules of the Section 8 program. They are then issued a voucher and they can begin shopping for an apartment.
  4. Landlords must screen Section 8 applicants the same way they screen other applicants. Federal law does not allow the Housing Authority to do this. If a family has a Section 8 subsidy, that only means they qualify for financial assistance. To use the assistance, they must pass a landlord’s screening process.
  5. HUD sets Payment Standards for the bedroom size (number of bedrooms) a family is certified for. The Payment Standard represents the rent amount plus the utilities the tenant is responsible for based on the Housing Authority’s Utility Allowances. If a family rents a unit within the Payment Standard, their share of the rent will be 30% of their monthly adjusted income. The Housing Choice Voucher Program does allow flexibility for the family to rent above the Payment Standard as long as their share of the rent doesn’t exceed 40% of their monthly adjusted income. The family’s rent share also changes when its income or family circumstances change.
  6. Once the landlord approves the family to rent an apartment, the family and the landlord complete a Request For Tenancy Approval form (RFTA) and submit it along with a copy of the completed, unsigned lease and all addenda to DCHA. DCHA must pre-approve the lease and all addenda. The apartment rent must be comparable to rents charge for similar units in the area. The landlord and the tenant must not sign the lease until the Housing Authority gives approval. The initial lease term must be for at least one year. DCHA needs the completed RFTA by the 8th of the month in order for assistance to begin the following month. Exceptions are possible. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding this issue. We will work closely with you to meet the lease-up date.
  7. If the rent is approved, DCHA will schedule an inspection of the unit to determine if the unit meets HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS), assuring that the unit is a decent, safe, and sanitary place to live.
  8. Finally, all documents, including: the lease, the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract, and Addendum are mailed to the landlord. The landlord must secure the tenant’s signature where required on the approved lease and any addenda. The landlord must sign the HAP contract, lease, and any addenda. We will be able to release our HAP check directly to the Landlord once we receive the signed lease and contract. The HAP check generally arrives on the first of each month. The initial payment may be late depending on the inspection and paperwork schedule. If the check is delayed due to timing, we issue mid-month checks. The family pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.
  9. DCHA does not determine the amount of security deposit the landlord may college. The tenant is responsible for payment of a security deposit. DCHA is not responsible for unpaid rent, damages, or other amounts owed by the tenant under the lease.
  10. The landlord may request a rent increase to take effect on or after the anniversary date of the contract. Increases may occur only once in a 12 month period.
  11. Landlords may terminate leases for the following reasons:
    1. Serious or repeated violation of the terms and conidtions of the lease.
    2. Violation of federal, state, or local laws that impose obligations on the tenant in connection with the unit.
    3. Other good cause.
    4. Per Wisconsin state statutes, the landlord may non-renew any tenant at the end of a lease period, with or without cause.

A copy of all termination notices should be sent to DCHA. The landlord must notify DCHA in writing that he/she is seeking to terminate the tenancy at the same time the tenant is notified.

The tenant may terminate the lease as allowed by the Lease Addendum or by Mutual Agreement with the landlord during the term of the lease.

DCHA staff look forward to working with you—
call (608) 224-3636 with any questions you may have!


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