Section 8 You ve got Questions? We ve got Answers!

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1 Section 8 You ve got Questions? We ve got Answers! ROA presentation, June 25, 2015, by Cj Mann, HACSA inspector, and Tia Politi, Property Manager When you are first approached by a Section 8 applicant They should have three documents in their possession for you to copy: their Voucher & Housing Calculation Worksheet, and one for you to complete: the Request for Tenancy Approval. Housing Voucher This is the tenant s contract with the HA. It defines the minimum number of bedrooms the HA has determined the family needs for the household. It tells you how much time they have to secure a rental, and includes the name of their Housing Specialist. All Housing Specialists are listed on the Housing Agency website. Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) This is the form you will fill out and return to HACSA when you have an approved applicant and you wish to notify the agency and set up an inspection for approval. Housing Calculation Worksheet This document provides both the applicant and prospective landlord with the number of bedrooms they are approved for and the total amount of rent they can pay. This amount is somewhat flexible, depending on the Rent Reasonable Standard as well as any potential reasonable accommodation that may be requested by the voucher-holder. Rent Reasonable Standards To calculate the rent reasonable standard, the HA factors in the rent amount, the utility allowance, and what appliances are included. The standards are different for different area neighborhoods. HACSA also factors in the year built, the square footage, weatherization and amenities, such as the presence or absence of a dishwasher, garbage disposal, and washer/dryer hookups. Screening and income guidelines for landlords When you are screening a Section 8 tenant, you will use your normal screening guidelines in regards to rental history, criminal history, and credit history; however, income guidelines will need to be adjusted. You may contact the applicant s Housing Specialist as listed on their voucher for past Section 8 rental history. The information they can release includes: the last two landlord s contact information; whether or not any 72-hour notices were issued; notices related to disturbance of peaceful enjoyment; and any allegations of damages. If you wish to verify the applicant s information regarding the number of people in their household, such as children, adult caregivers, or other household members such as an aged parent, ask the Housing Specialist. Calculating income versus rent amount If you base your income criteria on household or individual income compared to rent amount, then their income should equal your multiplier against the portion of the rent they will be responsible for. If their portion of the rent payment will be $400 and you require household income versus rent of three times, their income threshold would be $1200/month. If they have a 100% subsidy, you cannot require any income threshold. The statute now explicitly allows a landlord to screen for an applicant s inability to pay rent; therefore, any criteria involving ability to pay rent must refer only to the Section 8 voucher applicant s portion of the rent. When screening for income, don t overlook other sources of non-cash assistance, such as food stamps, or utility allowances.

2 When the applicants are approved You complete the RTA and fax or that document along with the applicant's signed Lead-Based Paint Disclosure for properties built before 1978, and they will schedule an inspection of the property. If your rental is part of a building of four or more units, you must complete the rent comparison chart listing your most recent comparable tenancies and the rent for each. You may also turn in other documents at this time. Preparing your unit for inspection Refer to the attached form, A Good Place to Live. This will guide you through the items that HACSA will be looking at and what their criteria are. Making Required Repairs Not a lot, but some of what Section 8 requires in the area of repairs goes beyond the habitability requirement for the state of Oregon. Some of those repairs may be minor, such as a cracked plug plate; others may be major, such as exterior painting. You are not required to make the requested repairs. Be careful however, not to decline for frivolous or discriminatory reasons. It is conceivable that a Fair Housing claim could be substantiated for refusing to effect a minor repair if it resulted in the exclusion of all Section 8 tenancies. Potential sticky wickets 1. Miscalculation of voucher worksheet. 2. Inability of HA to approve rent amount based on rent reasonableness. 3. Landlord s inability to afford repairs. 4. Reasonable Accommodation Tenant may be approved for a higher rent amount in the event they have a special need. This accommodation cannot be approved prior to a tenant applying, being approved, and the RTA being submitted. This can take time. 5. Tenant s misrepresentation of financial ability to pay move-in costs make sure they have necessary funds which may come not only from the tenant, but from other social service agencies. If in doubt, ask the applicant! Once the property passes inspection and a rental agreement is signed The HA will send you a housing assistance payment contract that includes the lease addendum which is added to the tenant's agreement with you, a Taxpayer ID and Certification form (also known as a W-9). As soon as you fill out all pertinent documents and return those to the HA, the subsidy will begin with a retroactive payment back to the date the unit passes inspection or the date you hand them keys, whichever is later. Once your agreement with the tenant is signed, you need to mail, or fax a copy of that agreement to HACSA. Many landlords get grumpy about the lost days of rent while waiting for inspections. With the proper disclosure during the application process, you may lawfully charge rent to the tenant from the latter date of either your approval or the property being move-in ready. This additional rent expense is not covered by the Section 8 subsidy. Tenant Non-Compliance and Service of Notice (Tia) Tenant noncompliance within a Section 8 tenancy is dealt with as any other tenancy, with two exceptions: 1) Any notice you serve on your tenant that could result in a termination or eviction, must also be delivered to HACSA by letter, fax or . 2) Rent increases require a 60-day notification. 3) No-cause notices of termination for tenancies of more than one year also require a minimum 60-day notice period.

3 Mitigation Fund - Yay! If your property or you sustain damage from a qualifying Section 8 or VASH tenancy that goes beyond the amount of the security deposit, you may pursue remedies through the Housing Choice Landlord Guarantee Fund. The rules for reimbursement through the fund can be found at: Program resources, including a program fact sheet, landlord application for program assistance, and a tenant verification request form, are available on the OHCS website at: To claim against the fund, a landlord must first obtain a judgment in small claims court or circuit court for the county where the property is located. Reimbursement is allowed for unpaid rent and fees, and property damage that exceeds normal wear and tear in excess of $500, but not more than $5000 per tenancy. Landlord claims against the fund must be made within one year from the date of obtaining a judgment against a tenant. Tenants whose landlords have gotten reimbursement through the mitigation fund are required in many instances to repay the fund or risk losing their voucher. Good Reasons to Embrace Section 8 1. Guaranteed funds 2. Flexible lease terms 3. Annual or bi-annual inspections 4. Statistically, longer-term tenancies 5. Mitigation Fund 6. Warm Fuzzies HACSA Day Island Road, Eugene, OR Phone: FAX:

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6 HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER CALCULATIONS Family Name(s) Jayne Donut Date 06/23/2015 Please use the following formula to determine if you are income eligible for the unit you have chosen. The inspection department will have to determine if the rent amount can be approved based on the reasonableness of the rent compared to similar units in the same neighborhood. If you choose to rent a unit which is smaller than your authorized bedroom size, the Housing Agency subsidy will be based on the Payment Standard for the smaller unit. If you choose to rent a unit which is larger than your authorized bedroom size, the Housing Agency subsidy will be based on the Payment Standard for your authorized size. a. Landlord is asking this amount for rent. b. Utility allowance (utility company worksheet figures) paid by tenant. c. Gross Rent = a + b If the Gross Rent is more than the Payment Standard, the maximum allowable rent and utilities for this unit is $ 860 {PS + 10% from adj monthly income} d. Lower of Payment Standard or Gross Rent. $ 254 e. Highest of 30% of your monthly adjusted income, 10% of your monthly gross income, or $0 minimum. f. Total Housing Assistance Payment = d minus e. g. Total family share = c minus f. (If the gross rent in figure c is greater than the Payment Standard, your total family share cannot exceed $338 which is 40% of your adjusted income.) h. Housing Assistance Payment to owner = lower of a or f. i. Tenant rent to owner = a minus h. j. Utility reimbursement to tenant = f minus h. PAYMENT STANDARDS (PS) EFFECTIVE October 1, 2014 (Your payment standard is in bold) SRO 0 Bedroom 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom 3 Bedroom 4 Bedroom 5 Bedroom (775)

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