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City of Cedar Rapids Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

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Presentation on theme: "City of Cedar Rapids Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program"— Presentation transcript:

1 City of Cedar Rapids Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
Owner Informational Meeting March 15, 2010

2 Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Topics
Program Overview Program Benefits Public Housing Authority Obligations Owner Benefits Inspections Rent Reasonableness Payment Standards Violence Against Women Act 2005 Owner Benefits Owner Obligations Tenant Obligations Program Termination Frequently Asked Question’s Contact Information

3 Program Overview Federal Program assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled, to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. The Section 8 program is under the control of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered locally by the City of Cedar Rapids Housing Services.

4 Program Overview (Continued)
Our service area covers Linn and Benton Counties Cedar Rapids has had some form of rent assistance program since 1970. Can assist between 1,100 – 1,200 participants (average per month). Number of active participants Other program services include: Family Self Sufficiency Program Homeownership Assistance HUD has designated Cedar Rapids as a “High Performer”. HUD approved Cedar Rapids PHA for its flood related work with $321, in “extraordinary administrative fees”.

5 Program Overview (Continued)
$ Average Monthly share of rent paid by participant. $ Average Monthly subsidy paid by the PHA. 78.3 % of our active households have an annual income of under $15,000. 90% of new admissions had an Iowa address before entering the program. 83% of new admissions had a Linn or Benton County address.

6 Program Benefits Very Low income households are able to rent decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Local landlords receive over $4.4 million in rent assistance payments annually. Community benefits: Family stability and related benefits (student achievement, occupational opportunities, etc.) Affordable housing stock is improved (annual inspection of units)

7 Obligations of the Public Housing Authority
Determine family income eligibility Screen tenants according to program eligibility Approve units, leases, and rent Determine family’s rent portion based on their income Ensure that families comply with program rules Inspect units Re-determine family eligibility annually Make Housing Assistance Payments to Owners

8 Inspection HUD requires that all units occupied by families receiving assistance meet HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and permits that PHA to establish additional requirements. The Housing Authority inspects each unit including the building and premises – before entering into an initial contract with an owner, and annually for the duration of the contract. Owners should assess the condition of the unit regularly, and before any scheduled inspection, to identify and correct any deficiencies.

9 Inspection (Continued)
There are 4 types of inspections Initial: PHA does in response to a request from the family to approve a unit for participation in the HCV program. The unit must pass the HQS inspection before the effective date of the HAP Contract. Annual: HUD requires the PHA to inspect each unit under lease at least annually to confirm that the unit still meets HQS. Special: May be requested by the owner, family, or a third party as a result of problems identified with a unit between annual inspections. Quality Control: HUD requires a sample of units be reinspected by a supervisor or other qualified individual to ensure that HQS are being enforced correctly and uniformly by all inspectors.

10 Rent Reasonableness No Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract can be approved until the PHA had determined the rent for the unit is reasonable. The purpose of the rent reasonableness test is to ensure that a fair rent is paid for each unit rented under the HCV program. HUD regulations define a reasonable rent as one that does not exceed the rent charged for comparable, unassisted units in the same market area. Owners can not charge more for assisted units than for comparable units on the premises. In determining Reasonableness our PHA will take into account several factors: location and age, unit size, type of unit, quality of the units, amenities, services, and utilities included in the rent.

11 Payment Standards Bedroom size
Payment Standards are used to calculate the maximum rent subsidy that can be paid to an owner on behalf of a Section 8 tenant. It does not limit or affect the amount of rent an owner can charge. A tenant can select a unit with rent that is above or below the payment standard, however a tenant is not allowed to pay more than 40% of their income toward rent in their first contract year. City of Cedar Rapids Housing Authority sets this amount between 90%-110% of the Fair Market Rent which is determined by HUD annually. Bedroom size 0 Bdr. Eff 1 Bdr. 2 Bdr. 3 Bdr. 4 Bdr. 5 Bdr. 6 Bdr. $429 $499 $658 $932 $1059 $1217 $1376

12 Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (VAWA)
Provides that “criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, engaged in by a member of a tenant’s household or any guest or other person under the tenants control shall not be a cause for termination of assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights if the tenant or an immediate member of the tenant’s family is the victim or threatened victim of that domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.” VAWA also gives PHAs the authority to “terminate assistance to any individual who is a tenant or lawful occupant and who engages in criminal acts of physical violence against family members or others, without evicting, removing, terminating assistance to, or otherwise penalizing the victim of such violence who is also a tenant or lawful occupant.” A participate or immediate family member who has been the victim of such actions and that the actions are related to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the participant must complete and sign the HUD form – Certificate of Domestic Violence or provide police or court record documenting the actual or threatened abuse.

13 Benefits to Owners A significant portion of the rent is paid by City of Cedar Rapids Housing Services. Family’s rent portion is based on their income so their payment is within their means and they should be able to pay on time each month. Housing Assistance Payment is mailed or direct deposited to the landlord so they will have it on the 1st of the month. Owner can still collect security deposit, screen tenants according to their own criteria, and receive a free annual inspection to ensure maximum property compliance.

14 Obligations of the Owner
Landlord must maintain the Section 8 rental unit in compliance with HUD’s Housing Quality Standards. All rental units in Cedar Rapids must be registered with City Code Enforcement and current fees paid. Comply with terms of the Housing Assistance Payments contract. Comply with Fair Housing laws and discriminate against no one. Maintain the housing unit and make repairs in a timely manner. Collect rent due from assisted family and enforce provisions of their lease. Comply with the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 when screening and terminating tenants.

15 Owner Rights/ Responsibilities Under Section 8 Program
Landlord has the right and responsibility to screen tenants. Check with previous landlord. Ask about previous rental history, rent paid timely, neighbor complaints, housekeeping skills, damage to property, etc. Search Iowa Courts Online. Look for crimes likely to disturb the rights of other tenants/ neighbors such as burglary, robbery, prostitution, forgery, evictions, etc. Perform an inspection of the potential tenant’s current residence. Lease is between landlord and the tenant. Landlord has the right to enforce the lease as they would with any other tenant.

16 Obligations of the Tenant
Supply or release information for use in a regularly scheduled reexamination of family income and composition. Report all income from all sources and the names of all persons living in the unit. Disclose SS# Allow the HA to inspect the rental unit when reasonable notice has been given. Notify the owner and HA in writing 30 days prior to moving out of assisted unit. Give the HA copies of any owner eviction notice. Notify the PHA in writing when the family is away from the unit for an extended period of time. Use the assisted unit solely for residence by the family. Report all changes of income/ household to our office in writing within 10 days. Request prior approval to add any other person to the lease. Tenant/ family is responsible for the behavior of each family member, their friends and members friends/ family damages caused by them (invited or uninvited). Pay the utility bills and supply appliances required under the lease.

17 The Section 8 Family must not:
Own or have any interest in the rental property. Commit any serious or repeated violations of the lease. Commit fraud, bribery, or any other criminal act in connection with the program. Engage in drug-related criminal activity or violent criminal activity, other criminal activity that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents and persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises. Engage in abuse of alcohol in a way that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the other residents and persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises. Sublease the unit. Receive Section 8 rental assistance while receiving another housing subsidy. If the family violates any program rules or responsibilities their housing assistance may be terminated.

18 Termination of Assistance - Tenant
The City of Cedar Rapids Housing Services office is committed to terminating rental assistance for those families who participate in violent criminal activity, drug-related activity, or alcohol related charges. Our staff checks the local newspaper, checks Iowa Courts online, and works with the local police departments to determine whether participating families are charged with crimes. If evidence shows that a family member or guest has been involved in this type of activity, it is the policy of the HA to investigate and terminate the family’s assistance where circumstances warrant. Under the Section 8 program a family’s assistance may be terminated whether or not there has been a conviction.

19 Joint Effort for Success
The Housing Authority has many procedures in place to hold families accountable for meeting their program and lease obligations. When a family becomes a participant with the Housing Authority, the family agrees to abide by program rules, referred to as Tenant Obligations. The lease is the agreement between the owner and the family that provides the legal basis for the owner to hold families accountable. The Housing Authority and the owner must exercise their rights under these documents for them to be effective tools for accountability. The success of the program is a joint effort between the Housing Authority, participating owners, and tenants. Owner Lease HAP contract Three-Way Partnership Housing Authority Family Voucher

20 Frequently Asked Questions
How much rent can I charge? The rent must be comparable to the rent of other privately rented units, and it must not be higher than what you would charge a non-Section 8 tenant. Can I charge the tenant more than their portion of the rent? No, the tenant must pay only the amount authorized by City of Cedar Rapids Housing Authority. Any amount paid by the tenant other than the authorized amount is considered an unauthorized side payment, and is considered grounds for termination of the housing assistance contract and may affect your ability to participate in the program in the future. How do I request a rent increase? When can I request a rent increase? No rent increase is permitted during the initial term of the lease. Owner must submit a request for rent increase in writing days prior to effective date. The PHA will determine if requested increase is reasonable. What should I do if a Section 8 tenant is not complying with the lease, not paying rent, additional people living in the unit, doing something illegal? You should take the same action you would with an unassisted tenant. The only difference is you need to notify Housing Services of the lease violation and send us a copy. If the tenant fails to comply, you may proceed with eviction proceedings. Who needs to be present for an inspection? An adult (18 years of age or older) must be present. We recommend the owner or an adult tenant is present who can address questions the inspector may have. What is the inspection process for a new contract? After the Request for Tenancy is received our inspector will contact the owner to schedule the inspection. Before we conduct an inspection, the previous tenant or owner must move out of the unit. We will only inspect a unit if it is vacant, or occupied by the Section 8 tenant.

21 Contact Information Scott Seibert - Assisted Housing Manager Marie Anderson – Leased Housing Specialist Jim Borschel – Leased Housing Specialist Chris Brodt – Leased Housing Specialist Kim Gordon Leased Housing Specialist Doris Hughes – Leased Housing Specialist Vicki Klemm Customer Service Annette Lorenz – Leased Housing Specialist Pam Mosbaugh – Family Self- Sufficiency Coordinator Jeanne Vice – Administrative Assistant III

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