HOW YOU BECOME A SECTION 8 LANDLORD
When a family approaches you about renting your unit with Section 8 assistance you can verify they have assistance by asking to see their voucher. Check the expiration date to make sure it is still valid. You will need to screen the potential tenant family to make sure they fit your criteria. The JHCDC does not screen families for suitability of tenancy. You should use the same diligence in screening a Section 8 prospective tenant as you would with any non-assisted tenant.
The potential renter family will have some paperwork for you to complete. This is the Request for Lease Approval packet. This needs to be returned to our office along with a copy of an unexecuted (no dates) copy of your lease or rental agreement before we can schedule an inspection. When a family initially leases in a unit, they cannot be paying more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income towards rent and utilities. Each family is given a spreadsheet with an estimated rent shopping amount. If the family does not qualify for your unit because the rent amount is over their shopping amount, the JHCDC will contact you to let you know.
The unit must pass an inspection before any assistance can be paid. See below for more information about what we look for when we inspect. If there are fail items when we do the initial inspection, you will have 30 days to correct them. If your units has a wood stove or fireplace, it must be certified safe by a licensed chimney sweep within the last 60 days or it needs to be made inaccessible to the family. If you have questions about Housing Quality Standards, contact our Inspections Supervisor.
The Housing Council keeps a list of vacant units in our lobby. If you would like to list your unit with our agency, give us a call or come in during business hours or send us an email and we will contact you for the information.
BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATING IN THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM:
- Providing affordable housing to families in Josephine County
- Long term tenancy
- Comparable rents
- Guaranteed partial payment of rent
- Ability to use your own lease
- Free advertising for your available properties
- Free annual inspections of your unit
WHAT WE LOOK FOR WHEN WE INSPECT:
HUD regulations require Josephine Housing and Community Development Council (JHCDC) to inspect all Housing Choice Units prior to tenants moving into a unit and annually thereafter. This serves the purpose of ensuring the unit is “decent, safe and sanitary” according to federal Housing Quality Standards (HQS). No unit can be leased unless these standards are met.
In evaluating a prospective unit for suitability, the JHCDC looks at the condition of the unit, but also the condition of the property site and quality of the surrounding neighborhood.
Please note that the following is only a general checklist of HQS requirements.
- Roof, gutter, fascia, and foundation wall are all structurally sound and weather tight.
- Walls are free of peeling paint in units built before 1978 where children under the age of 6 live or are expected to live.
- Windows work properly, are weather tight and lockable.
- Stairs with four or more steps have handrails.
- Decks or porches 30 or more inches off the ground must have a railing with spacers no less than 4 – 6 inches apart.
- Exterior doors have locks designed for exterior use and of sufficient quality to support the weight of the door.
- If the building is designed to have gutters, it does, and they are clear of debris.
- Lawn and storage areas are free of garbage and debris.
- Fencing, if any, is in good repair.
- All utilities are on and operating safely.
- Water heater is properly installed and operating.
- Water heater is equipped with a correct temperature-pressure relief valve according to the manufacturer’s specifications. A discharge pipe is installed on the valve within six (6) to ten (10) inches of the ground or directed outside the living area.
- Plumbing is properly installed, leak-free and vented in accordance with building codes.
- Heating system is properly installed and operational.
- Apartment buildings have properly marked fire exits that meet building codes.
- No exposed wires or open electrical panels.
- Pilot lights on gas stoves are in proper working order.
- Walls are clean, painted and free from holes. In units built before 1978 where children under the age of 6 live or are expected to live, there can be no peeling, chipping or loose paint.
- Unit is free of any trash or debris.
- All appliances (e.g. stove, refrigerator) are clean, operable and in place at the time of inspection.
- Each bedroom has at least two electrical outlets or one electrical outlet and an overhead light.
- Each bedroom has at least one window.
- Interior stairs with four or more steps have handrails.
- Electrical outlets, switches, and light fixtures are in proper operating condition. All three-prong outlets are properly grounded or protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).
- Smoke alarms are installed on each level of the unit near the bedrooms and are operational. All smoke alarms must have a hush mechanism and a 10-year battery.
- Carpet and rugs are clean free of tears/trip hazards.
- Ceilings are free from large cracks or holes, severe bulging, and loose or falling surface material.
- Windows and doors are operable and not blocked, nailed shut, or in any other condition that would prevent exit.
- Unit is free of mold and mildew.
- No propane, natural or methane gas odor is detectable.
- No sewer odor is detectable.
- No evidence of insect or vermin presence.
- Can I get a reference from the Housing Council?
- How long is the lease?
- Can I rent a unit I own to my daughter? How about to my ex daughter-in-law and my grandkids?
- What is a “principal or other interested party?”
- How can I get rid of problem tenants?
- What if there are damages to the unit?
- What if I want to raise the rent or change the utility responsibility?
- How do I know how much rent the tenant should be paying?
- What if I want to sell the unit?
Can I get a reference from the Housing Council?
When the Request for Lease Approval and the unexecuted proposed lease are turned into our office, we will give you the family’s current address, current landlord’s name & address and previous landlord’s name (if known). With a signed release form, you can receive additional rental history information from a family’s file. This release form is in the RFLA packet.
How long is the lease?
Initially, the family will sign a one year lease with you. If your lease specifies, after the first year the tenancy can convert to month-to-month.
Can I rent a unit I own to my daughter? How about to my ex daughter-in-law and my grandkids?
No to both unless the household contains a person with a disability and a reasonable accommodation has been granted. Federal regulations state that the owner (principal or other interested party) cannot be a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister or brother of any member of the family unless the JHCDC has determined (and notified the owner and the family of such determination in writing) that approving rental of the unit would provide reasonable accommodation to a family member who is a person with disabilities.
What is a “principal or other interested party?”
Principal or interested party includes a management agent and other persons or entities participating in unit management, and the officers and principal members, shareholders, investors and other parties having a substantial interest in the Housing Assistance Payment contract or in any proceeds of benefits arising from the HAP contract. If you have questions about your relationship with the proposed tenant family, you will need to contact our office to discuss this.
How can I get rid of problem tenants?
You can terminate a Section 8 lease at any time for serious or repeated violation of the lease agreement or violation or Federal, State or local law.
What if there are damages to the unit?
When the family firsts leases in your unit, you can collect a reasonable security deposit. Regulations state that you cannot charge a family more security deposit solely because they are receiving rental assistance. If there are damages to the unit, you will need to take the payment out of the security deposit, just as you would for any tenant. If the security deposit is insufficient to cover the damages you will need to pursue this matter with the tenant.
What if I want to raise the rent or change the utility responsibility?
During the first year of the lease, you cannot raise the rent or change who is paying for what utilities. After the first year, you can raise the rent with a 60-day notice to the family and a copy to the JHCDC. The Housing Council must receive this notice at least 60-days prior to the effective date. If you wish to change responsibility for utilities, contact the Housing Council so we can review this procedure.
How do I know how much rent the tenant should be paying?
The Housing Council will notify you in writing what the family’s portion of rent is and what the JHCDC subsidy is. You cannot collect more from the family than what the Housing Council states is their portion.
What if I want to sell the unit?
During the first year of the lease, the new owner must agree to assume the contract.