MISSISSIPPI REGIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY IV
WELCOME TO OUR WEBSITE
Section 8 FAQ
1 WHAT IS THE SECTION 8 HOUSING VOUCHER PROGRAM?
The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program is a rental assistance program which assists eligible persons by paying a portion of their rent to a private owner. The Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

2. WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR ASSISTANCE?

An applicant must be at least 21 years of age. The applicant must have gross annual income below the limits set by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They must constitute a family.

3. WHAT TYPES OF UNITS QUALIFY?

A family may choose an apartment, a duplex, a single family house, or a mobile home. The unit must be the correct size for the family. It may not be owner occupied. In addition, new rules from HUD prohibits Section 8 tenants from renting units owned by close relatives. This restriction applies to close relatives of any family member, not just the head of household. If a family member has a disability, the Housing Authority may approve renting from a close relative as a reasonable accommodation The unit must be in good condition and pass an inspection. The inspection determines compliance with HUD's Housing Quality Standards.

4. HOW DOES AN OWNER DETERMINE THAT A FAMILY IS ELIGIBLE FOR SECTION 8?

A family must be issued a Voucher before they search for a unit. The Voucher states that the family is eligible and shows the period of time they have to search for a unit, usually 60 days. If they cannot find an acceptable unit before the Voucher expires, they lose it. The Voucher is given to the next person on the waiting list.

An owner should always contact the Housing Authority before making a commitment to a family. The unit must pass an inspection and a lease and contract may be signed before the family moves into the unit.

5. IS THERE MUCH PAPERWORK FOR AN OWNER?

The owner must sign a lease with the tenant. The owner also signs a contract with the Housing Authority. The contract authorizes the payments to the owner. The Housing Authority prepares the contract.

6. WHO CHOOSES THE TENANTS?

The Housing Authority is responsible for determining if an applicant is eligible for subsidy. The PHA does not screen applicants as potential tenants. Suitability screening for desirable tenants is the responsibility of the owner. An owner does not have to accept a tenant simply because they hold a Voucher.

7. WHO PAYS THE UTILITIES?

This arrangement is negotiated between the landlord and tenant and stipulated in the lease. Regardless of who pays which utilities, every unit must have electricity; an adequate, acceptable, permanent heat source; running water, hot water, stove and a refrigerator.

8. HOW OFTEN ARE INSPECTIONS DONE?

An Inspection must be done, and the unit must pass before the tenant moves into the unit. If the tenant currently occupies the unit, it must pass the inspection before the tenant is admitted to the program.

Subsequently, an inspection is done every twelve months as long as the unit remains on the program. Special inspections may be done if the owner or tenant requests it or as part of an audit.

It is the owner's responsibility to make all repairs and to maintain the unit so it always passes Housing Quality Standards. Rental payments may be abated for any period a unit does not pass Housing Quality Standard. If a tenant damages a unit or takes action which causes the unit not to pass Housing Quality Standards, it is the owner's responsibility to make needed repairs or corrections. The owner may bill the tenant or evict the tenant for tenant damages.

9. DOES THE TENANT PAY ANY OF THE RENT?

The amount the family pays may change during the year if the family's income or composition changes. An owner is notified in writing of any changes in the amount the tenant pays. It is the owner's responsibility to collect the tenant's portion of the rent. An owner may evict a tenant who does not pay his/her portion of the rent.

10. HOW LONG IS A FAMILY ELIGIBLE FOR ASSISTANCE ?

A family is certified as eligible for a twelve month period. Their eligibility must be recertified every twelve months. This is called their anniversary date. If a family's eligibility has not been recertified before the anniversary date, the payments automatically stop at the end of the twelfth month. Payments are resumed as soon as eligibility is recertified.

A family may continue receiving assistance as long as they continue to be eligible, and the unit passes Housing Quality Standards. If a family vacates a unit, the payment for that unit stops. The owner should always notify the Housing Authority if the family moves.

If a family's assistance is terminated because of their failure to cooperate, fraud or their income is too high, the landlord is notified that assistance will stop. If the landlord agrees, the tenant may remain in the unit and pay all of the rent themselves.

11. MAY AN OWNER EVICT A SECTION 8 TENANT?

An owner may evict a tenant under the terms of the lease. The owner must follow state and local law.

12. ARE RENTAL INCREASES ALLOWED?

An owner desiring a rental increase may request one every twelve months at the time of the contract anniversary date. Additionally, the rental increase may be given only if the new rent will be comparable to other, non assisted units in the neighborhood.

If an owner desires a rental increase, he must make the request in writing to the Housing Authority at least 60 days prior to the contract anniversary date. The owner's request should include how much of an increase he desires and the reason(s)) the increase is requested. Reasons for rental increases may include increased taxes, increased utility bills, or property improvements. Verification should be provided. The PHA may refuse an increase if an owner has failed to maintain the property; if there appears to be no justification for an increase; or if comparable non-assisted units rent for less. The PHA will notify the owner of the amount of the increase.

If the unit is occupied by a Voucher holder, the owner determines the amount of the increase. The owner must notify the tenant and the Housing Authority of the increase at least 60 days prior to the contract anniversary date. The tenant decides whether or not to accept the increased rent. The subsidy may not change, so the tenant may have to pay the increase. If the tenant cannot pay the additional rent, the tenant may choose to relocate. The PHA may advise the tenant on the appropriateness of the increase.

13. CAN THE TENANT'S PART OF THE RENT CHANGE?

The amount the tenant pays varies according to the family's income and number of family members. For voucher holders, it also depends on the amount of rent. If at any time the family or HA's portion change, the owner will receive a written notice.

14. CAN AN OWNER COLLECT THE RENTAL SUBSIDY ONCE A TENANT MOVES?

NO. When a tenant vacates a unit or dies, the contract and lease become void. Any checks received after the tenant vacates should be returned to PHA

15. WHEN/HOW DOES AN OWNER GET HIS RENTAL MONEY EACH MONTH?

The owner is responsible for collecting the tenant's portion of the rent. This should be collected the first of each month. An owner may designate late charges. However, these late charges must be stated as an addendum to the lease. The PHA's portion of the rent will be mailed directly to the landlord by the 3rd working day of the month.

16. HOW MUCH SECURITY DEPOSIT IS ALLOWED?

The HA does not pay security deposits. This is the family's responsibility. An owner may request up to one month's rent for security deposit. It is strongly advised that the owner collects the deposit , since the HA no longer pays for damages caused by the tenant.

17. HOW DOES AN OWNER BECOME A SECTION 8 LANDLORD?

Contact the MRHA IV Section 8 Division representative for additional information.

18. MAY AN OWNER SELL PROPERTY OCCUPIED BY A SECTION 8 TENANT?

The sale should be coordinated with the MRHA IV Section 8 representative. The buyer must be willing to honor the Section 8 lease and contract. The seller should advise the buyer of the Section 8 obligation and turn over any security deposits held for the tenant.

19. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF BEING A SECTION 8 LANDLORD?

A portion of the rent is guaranteed;

Possibly qualify for federal income tax credit.