FREQUENTLY ASKED LANDLORD QUESTIONS
1. What are some of the benefits for Housing Choice Voucher participation?
- Housing Assistance Payments are mailed directly to the owner or agent o the last working day of the month.
- Risks of rent default are reduced because the tenant's portion of the rent is based on income.
- ADOH maintains a list that is provided to participants searching for a rental unit. Listing the unit with us increases the pool of potential tenants and may, therefore, assist in the reduction of vacancy loss.
- The owner/landlord is responsible for screening tenants for a vacant unit. This allows the owner/landlord full discretion in tenant selection.
- An owner may choose to accept or reject a Housing Choice Voucher tenant for any vacancy that may be available. It does not matter whether or not the building already contains a Housing Choice Voucher tenant.
- Annual Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections assist the owner with identifying areas requiring repair and help to maintain the overall quality of the unit.
- ADOH enforces the family obligations portion of the Housing Choice Voucher program. It is a violation of the family's responsibilities if they fail to make timely payments or damage the apartment beyond normal wear and tear.
2. How are ADOH and tenant portions of rent determined?
Vouchers are issued based on family size and limited to the applicable payment standard. Each year, ADOH establishes "Payment Standards." The Payment Standard is based on ADOH research and fair market rent data issued by HUD. If a voucher holder finds a unit where rent and utility costs are at or below the payment standard, the tenant pays a monthly rent equal to 30% of adjusted gross income and ADOH pays the remainder of the rent.
If a voucher holder rents a unit where the rent is above the payment standard, the tenant portion of rent is equal to 30% of adjusted gross income plus the difference between the payment standard and the contract rent. However, at the initial rental, the family contribution for rent can not exceed 40% of adjusted monthly income.
3. Who makes the rental payment and when may an owner expect to receive the payment?
Each month, ADOH makes a housing assistance payment directly to the landlord. The first check may take 4 to 6 weeks to process depending upon the date the unit passes inspection and the date ADOH receives all necessary paperwork. Otherwise, all regular checks are mailed out on the last working day of each month. Tenants are responsible for paying their portion of the rent directly to landlord according to the terms of the lease.
4. How much may be charged for rent?
The owner establishes the contract rent subject to approval by ADOH, according to a HUD standard of "rent reasonableness." ADOH may not approve a unit that exceeds rents for similar unsubsidized units in the area.
5. Are rent increases allowed?
Yes. The owner must notify the PHA of any changes in the amount of the rent to owner at least sixty days before any such changes go into effect. The amount of the rent to owner following any such agreed change may not exceed the reasonable rent for the unit as most recently determined or redetermined by the PHA in accordance with HUD requirements.
6. May landlords collect a security deposit?
Yes, ADOH encourages landlords to collect a security deposit. The security deposit shall not exceed that charged to other, unassisted renters or one and one-half months rent in advance and following state law. Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
7. Who selects and screens the tenants?
The selection and screening of suitable tenants is the responsibility of the owner. Housing Choice Voucher Program staff screens the family for eligibility according to program criteria (income, citizenship, housing need, etc.), including a criminal background check which is conducted for every adult family member.
8. May landlords evict a Housing Choice Voucher tenant?
An owner has the right to take legal action against a Housing Choice Voucher tenant under the terms of the signed lease agreement between the tenant and owner and in accordance with state and local law. Additionally, in accordance with a federal consent decree, landlords must follow additional procedures. Copies of eviction notices and lease violation notices must be submitted to the APHA.
9. Who is responsible for unpaid tenant rent and damages?
If a tenant does not pay his/her portion of the rent or causes damage to the unit, the owner may only evict the tenant by court action. The security deposit may be applied toward unpaid rent and damages.