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What is Section 8 Housing?

A HUD-funded program, which is named for a section of the Housing & Community Development act of 1974. This program has established the use of privately-owned rental housing for public rental assistance. Section 8 is a federal program, and governed by acts of Congress. HUD interprets congressional law, and writes the program regulations. Housing authorities, which are state agencies, administrate the regulations. The Section 8 program has evolved over the years, and is now called the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Goal of the Section 8 Program.
To provide decent, safe and sanitary rental units to income-eligible families, where the family wishes to live, and where a private owner is willing to rent to the family and execute a contract with the housing authority. Both parties in this relationship can benefit. The family gains stable and affordable housing. The owner selects a tenant family, and is assured a Housing Assistance Payment by virtue of the HAP Contract with the housing authority. The Section 8 program relies on the successful working partnership of three parties:

  • The Housing Authority,
  • The Tenant Family,
  • The Owner / Landlord.

Family Eligibility
Eligibility is based on income, as defined by Federal guidelines. Families must be “very low income,” which means that they have income that is 50% or less of the area median income. Households of any size are eligible. TMHA assists many families with children, and also many single-person households who are disabled and/or elderly. Income guidelines for 2013 are:

  • 1 person - 19,400 2 persons - 22,200
  • 3 persons - 24,950 4 persons - 27,700
  • 5 persons - 29,950 6 persons - 32,150
  • 7 persons - 34,350 8 persons - 36,600

Program Housing
The S8 program is designed to assist rental units that are considered mid-range in the local market. Units at the very low end may be unlikely to pass the Housing Quality Standards inspection that must be done on the unit. Units at the high end will likely be too expensive for the family even with the help of the housing authority.

Geographically, TMHA tenants can live anywhere in Tuscarawas County, and TMHA does assist on rentals in virtually every city and town in the county. All types of housing are acceptable, including single family homes, duplexes, tri-plexes, quads, multi-story complexes, and manufactured homes.

Steps to Becoming a TMHA Owner / Landlord

1. Decide to take the plunge! Sometimes this is the biggest step.

2. Give TMHA a call. Ask those burning questions that might not be answered on this site.

Then you can:

  • Ask to be placed on our owner / landlord list that we provide to our Voucher Holders who are searching for units. These searching families will then call you inquiring about the unit, and you conduct your tenancy application process to select the tenant family you wish to rent to,
  • OR, Take a more laid back approach, and wait until a suitable tenant who holds an active voucher approaches you about renting an available unit, and then establish the contact with TMHA.

Either way, one thing is very important at this stage. You as landlord, select the tenant from among those who apply for the unit just as you do for a non-TMHA tenant. TMHA does not screen families for tenancy, only for income eligibility. Selecting the tenant family, according to Fair Housing guidelines, is the right and responsibility of the owner / landlord.

3. After selecting the Voucher-holder as a prospective tenant, complete the Request for Tenancy Approval form. The Voucher Holder will have this form; (HUD-52517). This form gives TMHA the information we need to start the lease-up process for the tenant. After completing this form, sign it, and return to the voucher holder. The Voucher Holder family must bring it in to TMHA.

4. TMHA will review the Request for Tenancy form with the Voucher Holder to see if the unit will work for that family. TMHA must check to see if the family has enough income to support their part of the rent. The family is expected to pay 30 - 40 percent of their adjusted income toward their rent and utilities not included in the rent. TMHA will subsidize the remainder of the rent.

40% Tenant Rent Burden Rule: Sometimes a family with extremely low income will exceed the 40% figure, meaning that their portion of rent/utilities exceeds 40% of their adjusted income. In this case, TMHA cannot initiate a contract on behalf of the family. Instead, TMHA will attempt to negotiate a lower rent with you on the family’s behalf. The voucher holder will respond to you the owner, with a rent negotiation form telling you how much the rent must be lowered to bring the rent burden to the tenant within the 40%. At that point, you as owner have the right to accept or reject the negotiation. If you reject this family, you have the right to rent to another Voucher Holder (with a higher income to support their part of rent). The rejected voucher holder will have the right to seek another unit more in line with their income.
It is important to know that if TMHA asks you to negotiate a rent, we are not criticizing the rent amount. Instead, we are attempting to bring the rent in line with the family’s ability to pay their share.

5. Once the rent for the unit is set, TMHA will schedule an Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection. Arrangements are made as to the date, and the circumstances of entering the unit. Our inspector cannot complete an inspection on a unit occupied by a family other than the one for whom a lease and contract is being considered.

6. Both the Voucher Holder and the owner will receive the results of the inspection. If there are failed items, it is the responsibility of the owner to repair. Generally 30 days are given to repair failed items. When the failed items are repaired, the owner will contact TMHA for another inspection. TMHA does not obligate the owner to repair failed items. Should you as owner decide you do not wish to do repairs, let the voucher holder know. TMHA will void the request on the unit, and the Voucher Holder will seek other housing.

7. Once the unit has passed inspection, all that remains is to sign the necessary paperwork, consisting of the Residence Lease, a standard lease document that meets ORC, the HUD Lease Addendum (HUD-52641-A) and the Housing Assistance Payments Contract (HUD-52641). The HUD Lease Addendum and HAP Contract are available for viewing on-line at www.hudclips.org, At the home page, click Forms. Enter the form number as given above in the search box.

8. TMHA starts leases and contracts on the 1st of the month and the 15th of the month, whichever date falls first after the unit has passed inspection. In the case that a new lease and contract begin on the 15th, TMHA will pay 1/2 of the usual HAP payment for the first half month. Thereafter, the tenant will pay his part of the rent at the beginning of the month, and TMHA will remit the HAP payment no later that the first business day of each month.

9. Congratulations! You have just become a valued member of TMHA’s affordable housing program.

After the Initial Lease and Contract Execution
1. Once the flurry of activity surrounding the lease and contract execution is over, your HAP payment from TMHA will arrive at the beginning of each month, so long as the family remains on the program, and the unit is in compliance with the HAP Contract.

2. Changes: if the tenant income or family composition changes (up or down), TMHA will recompute the amount of assistance paid by TMHA and the tenant family. We call this an “interim change.” TMHA will send a “Notice of Change” form to both the tenant and the owner. This change form will give the old amounts and the new amounts, and the date of the change.

3. Recertification: an annual process required by HUD. TMHA reverifies the family’s composition and income. TMHA asks the owner if he wants to continue the HAP contract. TMHA will reinspect the unit, and it must pass inspection for the contract to continue. TMHA starts the recertification process 120 days before the lease / contract anniversary date.