General Information for Landlords
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is designed to assist very low-income families in affording decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants can find their own housing, including single family and manufactured homes, apartments, and townhouses. The participants can choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program.
How to List a Vacant Property at Section 8
A landlord can add their unit to the Section 8 Rent Listings by calling (315) 470-4400. Please be prepared to provide the following information:
- Bedroom Size
- Address of Unit
- Monthly Rent
- Square Footage
- Age of Building
- Utilities Paid for By Tenant
- Amenities Provided by Owner
- Contact Information
Once the property is rented, please contact the SHA Section 8 office so that the unit can be removed from the list.
Before a tenant can move into the property, SHA is required to inspect the unit. The inspector is looking for minimum Housing Quality Standards (called HQS) to ensure that the unit is decent, safe, sanitary and in a livable condition. If the unit does not meet HQS, the landlord will be asked to make repairs to the unit prior to the client moving in. SHA will not sign the Housing Assistance Payment Contract or pay rent towards a unit until it passes inspection.
Please see the attached HQS checklist used by the inspectors:
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has implemented new laws regarding deteriorated paint (potentially containing lead) in units built before 1978. HQS inspections conducted by the SHA are required to follow these laws.
If deteriorated paint is found during an inspection, the inspector will note the violation and indicate on the inspection report whether the amount of deteriorated paint is above or below the HUD established de minimis level and that the paint must be addressed in accordance with lead safe work practices.
If the amount of deteriorated paint is below the de minimis level then the unit is re-inspected after the violations have been corrected (the deteriorated paint has been addressed).
If the amount of deteriorated paint exceeds the de minimis level, the unit is referred to the Onondaga County Health Lead Dept for inspection and clearance. The unit will not be passed until clearance is received from the County.
HUD established de minimis levels:
- 20 square feet on exterior surfaces;
- 2 square feet in any one interior room or space; or
- 10 percent of the total surface area on an interior or exterior type of component with a small surface area (such as windowsills, baseboards, and trim).
How Much Rent Can be Charged?
The landlord provides the desired rent for the unit. However, the rent must be reasonable compared to other units of similar location, quality, size, type, and age. If the rent is not reasonable to similar units, the landlord may be asked to lower the rent to accommodate the tenant interested in moving into the property. In addition, rent increases must also be reasonable in relation to comparable unassisted units in the area.
If the landlord chooses to increase the rent, they can do so one year after occupancy. The landlord must provide a copy of the rent increase notification to the SHA Section 8 Office at least 60 days prior to the desired effective date.
The tenant will pay the difference between the actual rent charged and the HAP amount. Both the tenant and SHA will pay their portions of the rent at the beginning of every month. A delay in SHA’s portion of the payment may be expected when the tenant first moves into the unit. However, a prorated rent can be paid on a mid-month move. Please contact the SHA Section 8 office for more details on when exactly payment will be sent.
The landlord has the right to select the tenant for their unit, using whatever criteria they would normally use. However, the landlord cannot discriminate against an individual because of creed, color, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, age, sex, marital status, or familial status. Also, a landlord cannot discriminate against an individual based on their source of income.
Tenant Related Issues
If a landlord has repeated problems with their tenant, they have the right to enforce the lease and take the necessary actions against the tenant. If the landlord does start proceedings against a tenant, they must notify the SHA Section 8 office. If the landlord sends any correspondence, such as a warning letter or a notice to vacate, please provide a copy of this correspondence to the SHA Section 8 office. In some cases, SHA may take action against the tenant to terminate the assistance prior to the eviction.
Damages beyond the normal wear and tear and are tenant-related can be paid for by the tenant. The landlord should have a standard practice listed in the lease as to how damages will be paid for by the tenant. After the tenant moves out, the landlord may take compensation for damages beyond the normal wear and tear from the tenant’s security deposit.