Q & A Housing Choice Vouchers
Housing Choice Voucher Residents
What are the income limits for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) holders?
Income limits are subject to change without notice. Please click here for income limits.
How do I know what apartments are available?
The list of available apartments is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at GoSection8.com.
How long can a person remain in the HCV program?
Participants continue to receive housing assistance as long as they are income-eligible and fulfill all tenant obligations under the program. Eligibility for assistance stops when a tenant’s income rises to the level where the tenant’s portion of rent amount matches or exceeds the full contract rent and when this income level is maintained for a period of six months.
What are “subsidy standards?”
Subsidy standards refer to the size (number of bedrooms) of a housing unit for which HCV participants are eligible. Subsidy standards are based on household size.
What are the Housing Choice Voucher Payment Standards?
The HCV payment standards are based on Fair Market Rent (FMR) standards which are established by HUD annually. The payment standard is the maximum subsidy amount the Fresno Housing Authority can provide toward the gross rent. The “gross rent” consists of contract rent plus a utility allowance. If the gross rent is more than the payment standard, the family must make up the difference if they are to remain in the unit.
Effective October 1, 2017, the Payments Standards for the Fresno Housing Authority are as follows:
What is the process for getting a signed HAP contract?
Voucher participants must have a signed lease agreement with the property owner. The Housing Assistance Payment contract and the lease agreement must have the same term date. The unit must pass the Housing Quality Standards inspection and the property owner must agree to the amount of rent offered by Fresno Housing Authority.
What are the rules about renting from relatives?
Federal regulations do not allow Fresno Housing Authority to subsidize the rent of any participant if the property owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of any member of the participant’s household. Exceptions to this rule can be considered for a family member with disabilities.
When should an HCV program participant pay a security deposit?
Voucher participants must speak with the property owner to determine when and if a security deposit must be paid. It is important to get the policy in writing, just in case a lease is never signed. Typically, the security deposit amount is equal to one month’s rent.
How is the tenant’s rent portion determined?
In the local rental market a landlord sets a “contract rental rate” for an available apartment. HCV participants are expected to pay between 30% to 40% of their monthly household income towards rent. The Housing Authority pays the difference between the contract rate and the amount paid by the HCV participant. Housing Authority payments are made directly to the landlord.
After the first year of the contract, based on review by the Housing Authority, rental payments may rise to exceed 40% of adjusted monthly income (depending on rent amounts). All changes related to rental payments will be stated in a written notification from the Housing Authority to the HCV participant and landlord 60 days prior to any change in rent.
Do all rental units have to be inspected?
Yes, all units must pass a Housing Quality Standards Inspection in order to participate in the program. The unit must pass inspection prior to the tenant moving in and then again annually.
Can an HCV participant move into a unit before it passes inspection?
Fresno Housing Authority will not pay rent for a unit that has not passed inspection. Unless the HCV participant is already living in the unit, he or she should not occupy the unit until it passes inspection and after a lease has been signed by the property owner.
If the property owner allows the tenant to move into the unit prior to inspection, the tenant will be responsible for paying the full rent amount until the time at which the unit passes inspection. Fresno Housing Authority will not pay the back amount retroactively.
Must the Voucher participant be present when the inspection occurs?
No, but a responsible adult, age 18 or over, must be present to let the inspector in to the unit. It is in the best interest of the HCV participant to be present for the initial inspection. This is an opportunity for the tenant to learn more about the unit and to find out firsthand why the unit may not pass inspection. Also, it is an opportunity to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
What is a Housing Assistance Payment contract?
A Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract is a contractual agreement between the HCV participant and the Fresno Housing Authority, through which the Housing Authority agrees to pay a specific amount each month to help the HCV participant meet the cost of their unit.
Who pays for utilities?
The property owner and the HCV participant (tenant) must come to agreement regarding who will be responsible for the payment of utilities (water, electricity, gas, garbage). This arrangement should be written in the lease and also in the Housing Assistance Payment contract.