What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a free choice approach to assisted housing. You are free to choose any type dwelling unit as long as it meets certain requirements for rent limits, rent reasonableness and Housing Quality Standards (HQS). The landlord retains private property rights, including management, tenant selection and maintenance. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines the rules and regulations for the Housing Choice Voucher Program
Choosing a Dwelling Unit: In choosing a unit you should consider the following:
- Condition of the unit;
- Cost of utilities and whether the unit is energy efficiency;
- Location of unit in proximity to schools, public transportation, employment, shopping, etc.;
- Whether the rent is reasonable.
In your packet you will find a list of owner/landlords with available units. This list also includes landlords with units designed to meet the needs of tenant with disabilities.
Bedroom Size Requirements: Voucher for given bedroom size are assigned according to the Housing Authority’s (HA) Subsidy Standards.
Exceptions to these standards are considered on a case-by-case basis, upon written request by the participant.
The term of the voucher, or initial amount of time you have to find a unit, is 60 calendar days. MHA may grant you an extension for up to a maximum of 120 days based on hardship. However, is your responsibility to contact your representative and submit a written request.
After you are approved by the owner/landlord, you and the landlord complete the Request for Tenancy Approval (Form HUD -52517) included in your briefing packet. It must be completed in entirety and signed. The Request for Tenancy Approval and the lease (if applicable) must be returned to MHA immediately. We will review the signed Request for Tenancy Approval and determine if the rent is affordable based on your family’s income and if the rent is reasonable when compared to units in the private market (Rent Reasonableness).
How do we figure your rent? Your portion of rent calculated as…
The greater of 30% of monthly adjusted income, or 10% of monthly unadjusted gross income, or a minimum rent of $25.00, whichever is greater, minus any applicable utility allowance plus any amount the Gross Rent exceeds the applicable payment standard.
Your portion of rent plus any applicable utility allowance equals the Total Tenant Payment. You cannot rent a unit if your Total Tenant Payment exceeds 40% of your monthly-adjusted income, if rent is above payment standard. If the unit is not determined affordable or the unit does not meet Rent Reasonableness requirements, you and the landlord will be notified in writing.
Responsibilities of the Maywood Housing Authority
- Verify and review family composition and income to determine eligibility;
- Explain the rules of the program to the family and owner/landlord;
- Issue a Voucher to the family;
- Perform HQS inspections to ensure unit meets minimum standards (initially, annually and interim);
- Sign contract with owner/landlord on behalf of the family when the selected unit meets HQS requirements;
- Make housing assistance payments to the owner/landlord in a timely manner;
- Ensure owner/landlord and family continue to comply with program rules;
- Provide family and owner/landlord with prompt, courteous accurate and professional service.
Responsibilities of the Owner/Landlord
- Comply with fair housing laws and equal opportunity requirement;
- Comply with the terms of the Housing Assistance Payments Contract (Form HUD- 52641);
- Ensure the unit continues to meet HQS requirements;
- Cooperate with the tenant by responding promptly to request for needed repairs;
- Notify MHA of any program violations;
- Enforce the lease, collect the rent due, any security deposit and charges for damages to unit by the family;
- Screen families for suitability as renters;
- Provisions of modification to dwelling unit occupied or to be occupied by a disabled person. (MHA can help with referrals to agencies that make funds available for modifications to units for disabled persons.)
- Notify MHA in writing of any address or telephone number change;
- Notify MHA in writing of changes in ownership (selling property) or agents.
MHA must provide your current and previous landlord name and address to prospective landlord upon request.
The owner/landlord determines whether to require a Security Deposit and the amount of the deposit. If the owner/landlord collects a deposit, the amount collected may not be in excess of private market practice, or in excess of amounts charged to unassisted tenants.
Responsibilities of the Family
- Provide MHA with complete and accurate information;
- Comply with the Family Obligations listed on the Voucher;
- Cooperate in attending all appointments scheduled by MHA;
- Locate a unit that is suitable for the family, meets HQS requirements, and meets rent reasonableness requirements (as determined by MHA when compared to similar unassisted units in immediate vicinity);
- Keep the unit safe and sanitary;
- Comply with the terms of the lease with the owner/landlord;
- Notify MHA of any changes in income or family composition within 10 days of change;
- Cooperate with the owner/landlord by informing him/her in writing of any necessary repairs;
- Notify MHA of any known program violation;
Grounds for Termination: MHA may, at any time, deny/terminate program assistance for the following reasons:
Violation of family obligations under the program;
If any member has been evicted from Public Housing;
If any member of the family has been terminated from any federal housing program;
If any member of the family commits drug-related criminal activity, or violent criminal activity;
If any member of the family commits fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program;
If the family owes an amount to MHA or another federal housing program;
If the family has not reimbursed MHA for amount paid to an owner under the HAP contract;
If the family breaches an agreement to repay amounts owed to MHA;
If a family participating in the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program fails to comply, without good cause, with the FSS Contract;
If the family has engaged in or threatened abusive or violent behavior toward housing agency personnel.
Your Right to Appeal:
If MHA denies or terminates your assistance for any of the above reasons, you have the right to request an informal hearing. The family will be notified in writing of the denial or termination with reason(s), and must call the designated MHA Representative within ten (10) calendar days to request an informal hearing.
Is the ability of the family to move from the current housing agency’s jurisdiction to another hosing agency’s jurisdiction. Voucher families who are eligible may move anywhere in the United States where a housing agency is administering the Housing Choice Voucher Program. In order to “port” to another housing agency you must have been a resident of Maywood at least one (1) year. If you decide you would like to move to another jurisdiction outside the Maywood city limits, you should contact your MHA Representative and they will provide the necessary information and procedures. The following is the responsibility of the family requesting a portable move:
- Sign and date a statement requesting to relocate outside MHA’s jurisdiction stating the receiving housing agency’s name and address;
- Issue the current landlord a proper notice to vacate the unit (applies to current participants only);
- Submit a Request for Tenancy Approval with the receiving housing agency by established deadline. The receiving housing agency’s payment and occupancy standards will apply when the family chooses to relocate which may change the bedroom size of the voucher.
The following are housing agencies bordering Maywood:
Bellwood, Westchester, Broadview.