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FAQs for Landlords
What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is a rental assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered locally by The Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA). HUD’s HCV Program provides rental assistance to low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities so that they can live in decent, safe and sanitary housing. Program participants may use their Voucher to find their own housing including single family homes, manufactured homes, townhomes and apartments
What are My Benefits as a Landlord?
Landlords who participate in the program are helping low-income Rural Nevada citizens obtain the most basic of needs-housing. In addition, landlords can gain these business benefits:
- Guaranteed receipt of NRHA’s portion of contract rent.
- Lower vacancy rates and reduced tenant turnover.
How do I rent my home or apartment with the Housing Authority?
NRHA has partnered with www.gosection8.com and www.nvhousingsearch.org which provide enhanced programs to list rental properties online for free.
What are My Responsibilities?
Under the HUD HCV Program, landlords must make repairs to the property, if required, and comply with all federal, state and local fair housing laws and permit inspections of the unit as requested by NRHA. Landlords must comply with the terms of the lease and HUD’s Tenancy Addendum, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract, Nevada Landlord laws.
What kind of Housing Qualifies?
Almost any kind of safe, decent and sanitary housing qualifies. Units can include single-family homes, manufactured homes, townhomes and apartments. To be accepted there must be an adequate living area with heating, water and sewer systems.
The home must be free from any conditions that might endanger the health and safety of the participant. To ensure the home meets these criteria NRHA must conduct and the unit must pass a housing quality standard inspection.
Does the Housing Authority screen Housing Choice Voucher Participants?
The Housing Authority does not screen tenants for you. You must do this yourself, just as you would screen non-HCV tenants.
There are many services available to help you screen tenants. These services can check to see if the prospective tenant has a has been evicted or has bad credit. When checking references, always contact the previous landlord as well as the current landlord.
The Housing Authority can tell you the number of people on the voucher, current and previous address, and current and previous landlord. However, the Housing Authority’s main focus is checking that the applicant meets the program requirements.
Must I Accept Everyone with an NRHA issued Voucher as a Potential Renter?
In order to remain an HCV Program participant the family must do the following:
- Comply with the terms of the lease, such as:
- Pay their share of the rent on time and be a good neighbor
- Pay their utilities (if any)
- Not damage the rental property, beyond normal wear-and-tear.
- Notify NRHA and landlord if they wish to move to another unit.
- Permit annual inspections to ensure the rental property is in good condition.
- Immediately report any changes in their household composition and income.
- Avoid illegal activity by any family member or guest.
- The family must not own or have any interest in the unit (exclusions can be made for reasonable accommodations).
Once a Voucher is issued, a participant can decide to use the voucher in their current unit or may choose to move. The landlord should request to see the participant’s Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) Packet to confirm that the voucher is active. Owners and landlords with vacant units may list available units on www.affordablehousing.com.
It is the responsibility of the landlords and the owners to screen for suitability of tenants. Landlord references should be checked and prospective tenants screened using the same criteria as for any other renter. Once the tenant has been selected, the owner or landlord must complete the RFTA packet and return the packet by fax, mail or by dropping off the paperwork to NRHA directly. Once NRHA receives the packet and the rent is determined to work for the tenant under program guidelines and is rent reasonable an HQS inspection will be scheduled. Once the unit passes an inspection tenant may take possession of the unit and the lease can begin then HAP Contracts will be mailed for signatures. Once HAP contracts are signed the initial (HAP) payment will be issued within 60 days of the date contracts are signed.
Who pays the security deposit?
If you require a security deposit, you must collect this from the tenant. NRHA offers a security deposit program and at times may be able to assist your tenant in this aspect. It is important to remember that even if NRHA is able to assist your tenant in paying the deposit, NRHA and the HCV program have no responsibility for damages, unpaid tenant rent, or other claims you might have against a tenant.
Do I sign a lease with the tenant?
You must sign a lease with the tenant for a minimum of one year. The lease should include:
- Names of the landlord and tenant
- Address of the rental unit
- Term of the lease and how it will be renewed
- Monthly rent amount
- Which utilities are paid by the tenant
- Which appliances must be provided by the tenant
- HUD Tenancy Addendum
You may include any other conditions that you normally include in your leases, as long as they do not violate any laws.
What kind of inspection is done?
Your unit will be inspected to make sure that it meets the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) of the HCV program. The inspector will examine the exterior of the building, the plumbing and heating systems, the exits and hallways, and each room in the unit to make sure the unit is reasonably clean, safe and in good condition. The unit must be ready to inspect at the time of the inspection and all utilities must be on and working. The inspector will need access to the unit itself, the basement and all common areas.
For more general information about being a landlord with the HCV program please visit the HUD website.