Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher 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 and 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 the Rutland Housing Authority, subsidizes the balance of the rent to the property owner.

The Rutland Housing Authority has established certain local preferences which may result in your name being placed higher on the wait list. If applicable, you are encouraged to work with your case manager or contact the Rutland Housing Authority to determine if you are eligible for a preference.

To be eligible for Rutland Housing Authority Section 8 Programs an individual or family must:

  • Have a household income that is within the income limits established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Section 8 Voucher Program;
  • Be U.S. citizens or non-citizens with an eligible immigration status;
  • Demonstrate eligibility for local preferences; and
  • Verify all income, assets, and allowable exclusions

You may be disqualified if anyone named on your application:

  • Has a record of conviction for criminal activity (drug related and/or violent criminal behavior are grounds for immediate disqualification);
  • Owes a debt to a HUD-subsidized housing program; or
  • Has an adverse record connected to a past termination of tenancy (either voluntary or involuntary termination)
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher FAQs
    1. What is a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher?

      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 more 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.

    2. Where can I live?

      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 (Rutland City, Rutland Town, West Rutland, Center Rutland, Proctor, Mendon or North Clarendon). 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 Payment 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.

    3. How do I know if I’m eligible for a Section 8 Voucher?

      Eligibility for a rental voucher is determined by the Rutland Housing Authority based on the 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 30-80% of the median income for Rutland County. Median income levels are published by HUD and 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. The Rutland Housing Authority will determine initial eligibility and should you qualify, your name will be placed on the wait list by date and time. Once your name reaches the top of the wait list, the Rutland Housing Authority will contact you for an interview, determine final eligibility and issue you a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher. Once you are issued a voucher, you will have 60 days to secure an apartment. Under some circumstances, this deadline may be extended up to a total of 120 days.

    4. 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?

      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 period, 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, is in good standing, and finds acceptable alternate housing.

    5. What happens when my lease is up?

      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 your landlord and the Housing Authority. If you choose to remain in the unit, you are recertified for eligibility and the unit is inspected using Housing Quality Standards, at which time the landlord may request an annual adjustment in rent. Increases must be approved by the Housing Authority.

    6. Where can I get a Section 8 application?

      You can:
      Download a Preliminary Section 8 Application
      Pick up applications at the RHA office.
      Call 802-775-2926 and ask us to mail you an application.

    7. What are the roles and obligations of HUD, RHA, the tenant, and the landlord?

      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 usually on a competitive basis based on local needs.

      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 the payment of the security deposit. After the initial year, renew the lease with the landlord 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.

      Tenants are encouraged to report on maintenance issues to their landlords in a timely manner.

    8. 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 and utilities agreed upon as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the Rutland Housing Authority.
    9. Rutland Housing Authority’s Role
      Rutland Housing Authority administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program in the Rutland service 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.

    Because every applicant is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and some details are too complex to provide in a FAQ. This FAQ was created to provide you with the most important information on program definition and eligibility.

Section 8 Mainstream Program

The Mainstream Program provides rental assistance through Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers to very low-income, disabled households. The purpose of the program is to expand residential choice for Mainstream households while promoting fair housing, ensuring safe and affordable housing and encouraging self-sufficiency efforts by participant households. The Mainstream program serves ALL disabled families, regardless of the type of disability. There is no preference provided to families with specific types of disabilities. Also, the Mainstream program does NOT require that applicants be homeless.

Mainstream Vouchers provide assistance to non-elderly person with disabilities who are:

  • Transitioning out of an institutional setting (such as nursing home);
  • At serious risk of institutionalization;
  • Homeless; or
  • At risk of becoming homeless

Mainstream Program: Frequently Asked Questions

It is the policy of the Rutland Housing Authority to comply fully with all Federal, State and local nondiscrimination laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations governing Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. No person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, familial status, or disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under housing programs managed by the Rutland Housing Authority.

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