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Landlord Information


How will I benefit from renting to a family with a Section 8 Voucher (HCV)?

The guaranteed, on time, monthly subsidy payment from the HACM is your biggest benefit. In addition you are also protected from financial loss if your tenant suffers unexpected financial hardship – when this happens, the subsidy payment is increased to compensate for your tenant’s lower income. The HACM can help prevent your vacant units from remaining empty for too long, since the HACM provides lists of available units and there are a large number of prospective tenants who are qualified for housing subsidy assistance look for housing. Finally, even if you attempt to evict a tenant for good cause, you will continue to receive the HACM’s portion of the rent until the tenant leaves the apartment.

Does the Housing Authority screen applicants for tenancy?

HACM reviews the applicant for program eligibility only. When a client initially comes in through the program all adults are fingerprinted through a national database as a requirement to qualify for the assistance. As in the private market, the owner is responsible to screen applicants for suitability as tenants. The selection of an acceptable tenant, whether assisted or not, is limited only by fair housing requirements and the prohibition of discrimination as established by federal and state law.

What steps are involved in renting to a family with a Voucher?

If you choose to rent to a family in the program, complete the “Request for Tenancy Approval” (RFTA) form, and have the family hand deliver the form back to the HACM. Usually, the inspection can be scheduled within 7-10 business days from the time the RFTA is received (as long as the tenant has already provided all of their updated income information to their housing specialist). If there are discrepancies or rental adjustments that need to be made, the inspector will contact you. When the unit rent amount has been agreed upon, an appointment will be made to inspect the potential unit. The inspector will let you know at the inspection if the unit has any deficiencies and you will be given time to make repairs.

HACM will ask that you sign a “Housing Assistance Payments Contract” (HAP) with the Housing Authority, which guarantees you the subsidy payment and other benefits as long as the family remains in the unit and the unit remains in compliance with HQS.

HACM will also ask that each owner certify that he/she is legally responsible for the property. We require documentation to support the certification and a W-9 form will need to be completed (if HACM doesn’t already have one on file).

Federal law does not allow HACM to approve a unit for rental when the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, or extended family of the Voucher holder or of any member of the Voucher holder’s family.

How much can the Housing Authority pay?

You have the right to ask for a rent that is reasonable and comparable to similar unassisted private market units in the same building and neighborhood. The HACM may not approve a higher rent for a unit if similar units in the building are charged lower rents or if similar units in the neighborhood have established lower rents. The HACM also takes into account the condition of the unit that is requesting an increase.

All families assisted by the Housing Choice Voucher Program must pay a minimum of 30% of the household’s monthly adjusted income (with a few exceptions) as tenant share of monthly rent to the owner. The amount the HACM will pay toward the rent is determined by subtracting 30% of the family’s adjusted income from the appropriate HACM payment standard. In most cases, no two families will pay the same rent. It is an individualized program based upon household income, family composition and allowable deductions.

When a family with a voucher is entering into a lease with you for the first time, the family cannot pay more than 40% of their income for rent. Some families with a Voucher can afford more expensive units than other Voucher holders.

By no means can a family being assisted by the HACM pay the Landlord any amount other than what the HACM has approved. Doing so would be a violation of the program for both the tenant and the owner.

Who pays the Security Deposit?

If you want a security deposit, you must collect this from the tenant. The Housing Choice Voucher / Section 8 program has no responsibility for damages, unpaid tenant rent, or other claims you might have against the tenant.

What other requirements are there?

You have all the rights and responsibilities you have when renting to unassisted tenants. The only additional responsibility you have is to allow the apartment to be inspected every year.

What happens after I rent to the family?

Every year HACM will determine whether the family is still eligible for the program and whether the unit is still in compliance with HQS. If the unit is no longer in compliance with HQS we will notify you in writing, and provide an opportunity to make the repairs. A change in the family’s income or size may result in a change in their share of the rent and subsidy payment.

How do I request a rent increase?

A rent increase can be requested after one year of tenancy. Rent increases are made effective by the HACM on the first of the month following a minimum of 60 day notice. Rent increases must fall in line with the tenant’s annual recertification period. The request must include the tenant’s name, address, current rent amount, requested rent amount, and effective date of change. EXAMPLE: The rent increase is received at the HACM January 7th the soonest the increase can start is April 1st.

HQS most common fail items:

Checking these areas ahead of time will greatly improve the unit’s chances of passing inspection on the first attempt.
Utilities must be on. You must have a means of trash/waste removal. The unit must have a functioning stove and refrigerator. Poor housekeeping habits can prevent your unit in passing an inspection.

  1. Missing and/or broken outlet and light switch plate covers. Please check all outlets and switches.
  2. Electrical baseboard heaters loose from the wall.
  3. ALL stove burners and the oven must function, all adjustment knobs must be present.
  4. Refrigerator must be of adequate size for family and capable of maintaining temperature low enough to keep food from spoiling.
  5. Refrigerator door gaskets should be in good condition and the freezer should close properly, no ice build up. If the freezer won’t close to the normal position, it will fail.
  6. Any peeling paint in or on a unit built before 1978; if the tenant has a child under 6 years of age, it will fail.
  7. Non-locking doors or windows that are accessible.
  8. Broken or cracks in windows, light fixtures, and other cutting hazards such as a sharp chip broken off the toilet tank lid.
  9. Any exposed wiring.
  10. Hot water heater needs pressure relief valve and the discharge line. Please see county guideline on hot water heater.
  11. Faulty steps or railing.
  12. Decks/Balconies/Porches 30 inches above the ground are required to have perimeter railings.
  13. Bathrooms must have a window that opens or a working fan.
  14. Excessive debris of any kind in or out of the unit.
  15. Infestations of varmints (rats, roaches, etc.).
  16. Serious water leaks (plumbing/interior ceilings).
  17. Laundry dryers in units must be vented to the outside of the unit.
  18. Front/Back doors/windows without a tight seal, allowing drafts to enter the unit.
  19. Working smoke detectors on each floor of the unit.
  20. Working carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of the unit.

Housing Discrimination Is Illegal

Effective January 1, 2020, it’s illegal in California for landlords to refuse to rent to prospective tenants solely because they have Housing Choice Voucher (formally Section 8).

Go Section 8

Go Section 8 affords landlords the largest national platform for reaching Section-8 eligible families. provides a free listing option for all landlords and property managers.

HQS Self Certification

The HQS Self-certification form can be used to certify that the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) repairs listed on the repair notice have been corrected. Both manager/owner and the participant/tenant must use this form to certify in writing that the repairs have been completed prior to the deadline date indicated on the repair notice. This form takes the place of a re-inspection of the unit. The inspector sending the repair letter will determine if the unit is eligible for this service.