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Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher program, commonly known as HCV or Section 8, is the federal government's largest tenant-based rental assistance program. The HCV program assists low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs) that receive federal funds from HUD. Central to the program are the landlords who provide housing to the HCV participants. 

Public Housing and Section 8 Voucher Program are two different programs.  

What Roles Do The Tenant, The Landlord, The Housing Authority, and HUD Have?

Once the Housing Authority approves an eligible family’s lease and housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the Housing Authority sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract which runs for the same term as the lease.  Everyone, the tenant, the landlord and the Housing Authority have obligations and responsibilities with the voucher program.

Tenant's Role

Once a family selects a housing unit, and the Housing Authority 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 a family is settled in their new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements of paying its share of rent on time, maintaining the unit in good condition and notifying the Housing Authority of any changes in income or family composition

Landlord's Role

The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent.  The dwelling unit must pass the program’s housing standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments.  The landlord is also expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the Housing Authority.

Housing Authority Role

The Housing Authority administers the voucher program locally.  The Housing Authority provides a family with the rental assistance that enables the family to search out suitable housing.  The Housing Authority enters into a contract with the landlord to provide rental assistance payments on behalf of the family and if the landlord fails to meet his/her obligations under the lease, the Housing Authority has the right to terminate the assistance payments..

HUD's Role

HUD provides funds to allow Housing Authorities to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families and covers program costs.  HUD also pays the Housing Authority a fee for the costs of administering the program.  Housing Authorities may make application for additional rental vouchers to assist more families when funds become available.  HUD reviews these applications and funds are awarded to the selected Housing Authorities on a competitive basis..

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