Roles - Tenant, Landlord, Housing Agency, and HUD
Once the Housing Authority approves an eligible family’s lease and housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the HA sign a housing assistance contract which runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone – tenant, landlord and the Housing Authority – has obligations and responsibilities within the voucher program.
When a family selects a housing unit, and the Housing Authority approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year, the landlord may initiate a new lease for one year. When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the HA of any changes in income or family composition.
The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program’s housing standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the HA.
Housing Authority’s Role
The HA administers the voucher program locally. The HA provides a family with the rental assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and the HA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide rental assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet his/her obligations under the lease, the HA has the right to terminate assistance payments.
To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow Housing Authorities to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays the HA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites Housing Authorities to submit applications for funds for additional rental vouchers. Allocations are then reviewed and funds awarded to the selected Housing Authorities on a competitive basis.