Becoming A Landlord
GETTING STARTED WITH THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM
We want to make it simple and easy for landlords to participate in to Columbia Housing's Housing Choice Voucher Program (also known as Section 8).
Columbia Housing is not able to directly recommend voucher-holders to your vacancies, but you can list available units with us: see our Free Vacancy Listings page.
If a tenant approaches you about accepting a Housing Choice Voucher, there are four steps to follow.
Step 1: Screen the tenant to ensure you are making a good selection.
Step 2: Tenants with our Housing Choice Vouchers will have a form to fill out called Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA). You should complete the landlord section of the form, along with the Disclosure of Lead-based Paint form. When the tenant submits both completed signed forms to our office, we will contact you to schedule an inspection. You may submit the forms on behalf of the tenant, if you wish.
Step 3: We will inspect the unit to ensure that it meets HUD's Housing Quality Standards. Columbia Housing requests that the landlord be present at the initial inspection. The utilities must be on and the unit must be ready for occupancy. The inspector will discuss any repairs that may be necessary with you.
Step 4: After your unit passes inspection, and the amount of rent you are charging has been approved, you and the tenant enter into an initial lease. When all of the final, signed documents have been received, we release payment to the landlord within at the first of the month and there afterwards.
About Your Lease Agreement
Landlords use their own lease agreement and the same screening criteria that apply to any other applicants and tenants. The lease should not be signed and dated until after Columbia Housing's approval.
The landlord must agree to accept subsidy for their tenant, by entering into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract with Columbia Housing.
- Housing Assistance Payment Contract
- Tenancy Addendum
- Request for Tenancy Approval - New Admission
- Request for Tenancy Approval - VASH
- Request for Tenancy Approval - Mandatory Move
- Request for Tenancy Approval - Program Move
Columbia Housing is required by HUD to confirm that housing assistance payments are issued to the legal owner or a legal representative of the owner. To comply with these requirements the Housing Authority will request the following information prior to approval of a HAP contract on a unit:
- State or federally issued photo ID
- Proof of ownership in the form of a deed or title to the property to be assisted
- Copy of a management agreement if the property is managed by a third party management company or agent. (Proof of ownership is not required if a management agreement is provided)
- Completed W-9 Form
- Copy of the most recent mortgage statement indicating that the mortgage is current or a statement that the property does not have a mortgage
- Copy of the most recent paid property tax bill indicating that taxes are current
- Executed direct deposit authorization form
- Social SecurityCard or EIN number for the IRS
The specific documents listed above are required for each property receiving Housing Assistance Payments.
The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. The rent requested must be reasonable and the landlord must not charge the tenant any amount other than what the Columbia Housing has determined to be the tenants' portion of rent.
Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program regulations at 24 CFR Part 982 set forth basic housing quality standards (HQS) which all units must meet before assistance can be paid on behalf of a family and at least annually throughout the term of the assisted tenancy. HQS define "standard housing" and establish the minimum criteria for the health and safety of program participants. Current HQS regulations consist of 13 key aspects of housing quality, performance requirements, and acceptability criteria to meet each performance requirement. HQS includes requirements for all housing types, including single and multi-family dwelling units, as well as specific requirements for special housing types such as manufactured homes, congregate housing, single room occupancy, shared housing, and group residences.
Once Columbia Housing approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and Columbia Housing sign a HAP contract that runs the same term of the lease. Payments will be generated direct deposit, following execution of the HAP contract. 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 Columbia Housing.
The Housing Authority has transitioned to direct deposit for Housing Assistance Payments.
- Direct deposit is cost-effective for Columbia Housing;
- Direct deposit is quick, safe, and reliable for Landlords;
- Landlords have immediate access to payment details on-line via the owner/agent self-serve portal;
- No more trips to the bank and waiting in line.
- All landlords must complete a direct deposit authorization form and participate in the direct deposit. The Housing Authority will no longer issue physical checks for Housing Assistance Payments.