When you lease with a Housing Choice Voucher Tenant,
you’re helping to end our nation’s housing crisis while
being paid full-market value for your investments
into our community with dependable and prompt
payments each month, even in uncertain times.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does becoming an affordable housing landlord mean that I’ll make less money with my property?
Under the Housing Choice Voucher program, landlords can earn just as much from their properties as they would renting to non-vouchered tenants. The Pontiac Housing Commission will work with you to determine that rent is directly comparable to similar properties in the area. Renting through the Housing Choice Voucher program also ensures stable payments in uncertain times, paying up to 100% of the rent directly to you each month through a housing assistance payment. Landlords who remain compliant with the program’s guidelines have access to timely and pre-funded income in the form of federal housing assistance payments.
What is my risk mitigation if my affordable housing tenant has a loss of income?
Recipients of Housing Choice Vouchers must inform the Housing Commission when their income has changed in order to readjust the portion of the rent that will be paid with their Housing Choice Voucher. If your tenant’s income changes, so does their housing assistance payment, meaning that landlords are protected from sudden losses unlike regular market rate tenants.
You will always be entitled to receive your full rental payment so long as you remain compliant with the program’s guidelines. Landlords also have the right to request a rent increase each year once the current housing assistance payment contract is due to be renewed. Requests must be made in writing to the Housing Commission.
Is it difficult to evict a tenant who is using a housing choice voucher to pay their rent?
Tenants who utilize Housing Choice Vouchers have the same rights, and obligations, as any other individual who you would rent to. Housing Choice Voucher tenants must comply with their rental lease and can be evicted for breaking that lease, the same as other tenants.
Not only do landlords have the right to hold their tenants to their lease agreements, the tenant also signs a Section 8 Family Obligations agreement with the Housing Commission to enter the program. The housing assistance payment agreement is between the landlord and the Housing Commission.
If a tenant’s actions violate the Section 8 Family Obligations agreement, depending on the severity of the infringement, they could lose access to their voucher. This is especially true for criminal activities – However, as an affordable housing agency, our first and foremost mission is to keep people in their homes. The Pontiac Housing Commission is stringent in upholding all rules and regulations of our housing programs while also providing compassionate understanding that we serve the nation’s most vulnerable populations.
We encourage our landlords to communicate with the Housing Commission as quickly as possible when tenant issues arise and to provide thorough documentation so that we may better assist in solving the issue.
What happens if a housing choice voucher tenant damages my property?
Landlords should document damages and provide that information to the Housing Commission as soon as possible, instead of waiting for the tenant’s lease to end or until the point of eviction. If a tenant has caused damage to the property that violates the lease agreement or Section 8 Family Obligations agreement, they will be required to either compensate for the damages or enter into a repayment plan through the Housing Commission before their voucher will be allowed to go to another property, unit or landlord.
Will I be required to turn all of my rental properties into affordable housing properties?
Landlords can choose to take on as many, or as few, Housing Choice Voucher tenants as they see fit for their portfolio. We encourage landlords to utilize their own policies for screening prospective tenants alongside the Housing Commission.
I’ve heard that housing choice voucher tenants cause more issues than regular tenants, is this true?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has researched and collected an immense amount of data on its programs over the past 50 years. Out of all of those studies across the nation, there is no data that suggests Housing Choice Voucher tenants are more likely to damage units or miss rental payments than other tenants. Research instead shows that individuals and families who live in affordable housing properties stay in their units for seven to eight years on average.
Will the local housing commission help me keep an eye on my property?
Landlords who join the Housing Choice Voucher program will have their properties annually checked on by our Housing Quality Standards Inspector. Our goal is to alert you of any changes to the condition of your property that would affect quality of life for your tenants or bring you out of compliance. If you own a multitude of properties or live out of state, the Housing Commission’s inspections can offer peace of mind on the condition of your units before small issues become bigger problems, such as plumbing and electrical damages that could run up utility bills.
How do I request a rent increase?
If you’d like to raise the rent on a unit or property, you must send a letter to your tenant and the Pontiac Housing Commission informing both parties of the changes. The Pontiac Housing Commission may deny rental increases it deems outside of the guidelines for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development voucher programs.
Who does this program actually help?
Housing choice vouchers are used by a wide variety of individuals and families. Contrary to longstanding stigma, affordable housing is for everyone, not just those who qualify as very low-income. Seniors, singles, families with dual income, veterans, those with disabilities – the Housing Choice Voucher Program assists every walk of life in our diverse community, and nation.
Over 50% of vouchers nationwide work to keep seniors and those with disabilities housed safely, while single-parent households make up about 45% of vouchers. The program assists over 2.2 million households each year, and depends on private-market landlords participation for its long term success. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development alongside local housing commission’s see landlords as key partners in expanding the quality and quantity of affordable housing throughout the country.