Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher – FAQs

Q. What is a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher?
A. The Section 8 Housing Choice Program provides assistance for low-income families in the private rental market through HUD.
Rental Voucher Holders select a unit from the private rental market. Rental assistance makes market rate housing affordable. Participants in the program normally pay no more than 30% of their monthly adjusted income towards rent and utilities. HUD, through Rutland Housing Authority, subsidizes the balance of the rent to the property owner.

 

Q. Where can I live?
A. Once you have been issued a Housing Choice Voucher by the Rutland Housing Authority, you can search the private rental market in the City of Rutland, and within 6 miles of the Rutland City limits. The unit should be decent, safe and sanitary according to the Housing Quality Standards established by HUD and the Rutland Housing Authority. When you have found a suitable unit and the owner agrees to lease the unit to your family under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the Rutland Housing Authority will inspect the unit to assure that it meets the Housing Quality Standards (HQS). After the unit passes inspection and the rent has been approved, the landlord and tenant will enter into a lease for an initial term of one year. The Rutland Housing Authority and the landlord will sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract through which the rent is assisted on your behalf. You will be responsible for the monthly payment of the difference between the total rent and the Housing Assistance Payment.

 

Q. How do I know if I'm eligible for a Section 8 Voucher?
A. Eligibility for a rental voucher is determined by the Rutland Housing Authority based on total annual gross income, and is limited to U.S. citizens and specific categories of noncitizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family’s annual gross income may not exceed 30% of the median income for Rutland County. Median income levels are published by HUD, are available at the Rutland Housing Authority.
During the application process, the Housing Authority will collect information on family income, assets and family composition. The Housing Authority will verify this information with other local agencies, employers and banks, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the rental assistance payment.
If the Rutland Housing Authority determines that your family is eligible, the Housing Authority will put your name on a waiting list by date and time. Once your name reaches the top of the waiting list, the Housing Authority will contact you for an interview and issue you a Housing Choice Voucher.

 

Q. How long do I have to occupy a rental unit in the RHA area of operation before I can use my voucher to move somewhere else?
A. If you receive a voucher through our office, you will initially be required to rent an apartment within the RHA’s jurisdiction, and remain in the unit for at least 12 months. Upon the completion of the 12-month rental, the voucher holder may move to another unit either within the jurisdiction of the RHA, or anywhere in the United States. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is designed to allow families to move without the loss of rental assistance. Moves are permissible as long as the family notifies the Housing Authority ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the appropriate provisions, and finds acceptable alternate housing.

 

Q. What happens when my lease is up?
A. After 12 months, the lease is renewed for a specified time period (month to month, six months, a year, etc.). You may vacate after the term of the lease expires, with notice to the Housing Authority. If you choose to remain in the unit, you are recertified for eligibility and the unit is inspected for Housing Quality Standards, at which time the landlord may request an annual adjustment in rent. Increases must be approved by the Housing Authority.

 

Q. Where can I get a Section 8 application?
A. You can:

 

Q. What are the roles and obligations of HUD, RHA, the tenant, and the landlord?
A.HUD’s Role: HUD provides funds to allow housing authorities to make subsidy payments to landlords on behalf of eligible tenants. HUD also pays a fee to the housing authority for the administration of the program. From time to time, HUD invites housing authorities to apply for additional rental vouchers. HUD awards additional rental vouchers to housing authorities on a competitive basis.
TENANT’S ROLE: When a family has been approved for a Voucher, and the housing authority has approved the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for a term of at least one year. (HUD defines “family” as one or more persons.) The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. The Housing Authority does not assist in payment of the security deposit. After the initial year, the family may remain in the unit on a month-to-month basis, or if desired, may move to another unit. The family is expected to comply with all of the provisions of the lease and program requirements, pay its share of rent in a timely manner, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the housing authority of any changes in income or family composition.
LANDLORD’S ROLE: The landlord is responsible for providing decent, safe and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The unit must pass the program’s housing quality standards (HQS) and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. Additionally, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed upon as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the Rutland Housing Authority.
RUTLAND HOUSING AUTHORITY’S ROLE: Rutland Housing Authority administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program in the Rutland area. It provides the family with the rental assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing. The Rutland Housing Authority will enter into a contract with the landlord to provide rental assistance payments on behalf of the family, and inspect the unit for decent, safe and sanitary conditions. If the landlord fails to meet his/her obligations under the lease, the Rutland Housing Authority has the right to terminate assistance payments to the landlord.