Housing Choice Voucher Program
The PHA calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income, or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income.
Roles - the tenant, the landlord, the housing agency and HUD.
Once a PHA approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the PHA sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone - tenant, landlord, and PHA - has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.
When a family selects a housing unit, and the PHA approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year, the landlord may initiate a new lease, or allow the family to remain in the unit on a month-to-month lease. When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition, and notify the PHA of any changes in income or family composition.
The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent fee. The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards, and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the PHA.
Housing Authority's Obligations
The PHA administers the voucher program locally. The PHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing, and the PHA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet the owner's obligations under the lease, the PHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. The PHA must re-examine the family's income and composition at least annually, and must inspect each unit at least annually to ensure that it meets minimum housing quality standards.
To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow PHAs to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays the PHA a fee for the cost of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites PHAs to submit applications for funds for additional housing vouchers. Applications are then reviewed and funds are awarded to the selected PHAs on a competitive basis. HUD monitors PHA administration of the program to ensure program rules are properly followed.
For additional information about the voucher program, contact either the local PHA serving your community or the Office of Public Housing within your local HUD office. There may be a long wait for assistance under the Housing Voucher Program. If the PHA also administers the Public Housing Program, applicants for the Housing Choice Voucher Program may also ask to be placed on the waiting list for the Public Housing Program. HUD also administers other subsidized programs, and you may obtain a list of programs in your area from the Office of Housing at your local HUD office, or visit www.hud.gov.