Leasing Information Voucher Holder

If you receive voucher assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), the initial term of your lease will generally be 12 months. If you want to start using a voucher for a unit in which you have already been living, a new lease will be required.

Landlords use the same lease for voucher-assisted tenants that they use for other renters, as long as the lease includes:

  • The names of the landlord and tenant
  • The address of the unit, including apartment number
  • The monthly rent paid to the landlord
  • A list of utilities and appliances supplied by the landlord
  • A list of utilities and appliances supplied by the tenant
  • How to lease a unit
  • After you are given a voucher and educated about how to use it, you can begin the seven-step leasing process.

1. Find a suitable unit
It is your responsibility to find a suitable unit and explain to the landlord that you have rental assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program (also known as Section 8). To help you find housing, MRHA IVmaintains lists of units for rent in our coverage areas. You can find these rental listings on this website or pick them up at the central offices.

Please note that vouchers can expire. You must begin the leasing process with a landlord within 60 days of receiving your voucher, unless given an extension. MRHA IV will only grant extensions upon written request from you, submitted before the voucher expiration date.

2. Give the required documents to the landlord
When you are issued a voucher you will receive documents that should be given to your landlord: a Request for Tenancy Approval form, a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure form, , and a sample copy of the Housing Assistance Payments Contract. Give these forms to the landlord after they have screened and agreed to rent to you.

3. The landlord completes the required documents and sends them to Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV
The landlord should complete, sign, and date the three forms as soon as possible. You will also sign and date the Request for Tenancy Approval and Lead-Based Paint Disclosure forms.

The landlord must mail the completed forms to the:

Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV
P.O. Box 1051
Columbus, MS 39703

4. MRHA IV reviews the documents and approves the proposed rent
Once the agency receives all required documents from the landlord, they will be checked to make sure the information provided is complete and accurate. The proposed rent for the unit must also pass two tests.

The rent is affordable—During the first lease term, your portion of rent and utilities cannot exceed 40 percent of the your monthly income. Side agreements requiring you to pay more than 40 percent of income are prohibited.

The rent is reasonable—The rent must be comparable to similar units in the same area. MRHA IV decides if rent is "reasonable" based on an inspection of the unit and market data about rent levels in our housing areas.
If the proposed rent does not pass both of these tests, the landlord will be asked to negotiate a lower rent. Landlords are never required to lower rent, but if they do not agree to a rent that meets both requirements noted above, you will have to find another unit.

5. MRHA IV inspects the unit
If the proposed rent is affordable and reasonable, MRHA IV contacts the landlord to schedule a Housing Quality Standards inspection of the unit. These inspections make sure that housing is decent, safe, and sanitary. The inspector may find items that must be fixed before the unit is approved for the program. In that case, the landlord will be given a reasonable amount of time to fix the problems, and the unit will be inspected again.

You should not move in before the unit passes inspection. If you do, you will be responsible for paying the entire rent amount due for that period.

6. The unit passes inspection and the contract and Tenancy Addendum are mailed to the landlord
You may move into the unit when it passes inspection.

MRHA IV will then send the Housing Assistance Payment contract and Tenancy Addendum to the landlord. The contract is an agreement between the landlord and Seattle Housing Authority, describing how the agency will make subsidy payments to the landlord on your behalf. The Tenancy Addendum is required by HUD and should be attached to the landlord's standard lease.

7. You and the landlord sign the lease and Tenancy Addendum, the landlord signs the contract, and all forms are returned to MRHA IV
After the landlord receives the Housing Assistance Payment contract and Tenancy Addendum, they sign the lease and the Addendum with you, sign the contract, and return a copy of all three signed documents to MRHA IV.

The landlord should keep a copy of the signed contract, and both you and the landlord should keep a copy of the signed lease and Addendum. MRHA IV accepts these forms by mail, or in person at the MRHA IV Central Offices:

Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV
2845 South Frontage Road
P.O. Box 1051
Columbus, MS 39703

Leasing help
For any questions about the leasing process, including rent negotiation, call the Section 8 Department at 662-327-0136.