Your responsibilities as a landlord are the same as with all other tenants
Do you have to pay for utilities?
It is up to the landlord to decide whether or not to include the utilities in the rent. A separate meter will be required if the voucher holder is going to be responsible for the utility
What should I expect for paperwork?
- If there is a Section 8 voucher holder to whom you want to rent, you must fill out a Request for Tenancy Approval form, which the voucher holder will give to you for completion. This form requests basic information, such as the address of the unit, the monthly rental fee and the utilities the tenant will be required to pay.
- After the Request for Tenancy Approval has been submitted to Westbrook Housing, the Inspector will call to schedule an inspection of the unit.
- A copy of a signed one-year lease, provided by the landlord, will be required after the unit passes inspection.
- A statement regarding lead based paint and the Violence Against Women’s Act will be provided for attachment to the lease.
- A Housing Assistance Payment contract that coincides with the lease will be provided and must be signed before HAP can be paid.
- Direct Deposit information must be provided for monthly HAP payments.
- The landlord will be asked for written permission before anyone (other than the birth of a child) can be added to the household.
- The landlord will be notified, in writing, if there is an adjustment to the voucher holder’s portion of the rent. Usually this happens when there is a change in the family’s income.
- The landlord will be notified, by mail, of upcoming inspections and will also be notified, by mail, if the unit fails inspection. The exception is in the event of a unit that fails inspection for a life threatening situation; in that case the landlord will be called immediately.
How do payments work?
The first payment may take up to two weeks after all of the initial paperwork is complete. Westbrook Housing makes every effort to get payments to the landlord by the first of each month. Payments are made to a direct deposit account.
Can I terminate the lease for a voucher holder who is in violation of the lease?
Yes. You would proceed in the same manner as you would for a non-voucher holder who is violating the lease. However, you must provide Westbrook Housing with a copy of notices you send to the voucher holder concerning lease violations or terminations. Westbrook Housing encourages enforcement of the lease by the landlord and discourages lease violations by the voucher holder.
What are the voucher holder’s responsibilities in the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The voucher holder must abide by the lease and the voucher program rules.
What are Westbrook Housing’s responsibilities?
- Westbrook Housing must abide by the HAP contract.
- Westbrook Housing must abide by the rules and regulations of the HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. Including, but not limited to:
- Westbrook Housing is responsible for determining whether or not the client is eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
- Westbrook Housing processes the initial and annual certifications.
- Westbrook Housing does the Housing Quality Standard inspection of the unit before move-in and annually thereafter.
- Westbrook Housing determines the amount of assistance to be provided.
- Check references of prospective tenants.
- Collect the security deposit.
- Collect the tenant’s portion of rent.
- Maintain the rental unit.
- Notify Westbrook Housing immediately if a tenant vacates a unit.
- Follow the terms of the lease and Maine landlord/tenant laws.
- Notify Westbrook Housing of a proposed lease violations and terminations.
Voucher Holder’s responsibilities
- Abide by the Section 8 HCV program regulations.
- Abide by the landlord’s lease.
Landlords must follow fair housing rules to avoid discriminating against tenants:
- Landlords may not refuse to show or rent a unit or impose different terms or conditions on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, familial status, or the receipt of any kind of federal, state or local public assistance (this includes the Section 8 HCV program participants.)
- Landlords must allow persons with disabilities to modify their apartments so they may fully enjoy the premises. Tenants may be required to restore the interior of the premises to their original condition when they vacate the unit.
- Landlords may restrict the number of occupants based upon the size of the unit, but any restriction must be consistent with applicable local, state, and federal restrictions.
- Landlords generally may not refuse to rent to a tenant because he/she requires the aid of an assistive animal unless the building consists of two units, one of which is occupied by the owner.
- Pine Tree Legal has an excellent website for both landlords and tenants to refer to for landlord/tenant laws.