Q & A Property Owners
How do I rent my unit to a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) participant?
If you are interested in renting to Housing Choice Voucher participants, list your unit (apartment or house) at GoSection8.com. Potential landlords are encouraged to include their willingness to participate in the HCV Program in all forms of advertising. Voucher participants will contact you directly if they are interested in your property. If a family or individual with a voucher successfully completes your screening process, you will be asked to complete a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) packet provided by the Voucher participant. These forms should be submitted to Fresno Housing Authority.
If I rent to one Voucher participant, do all my units have to be under the Program?
No. Property owners retain the right to screen prospective tenants and select the best tenant for each of their units, whether they are Voucher participants or not.
Does Fresno Housing Authority screen tenants?
The Fresno Housing Authority screens tenants in relation to income eligibility for the Housing Choice Voucher Program and performs criminal background checks in some circumstances. Screening for tenant suitability remains the responsibility of the property owner. Owners are advised to ask all prospective tenants for their Social Security number, references, current and previous landlords, credit history, employment history, and criminal record, and to check the information carefully.
When checking references it is advisable to ask for the name and contact information of a previous landlord as well as any current landlord.
If I sign the Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) form, am I committed to renting to the family?
No. The Request for Tenancy Approval form is simply your “intention” to rent to the tenant and sets the terms for the tenancy. Either party may withdraw from the process before a lease or contract is executed. Your lease will be the binding agreement between you and your tenant and should not be signed until you are ready.
How much money will the Fresno Housing pay for my unit?
Fresno Housing Authority will review your proposed rent amount (listed by you on the Request for Tenancy Approval form) to ensure it is “reasonable” by using a “rent reasonableness study” which is based on market rate rents in the area. Fresno Housing Authority will also determine if the rent amount is affordable for the Voucher participant by ensuring that it falls between 30% and 40% of the Voucher participant’s total adjusted income.
If the rent is not affordable, the Housing Authority will work with you to reach an agreeable contract amount that is within the affordability of the Voucher participant. The tenant’s portion of rent is based on the difference between the contract rent amount and the Payment Standards, and must not exceed 40% of the Voucher participant’s total adjusted income.
Who pays the security deposit?
While not required, Fresno Housing Authority strongly encourages property owners to collect a security deposit from the Voucher participant. The security deposit cannot exceed amounts collected from non-HCV tenants and must be in line with California law.
Fresno Housing Authority has no responsibility for damages, unpaid tenant rent, or other claims you might have against your tenant.
How do I get an inspection of my unit and what do you look for during the inspection?
Fresno Housing Authority will contact you to schedule and conduct a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection within 10 working days of receipt of the Request for Tenancy Approval and upon agreement regarding the contract rent amount as supported by a rent reasonableness study and affordability determination for the Voucher participant.
When should I allow the Voucher participant to move into my unit?
Unless the Voucher participant is currently leasing the unit in question, he/she should not move into the unit until after it passes inspection and a lease between owner and participant is executed. Fresno Housing will not pay any rent for a unit that has not passed inspection. If the property owner permits the tenant to move into the unit, the tenant will be responsible for the full amount of the rent and the Housing Authority will not pay the back amount retroactively.
What happens after my unit passes the initial inspections?
Fresno Housing Authority will prepare a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract which is a legally binding document between the property owner and the Housing Authority.
When will I be paid?
No payments will be made until after the unit has passed inspections and both the property owner and the Housing Authority have signed the HAP contract, and the tenant has moved into the unit under contract. The property owner will be paid within 30 days of receipt of the HAP contract.
Can my HAP check be direct deposited to my bank account?
Yes. Fresno Housing Authority encourages direct deposit for quick and efficient payment. The initial payment is usually in check form until the direct deposit enrollment process is completed.
Can my tenant pay the extra rent to make up the amount I want for my unit?
No. Fresno Housing Authority determines the tenant’s portion of the contract rent. Your tenant may jeopardize the housing assistance if he/she pays extra rent.
Who takes care of tenant-caused damages during the tenancy?
As in all tenancies, repairs for tenant-caused damages are the responsibility of the tenant. Failure to make repairs may be grounds to terminate the lease and participation in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The security deposit may also be used for reimbursement costs.
Property owners should bill tenants directly (if the tenant still resides in the unit) or take the amount from the security deposit (if the tenant has moved). If the security deposit is insufficient, Fresno Housing recommends pursuing the tenant in court. If, as a result of court action, there is a “for-cause” judgment, the property owner should provide Fresno Housing with a copy so the tenant can be held responsible.
What would cause my rent to be abated (stopped)?
Fresno Housing Authority is required to inspect units annually. Rent is abated (stopped) when units fail to pass on two consecutive inspections. The unit will be taken out of abatement if it passes the third and final inspection. To help ensure your unit passes the first time, review the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection.
How much time do I have to make repairs if my unit fails inspection?
For routine, non-emergency deficiencies, the property owner is given up to 30 days to make the needed repairs. For emergency items, the property owner or tenant has 24 hours to make the repairs. Rent is abated the first day of the month following the deadline for having repairs completed. No rent can be paid during the period of abatement.
The contract has been cancelled, but the tenant is still living in my unit. Can I get paid?
No. The Voucher participant is responsible for all the rent once the contract is cancelled.
How do I terminate the tenancy of a Housing Choice Voucher tenant?
Your remedies are exactly like any remedies property owners have in the private market. It is the owners’ responsibility to enforce the lease and take whatever remedies are available under the lease and state law. During the first year, you must have cause to terminate the lease. Following the first year, if a new lease is not signed, cause is not necessary. If you decide to end the tenancy without cause at the end of the lease term, as required by law, you must provide a 90-day notice to your subsidized tenants.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs provides excellent information on landlord tenant matters here, or you can consult with an attorney for further guidance on this issue.
You should always provide a copy of any eviction notice to Fresno Housing at the same time you notify the tenant.
What do I need to do to evict my tenant?
Fresno Housing Authority cannot provide legal advice. The California Department of Consumer Affairs provides excellent information on landlord tenant matters here, or you can consult with an attorney for further guidance on this issue.
What happens to the Housing Choice Voucher participant if I have to evict the tenant?
If a property owner goes through the proper eviction procedure (per state law) and successfully evicts the tenant, he/she should provide Fresno Housing with a copy of the eviction. In turn, Fresno Housing Authority will advise the Housing Choice Voucher participant in writing of the intent to terminate the housing assistance due to non-compliance with the lease, and provide him/her with due process in the form of an Informal Hearing.
May I rent my property under the Housing Choice Voucher Program to a relative?
Federal regulations do not allow Fresno Housing 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 unless as a reasonable accommodation for a family member with disabilities.