If you would like to rent to a lower income person or family who simply needs assistance to pay rent - then read on.
SECTION 8 VOUCHER PROGRAM
Section 8 is a free choice approach to publicly assisted housing. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and operated by the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Rosa for properties within the city limits. It is a federal rent subsidy program for low income families. Disabled veterans, displaced families, widows with dependent children, pensioners and the elderly are some of the people who can benefit. To qualify, a family must have an annual income of less than 50% of the median income for Sonoma County.
FREE CHOICE FOR OWNERS AND TENANTS
Owners retain their private property rights, including choice of tenants, and enforce their own written rules just as in any other rental situation. Tenants seek and select their own housing.
BENEFITS TO OWNERS WHO LEASE TO TENANTS WITH A SECTION 8 VOUCHER
- The owner has increased assurance the rent will be paid. The Housing Authority pays the owner a fixed portion of the rent each month. The family pays the rest.
- Security Deposit - The owner has the right to require a security deposit from the tenant the same as the security deposit demanded from an unassisted renter.
- Inspections - The Housing Authority inspects and approves the unit (most residences in Santa Rosa meet the Authority's Housing Quality Standards.) before a lease is signed. The Housing Authority will also inspect annually to verify the property is being maintained in good condition.
- Rent Increases - The owner may periodically increase the total rent charged with 60 days' written notice to tenant and Housing Authority. The Authority will make sure any rent increases are reasonable as judged by market conditions.
- Lease - Owners use their own lease and the HUD-required Lease Addendum must be used in conjunction with this lease. Owners may use month-to-month or longer terms at their discretion.
- Moving - When the tenant moves, the owner has no further obligation to participate in the program. The Housing Authority will refer new families eligible for the program if the owner desires.
- Evictions - If the tenant violates the lease, the owner may evict the tenant in accordance with the terms of the lease and State law, just as with unassisted tenancy.
- Tenant Problems - The Housing Authority may be able to assist in working out owner-tenant problems. Problems such as nonpayment of tenant rent, destruction of property, unauthorized persons living in the unit who are not on the lease - all of these should be brought to our attention. Owners may evict tenants who do not comply with the terms of the lease.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN OWNER
The rights and responsibilities of an owner, under Section 8, are basically the same as they are in the private market.
- Screens and selects the tenant (the Housing Authority does not screen for tenant suitability)
- Collects family portion of the rent.
- Deals directly with the tenant family and may evict them for cause.
- Maintains the unit and makes necessary repairs, including installation of any required dead bolts and smoke detectors.
- Pays utilities and other services unless they are paid by the tenant.
- Complies with Fair Housing laws and State laws governing tenant/landlord relations.
THE OWNER CAN CHARGE
The rent will depend on the local market for units with similar amenities and will be subject to a rent reasonableness test by the Housing Authority. Also, the tenant family is prohibited from paying more than 40% of their income toward their portion of the rent.
Any type of housing may be rented - apartments, houses, duplexes, etc. - so long as the unit is the correct size for the family, is located in Santa Rosa and is in decent, safe and sanitary condition and is "legal" with regards to zoning, required building permits, etc.
- The Voucher: The Section 8 voucher is issued by the Housing Authority declaring a family eligible for program participation.
- Request for Lease Approval: The one-page form which must be completed and returned to the Housing Authority for approval. Submittal of this completed form to the Housing Authority affirms the joint intention of the family and the owner to enter into a Lease and Contract.
- Initial Inspection:Upon receipt of the Request for Lease Approval, the Housing Authority will contact the owner or agent to schedule the initial inspection. The Housing Authority will not be responsible for rent until the unit passes inspection.
- Contract Rent: The tenant and the Housing Authority combined rent, payable to the owner. The Housing Authority will make a fixed Housing Assistance Payment each month. The tenant will pay the rest of the agreed upon rent payment directly to the owner.
- Housing Assistance Payments Contract: The "Contract,"a written agreement between the Housing Authority and an owner for the purpose of providing housing assistance payments on behalf of an eligible family.
- Lease: A written agreement between an owner and an eligible family for the leasing of an existing housing unit.
Thank you for your interest in this program. We look forward to working with you. The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Rosa Section 8 Program staff is available to answer your questions and to receive your comments at 543-3300.