How is Section 8 Program Advantageous to Apartment Owners?
The California Section 8 Program or Housing Choice Voucher Program is designed to help low-income families find homes within their financial means. It is operated by the California Public Housing Authority (PHA) which has more than 100 offices spread throughout the state.
Qualified individuals are given Section 8 housing program vouchers and other forms of rental assistance. The law also states that under SB 329 and SB 222, all landlords in California are required to accept Section 8 and VASH vouchers and other forms of rental assistance and to consider them as part of an applicant’s income.
Discrimination against those under Section 8 is highly prohibited and vouchers are to be considered sources of income. However, the acceptance and decline of tenants is still landlord discretion,
How does doing business with Section 8 Housing benefit the Landlord?
Landlords retain full control of the selection process. Upon availability of data, the Housing Authority will provide the names and addresses of the family’s current and one prior landlord.
No Special Treatment
The Housing Authority maintains a policy of “Zero-Tolerance for Drug-related and Violent Criminal Activity.” In the event of a breach in policy, a family’s section 8 rental assistance may be terminated. Moreover, tenants who violate the Housing Authority’s zero-tolerance rules may be referred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for possible prosecution.
As with any other tenant, Section 8 HCV-assisted families can be evicted by the owner for lease violations. The eviction process is determined by state law, not Section 8 regulations.
The owner has the right to collect a full security deposit, based on the maximum allowed by state and local news. Under California law, this is limited to twice the contract rent for an unfurnished unit and three times the contract rent for a furnished unit. The owner has the same rights to legal action against a tenant who leaves damages beyond the security deposit collected as for any other tenant as allowable by California State law.
Once a HAP contract has been fully executed, the Housing Authority guarantees its payment to the owner, as long as the family remains in residence and the unit meets HQS. This ensures that the rent is affordable to the family.
Owners have the authority to request market rates for new contracts. Rent may be equal, to but not exceed the market rates comparable to apartments of the same size. It is important to note that the program limits the total rent amount for each section 8 participant, which is based on income and family size.
Owners may request for a rent increase each year after the initial term of the lease every reexamination to compensate owners for inflationary costs of operation and maintenance (as long as the rent remains reasonable when compared to other comparable unassisted units of the same size).
And lastly, the owners are responsible for screening their tenants for possible qualifications for Section 8.
What are the responsibilities of families under Section 8?
The families under Section 8 are responsible to find a suitable housing unit since this is not provided by the Housing Authority and are responsible for their own conduct, including guests, to which the owner may enforce provisions of the lease. The said families are also subject to HUD and Housing Authority rules and regulations, as the Housing Authority will take appropriate action to ensure program integrity.
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