Frequently Asked Owner Questions
Rent | Housing
Assistance Payment (HAP) | Lease
| Family Eligibility | Housing
Quality Standards (HQS)
Q: Why does TMHA pay all the rent form some families and
very little on others?
A: Amount paid depends on the income and composition of the
family, applicable income deductions, and rent / utility amounts.
See section on How
Assistance Is Calculated.
Q: How do I know what rent to ask?
A: You would ask the same rent as you would if the unit were
unassisted. It is against HUD regulations to inflate the rent
because the owner is putting the unit on Metro.
If, as a landlord you are unsure of what rent to ask, check
other similar units in the area, and ask a comparable rent
that is reasonable.
Q: Why did TMHA ask me to lower a rent?
A: If we ask you to lower a rent, most often the reason is
that the rent is too high for the selected family. At lease-up
HUD prohibits us from leasing a unit where the family will
pay more than 40% of their income toward rent and utilities.
This is called the 40% Tenant Rent Burden Rule. Rather than
rejecting your unit outright, the occupancy person handling
your unit will always see if you are willing to lower the
rent a certain amount. As a landlord you have the option to
accept or reject. We want you to have that decision.
Q: What happens to the family if I wont lower the rent?
A: The unit in question is voided for that family, and you
have the option to select another. The rejected family can
search for another unit, if they have search time on their
voucher. In reality this is a frequent scenario when families
are searching for housing.
Q: If we cant agree on a rent, cant I as landlord
just charge the tenant more on the side?
A: NO. HUD has strict regulations on this issue, and is explicit
in telling the housing authority that we should terminate
the HAP Contract where this practice is going on. If TMHA
and the landlord cannot negotiate a rent that works for all
parties, we will have to agree that the unit in question cannot
work on the Section 8 program.
In some cases, HUD does allow side payments for other-than-rent
situations, for example, a monthly charge for a washer and
dryer a landlord may provide. Check with TMHA on the particular
case, and be sure to keep such payments separate from the
rent, so there is no confusion.
Q: Are some rents too high the Section 8 program?
A. They can be. Rents on the Section 8 program are affected
by the Payment Standard, a figure that represents average
rent for a unit in our area. We use the Payment Standard to
calculate the maximum subsidy for a family. If the unit rent
is significantly over the Payment Standard, the family will
have to pay that overage, and the unit will be
too expensive for them even with our help. The Section 8 program
is designed to work with average rent units.
Q: Suppose I want to increase the rent?
A: Rent can be increased after the first year of the lease.
The lease is binding for tenant and landlord for the first
year, and once set, the rent cannot be changed during that
year. After that time, however, the owner can increase the
rent a reasonable amount in line with comparable units. The
tenant must have a 60-day notice of the increase.
Q: In the event of the increase, can I make sure that TMHA,
and not the tenant, covers it?
A: The rent calculation that we do dictates who (TMHA, tenant,
or both) will cover the increase. This depends on a number
of factors. See the How Assistance Is Calculated [page link]
Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Issues:
Q: How will I know the amount TMHA will pay on a unit?
A: Well provide a welcome letter to both
tenant and landlord on new units giving the total amount of
rent, and the split between tenant rent and the HAP payment.
When there are changes, we send a Notice of Change
form that gives the old information, the new, and the date
of the change.
Q: Once a unit is on the program, how soon will I receive
my HAP check?
A: As soon as the leases and HAP Contract are signed by all
parties, a check for the Housing Assistance Payment is cut,
and sent to you. Generally, you will receive the check in
three to six days after signing is complete.
Q: Why would the amount of the HAP check change?
A: Changes to the familys income or composition could
cause a recalculation of assistance to be done. TMHA calls
this an interim change. Annually TMHA is required to re-verify
the familys income and composition, and to re-inspect
the unit even if there have been no interim changes. This
process is called recertification. At this time the HAP amount
may change because of family income or composition changes,
payment standard changes, or rent / utility adjustments. Any
time there is a change in the amount of HAP, both the family
and owner are notified of the old and new amounts, and the
effective date of the change.
Q: What about security deposits?
A: You may collect a security deposit in the same manner and
amount as you would for an unassisted tenant. Unfortunately,
we DO NOT have funds to help families with security deposits,
and sometimes families have trouble coming up with the money.
In some cases, we know landlords have allowed a family to
make payments on the deposit after move-in, but that is strictly
up to the landlord. At move-out the security deposit is subject
to provisions or Ohio Tenant-Landlord law, just as with an
Q: What happens if a tenant damages a unit?
A: While a family is under lease, they are responsible for
keeping the unit in good condition, understanding that any
unit will show some normal wear & tear. Landlords are
NOT responsible for tenant-caused damage that causes a unit
to fail HQS inspection, and this includes shut-off utilities
that are tenant responsibility. At move-out, damage beyond
normal wear & tear is treated in the same way as an unassisted
unit; that is, the security deposit is applied to the damages.
If damages exceed the deposit, the tenant owes the landlord.
If TMHA is moving the tenant to another assisted unit, we
will decline to lease the tenant up at another unit, if there
are undisputed damage amounts owed to the landlord of the
Q: When is the lease terminated?
A: The two lease documents, Resident Lease and HUD Lease Addendum,
are documents between the tenant family and owner. The lease
is binding for the first year, unless landlord and tenant
voluntarily agree to sign a mutual recission of
the lease. After the first year, the lease continues on a
month-to-month basis, and either party can end the lease with
a 30-day notice to the other. Of course, the landlord always
has the right to evict for lease violations. See Evictions
in Section 8 Housing section.
Q: What about pets?
A: This is much the same as an unassisted lease. You reserve
the right to decide if your tenant may keep pets. We will
ask you about pets when you sign the lease, and complete a
pet waiver for the file, if a pet is allowed and what it is.
Having a pet without a waiver is a lease violation.
Q: A tenant on the program wants to move, but owes the landlord
back rent. How is this handled?
A: If the tenant family intends to move with assistance and
TMHA knows that undisputed rent is owing, we will decline
to execute a new lease and contract until the family has paid
the owed rent, unless the back rent was incurred before the
unit was assisted by TMHA.
Family Eligibility Issues:
Q: What happens if the renting familys income exceeds
the income eligibility level?
A: If a familys income goes up enough that they are
paying all the rent, and TMHA is paying none ($0.00 HAP),
the family will remain on the program for six months (according
to the HAP Contract). After that, they drop off our program
and the HAP Contract automatically ends, but they may continue
to live in your unit under lease with you, continuing to pay
all the rent.
Often families income goes up and down, because of lay-offs,
etc., so they may pay all the rent for several months, but
then have an income drop to where we start paying part of
the rent again.
Q: What happens if you kick a tenant off the program.?
A: The term is termination. We may terminate a
family for failure to fulfill their Family Obligations, for
fraud, or for crimes involving drugs or violent criminal activity.
In cases where we terminate, we forward tenant correspondence
to the landlord, so you are informed of the situation. Families
have a right to dispute a termination. If successfully terminated,
the HAP Contract ends. The owner may continue the lease, or
ask the family to move, or may have to evict the family.
Q: Can a tenant decide to quit the program?
A: Yes. The action is called a voluntary withdrawal,
and TMHA asks the family to complete paperwork in our office
informing us of the expected date of withdrawal. We can then
notify the owner of the date the assistance will end. The
owner can continue to rent to that tenant with the tenant
paying all the rent. TMHAs assistance will end.
Q: Is there a time limit on the assistance?
A: There is no time limit. Other factors have the effect of
ending assistance, such as an increase in the family income
to where they can pay all their rent; the family leaving the
program voluntarily or moving; or owner or TMHA ending the
HAP Contract. Some of our fixed income families have been
on our assistance for years, in the same unit. Other families
need our assistance for a much shorter time.
Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Issues:
Q: The TMHA inspector has given the owner 30 days to make
needed repairs, but I need more time. What to do?
A: An owner can ask the inspector for an extension for legitimate
reasons, such as backordered items, or waiting for contracted
repairs. It is the discretion of the inspector to grant extensions.
If the unit is not yet under contract, the HAP Contract cannot
be executed (and HAP Payments started) until the unit passes
Q: What about exterior paint that is cited for repair in
the winter months?
A: The inspector may grant a paint waiver until June 15 of
the next spring to complete exterior paint work. In that case
the HAP Contract can be executed with all fail items repaired
except exterior paint. The paint must then be repaired by
the June 15 date to keep the HAP Contract in force.
Q: Does TMHA check for lead-based paint?
A: TMHA has some regulations that apply to pre-1978 units.
See section on Lead Paint on Section 8 Housing.
Other Owner Issues:
Q: What happens if the owner sells the unit?
A: This happens frequently. We need the seller to let us know
of the intention to sell, and when the property does sell
and to whom. We do transfer (of lease and contract) paperwork
that both seller and buyer sign. Generally, the new owner
wants to keep the occupied tenant, unless he intends to convert
to private or business use. The leases and HAP Contract continue
under the new owner. The seller should remit the security
deposit with the sale, since the new owner should not collect
another from the tenant.
Q: Occasionally I see a newspaper ad that advertises a Metro-approved
unit. What is this?
A: A misnomer by the advertiser. No unit is Metro-approved
until we approve it for your chosen tenant. If that tenant
moves, TMHA will inspect again for the new tenant. The advertiser
probably means that he will accept a TMHA Voucher Holder,
and perhaps the unit has passed an inspection in the past,
but a better ad term would be Accepts TMHA Vouchers.
Q: Does Ohio Tenant-Landlord Law apply to the Section 8 program?
A: Yes, it will apply as it would in a non-program unit. The
lease is between you and the tenant, subject to tenant-landlord
law provisions, and the litigation actions of court.
Q: Why does TMHA need my Social Security number?
A: We are required to get either a SSN or a Federal Identification
Number (FID) in order to make HAP Payments to you. At the
end of the year, we will issue a 1099 for the amount of the
HAP paid to you, and the IRS requires an SSN or FID for the
Q: What are the advantages of participating in TMHAs
A: The security of knowing that the TMHA HAP check will arrive
every month it is owned and terms of the contract met. Program
gives the tenant a more manageable rent that evens out the
changes in a familys income. The binding lease during
the first year discourages moves. Program encourages owners
to select tenant of their choice. Inspection process certifies
the unit as being safe and decent, and provides a structure
around which ongoing maintenance can be scheduled. TMHA helps
owners fill their vacant units by listing the unit on the
Available list we provide to our searching Voucher
Back to Top