How does the Housing Choice Voucher Program work?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) is a federal assistance program to help low-income people afford safe, sanitary and decent housing. Families and individuals with vouchers find their own housing and pay a percentage of their income for rent to the landlord. A housing subsidy pays the landlord the rest of the rent. The assistance comes from HUD and is paid out through the housing authority.

These are the steps involved in renting to a  Housing Choice Voucher tenant:

A family with a current HCV voucher views your apartment and wants to rent it.
You screen the tenant(s) to make sure they are suitable.
You agree to lease to the tenants and contact DHA’s HCV office for approval.
DHA checks to make sure the family can afford the rent, the rent is reasonable compared to other rents in the community, and the lease is acceptable.
DHA sends an inspector to check your apartment to make sure it meets program standards.
After the apartment passes inspection, DHA sends you a contract to sign.
You sign the contract with DHA and sign the lease with your tenants, and the family moves in. The family pays its portion of the rent and DHA pays the rest.

How do I list my apartment with DHA?

If you would like to rent to HCV tenants, you should contact DHA to let us know you have an apartment available. We will add your apartment to their listings. This is a free service.

You may also advertise on your own. If you place an ad, include a notice stating that you welcome Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher tenants.

Does the Housing Authority screen Housing Choice Voucher tenants?

The Housing Authority does screen tenants.

The DHA will check to see if the prospective tenant has a criminal record or has been evicted. When checking references, the DHA will contact the previous landlords as well as the current landlord, because the current landlord may want the tenants to move out.

DHA will tell you the number of people on the voucher, current and previous address, and current and previous landlord. DHA’s concern is also checking that the applicant meets the income limits and other HCV eligibility requirements.

Who pays the security deposit?

If you want a security deposit, you must collect this from the tenant. The  Housing Choice Voucher program has no responsibility for damages, unpaid tenant rent, or other claims you might have against the tenant. The maximum security deposit you may collect is one month's rent. You may not collect the last month's rent.

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
Tenancy Addendum exactly as it appears on the HUD web site

How much rent can I charge?

The rent you charge must be reasonable compared to other units of similar size in your community. DHA will compare your rent to our payment standards, which are based in part on the fair market rents in Dover. The fair market rents are the average gross rents (rent plus utilities) being paid in your community for modest apartments of varying sizes.

If the gross rent (rent plus utilities) for your apartment is less than or equal to the payment standard, the tenants pay 30% of their monthly income for rent and DHA pays the rest. If the rent is higher, the tenants must make up the difference. However, they are not allowed to pay more than 40% of their income for rent when they first rent an apartment.

If you want to increase the rent when you renew the lease, you must get approval from DHA. The rent must remain reasonable and within the family's ability to pay, or it will not be approved.

How do I get paid?

DHA will send you a check for our portion of the rent each month. We will continue to do so as long as the tenant remains eligible for the program and your apartment meets the Housing Choice Voucher program standards. You are responsible for collecting the tenant portion of the rent each month.

May I evict a  Housing Choice Voucher tenant?

You may evict a  HCV tenant in the same way you would evict a non - HCV tenant. The same laws apply.


Fair Housing FAQ

What is Fair Housing?

In the sale and rental of housing, it is illegal for anyone to take any of the following actions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status or familial status:

Refuse to rent or sell housing
Refuse to negotiate for housing
Make housing unavailable
Deny a dwelling
Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
Provide different housing services or facilities
Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental
For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent
Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service related to the sale or rental of housing.
Threaten, coerce, intimate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right
Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on protected categories (above). This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the  Fair Housing Act.

If I have a disability, what protections are available against discrimination? 

There are additional protections available if you or someone associated with you has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or has a record of such a disability or is regarded as having such a disability. In these instances, your landlord may not refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. Your landlord may also not refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. Where reasonable, however, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.

Who should I contact if my Fair Housing rights have been violated?

If you believe that your rights have been violated, you may write to or telephone the local HUD office or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development via E-mail at www.HUD.gov