Landlord Information Packet

Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program 
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THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM

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Housing Choice Voucher Benefits

  • You are guaranteed a portion of the rent if the renter suffers an unexpected loss of income.
  • If a family experiences a loss of income, the HA's payment will increase to the Landlord.
  • The Landlord screens and selects their own tenants based on their own criteria.
  • The Landlord collects the standard security deposit for the unit from the tenant.
  • The Housing Authority (HA) performs annual inspections and provides the Landlord a copy.
  • Inspections often alert the Landlord to any potential problems that may exist in the unit.
The Voucher Program Explained

Section 8 is a federally funded housing assistance program, which permits the Housing Authority to pay a portion of the participating family's rent each month, directly to the private Landlord. The remainder of the rent is paid to the Landlord by the family.

Tenant Suitability

The family's ability to participate in the Section 8 Program is NOT based upon their suitability for tenancy. Tenant selection remains the responsibility of the Landlord, not the Housing Authority. The Landlord has the right, as well as the responsibility, of determining their own tenant selection criteria, providing the criteria is in accordance with fair housing practices.

Security Deposits

At this time, the Housing Authority does NOT provide security deposit assistance to the Section 8 Participant. The Landlord may assess the standard security deposit directly to the prospective tenant for the rental unit selected, as applicable under state law. Exception: The Housing Authority will secure a security deposit for EHV Vouchers, subject to established limits. 

THE LEASE-UP PROCESSThe Section 8 Voucher

Once the family is determined eligible for participation, they are issued a "voucher". This is the only document which authorizes a family to look for an available rental unit on the housing market. The voucher specifies the bedroom size necessary to meet the family's needs. (The prospective tenant may provide the Landlord with a "copy" of the Section 8 voucher.)

The Request for Tenancy Approval

The participant family is also provided with a packet of written information, which contains the "Request for Tenancy Approval". Often referred to as the RFTA, this is the paperwork given to a prospective Landlord once the Landlord has determined they will accept the Applicant as a Tenant. The basic function of this paperwork is to notify the Housing Authority, in writing, to begin the Lease-Up process. An inspection will not take place until the HA has received the RFTA.

Determination of Landlord Eligibility

The Landlord completes the RFTA packet and returns it to the Applicant, who brings it to the Housing Authority office. Upon receipt, the Housing Authority will begin the lease up process.

  • To be acceptable, the Landlord may not be a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of any member of the assisted family, (exception CFR 8.3; US Housing Act of 1937 governing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities).
  • In addition, conflict of interest provisions limit participation by present and or former employees, members, or officers of the Housing Authority.
Once the Landlord has been determined eligible, an appointment is scheduled for the Housing Authority Inspector to visit the unit and determine its acceptability under the Housing Quality Standards.

UNIT ELIGIBILITYUnit Eligibility is Determined by Four Factors:

  1. The rent for the unit must be reasonable within the market area. HUD Rent Reasonableness.
  2. HA performs a Rent Reasonableness test. The Landlord may contact their Housing Specialist for more information.
  3. The rental of the unit under the program must not violate the provisions of 24 CFR 982.205, if the unit is located in a project which receives federal, state, or local subsidy.
  4. The unit must meet the program's Housing Quality Standards.
The Move-In Inspection

A Housing Authority Inspector will visit the unit and perform an HQS move-in inspection. If there are defects or deficiencies which must be corrected, the Housing Authority will notify the Landlord of what needs to be done.

Once the Housing Authority has been advised that the work has been completed, they will schedule a re-inspection. The re-inspection must be completed to verify that the unit is now in compliance with the HQS requirements, before a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract can be executed.

General Inspections

In addition to the initial move-in inspection, the Housing Authority will inspect the unit, at least annually, and will conduct periodic inspections as necessary. Any HQS life threatening deficiency must be corrected within 24 hours, all other deficiencies should be corrected within 30 days, or the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) will be abated (stopped).

Notification of Lease Approval

If the Housing Authority determines that the program requirements have been met, the Housing Authority will compute the Tenant's rental portion, and the Housing Assistance Payment, (HAP), and notify the Owner and the Family. Arrangements will be made for the HAP Contract to be signed by the Owner, and for the Lease to be executed by the Owner and the Tenant. The Housing Assistance Payment, (HAP) Contract will then be processed. Payment will not be made until the HAP Contract is signed and executed. The HAP Contract must be executed within sixty days of the executed lease date.

Notification of Lease Disapproval

If the Housing Authority determines that the lease cannot be approved for any reason, including the condition of the unit, the Housing Authority will notify the Landlord and the Family:

  1. Of the reason/s the lease was disapproved; and
  2. If the conditions requiring disapproval are corrected the Landlord /or/ Tenant should notify the Housing Authority.
HOUSING QUALITY STANDARDS

In order for a rental unit to pass inspection, it must meet certain requirements of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Below is a listing of the most commonly failed items:

  1. If the unit was built before 1978, there cannot be any chipping or peeling paint anywhere on the inside or the exterior of the unit.
  2. Appliances such as the cooking stove, and refrigerator must be clean and in full working order. (Either the tenant or the owner must provide).
  3. There must be a permanently installed heating system that works.
  4. There must be hot and cold running water in the kitchen, and the bathroom, with no plumbing leaks or plugged drains.
  5. There must be a shower or bathtub that works.
  6. There must be a flush toilet that works and does not leak. 
  7. Bathrooms must have a window to the outside, OR an exhaust fan.
  8. All ground floor windows must have attached locks and exterior doors must have locks, including working deadbolts. NO locks over 48 inches high, and all must open from the interior without a key.
  9. All electrical outlets must have cover plates and be in good condition.
  10. There must not be any missing, broken or cracked windows. 
  11. The roof must not leak. (Check the ceiling for stains.)
  12. The hot water heater tank MUST have a temperature pressure relief valve with a downward discharge full size pipe to within 6-24 inches of the floor.
  13. The floor covering cannot be torn or have holes that can cause someone to trip.
  14. If there are stairs and railings, they must be secure. A handrail must be present for 4 or more consecutive stairs.
  15. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be installed per state and local codes and must work.
Under Covid 19 certain exceptions apply.

CLICK HERE FOR RENT INCREASE REQUEST INFORMATION

Changes in a Family's Household Income

If a Tenant's family experiences a change in household income, they must immediately report those changes in writing to the Housing Authority. The Tenant's rental portion will be adjusted as follows:

  • If the family's income increases, so will their portion of the rent, the change will become effective the second month following the report and verification of the change.
  • If the family's income decreases, so will their portion of the rent, on the first of the month following the report and verification of the change.
TERMINATIONSThere are three types of terminations, specified as follows:

A Landlord's Termination of Tenancy

A Landlord may terminate the tenancy of a Section 8 Participant by serving notice on the tenant with a copy to the Housing Authority, for serious or repeated lease violations, violations of federal, state or local Law, or other good cause as provided in the lease, the same as with any other tenant who is NOT a Section 8 Participant.

Evicting a Section 8 Tenant does not mean that they will lose their housing assistance. In all likelihood, they will have the opportunity to locate housing elsewhere, as the Housing Authority is only permitted to terminate assistance for a breach of the agreement that the client has with the Section 8 Program.

Termination of the Housing Authority Payment Contract (HAP)

The Housing Authority's Payment Contract with the Landlord will terminate under the following conditions:

  1. If the family vacates the unit, and any applicable vacancy period has passed.
  2. If the Landlord has evicted the Family, and any applicable vacancy period has passed.
  3. If the Landlord does not wish to enter into a new HAP Contract or extend the current one.
  4. If the unit fails the HQS inspection, and repairs are not completed.
  5. If the Housing Authority terminates the family's participation in the Section 8 Program.
Housing Authority Termination of Assistance to the Family

Occasionally, the Housing Authority may have good cause to terminate a family's participation in the Section 8 Program. The grounds for terminating Section 8 assistance are very limited, and the violation/s of the program must be specific and verifiable.

The Housing Authority may occasionally terminate a family's participation in the Section 8 Program due to program violations, however:

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DOES THE HA TERMINATE THE TENANCY OF THE FAMILY.

The tenancy remains the responsibility of the Landlord, and separate action must be taken by the Landlord to evict the tenant, should the Landlord so desire. You may wish to contact your attorney for assistance in reference to 90 day's notice when terminating Section 8 tenancies, [See: CC§1954.535; Wasatch Property Management v. DeGrate, 35 Cal. 4th 1111 (2005)].