If you are using housing choice vouchers for your properties, then you’re subject to the HUD rules for landlords.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees the voucher program and provides renters with a subsidy to secure a rental unit from a private landlord.
As long as you follow the rules, almost any landlord is eligible to rent their units to folks with these vouchers. Here's a brief overview of the rules you'll need to follow:
HUD rules dictate that you screen tenants in the voucher program just as you would with any other renter. Landlords have the right to deny a tenancy as long as the decision isn't based on personal characteristics.
Landlords can pick and choose whom they wish to occupy their properties. HUD simply dictates who qualifies for a voucher.
Landlords enter into the same leasing agreement with a voucher tenant as they would with any other tenant.
Voucher landlords, however, also have to enter into an agreement with HUD regarding rent and how much is actually guaranteed.
The subsidy granted will be the difference of what is considered reasonable rent in the area and no more than 40% of the voucher tenant's overall income.
Fees and Deposits
Landlords may charge the same security deposit, move-in fees, pet-related fees, and other charges that they already charge other tenants as long as they conform to what local applicable laws allow.
Landlords who rent to tenants on the voucher program must allow HUD representatives to inspect the quality of the unit before it is rented.
It must pass specifications that include sanitation, safety, and decency.
Each room must also meet specifications regarding the number of electrical outlets that are available, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors depending on applicable laws.
Cold and hot water are required and each room must be free from lead paint and other hazardous defects.
This inspection is much like the pre-rental inspection a traditional tenant would have with a landlord.
Although most who qualify for a voucher will need to prove their citizenship in order to get it, there are those who do slip through the cracks.
Part of the due diligence process is for landlords to determine citizenship eligibility as well to prevent fraud in the voucher program.
If a tenant who has a voucher is deemed to be ineligible, the rental assistance will stop and the leasing agreement should contain provisions to help you re-rent the unit quickly.
There are also a number of specific rules that must be followed for voucher clients based on their age, a diagnosed disability, and other unique factors.
You must also meet uniform financial reporting standards, but if you can meet all of the HUD rules for landlords, you'll open up a new market of tenants within your community that could increase your overall rental income. For that reason alone, looking into this program is worth the effort it takes.
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