Have questions about the Housing Choice Voucher program? Take a look at some of our frequently asked questions.
Under the Section 8 Program, the GHA makes monthly payments directly to the landlord on behalf of the family. The family pays to the landlord their portion of the contract rent.
Once the family has identified an acceptable unit, the family and landlord complete the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) form & package. Once that document is received in our office, a Housing Inspector will contact the landlord to schedule an inspection of the unit. The lease may begin once the inspection is completed with a “passed” status.
If the unit is approved as decent, safe and sanitary, and the rent amount is within the fair market rent guidelines, a lease agreement will be executed between the Landlord and the family. Upon receiving the executed lease agreement, the Housing Coordinator will send a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract to the landlord. The HAP contract will be executed between the landlord and the GHA.
- The waiting list is currently closed until further notice. When the waiting list opens you can submit an online application only.
- What do I do after I have the Section 8 Voucher? The Voucher is good for 60 days, unless an approved extension has been granted.
- Once you find a unit you would like to rent and the owner is willing to rent the unit, have the owner complete a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) package. Both you and the owner must sign the RFTA. Make sure the owner intends to rent to you before asking the owner to complete the RFTA.
- After the owner completes the RFTA, turn it in to the GHA. Remember that you can only turn in one RFTA at a time.
- The RFTA will be sent to the Section 8 Office to be processed by your Housing Coordinator. The unit you have chosen will then be inspected by an Inspector.
- The inspector will contact the owner to schedule an inspection of the unit. The inspection is to insure that the unit meets Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and that the contract rent is reasonable.
- After the unit passes inspection, you and the landlord will execute a lease of the unit. Once the Housing Coordinator has received a copy of the executed lease, the GHA will enter into the Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP) with your landlord.
- Once the HAP Contract is complete, the GHA will process the contract for payment.
- You are responsible for paying the entire deposit requested by the owner. The GHA does not get involved in security deposit issues.
- The family will pay the portion of the rent directly to the owner/landlord. Likewise, the GHA sends their portion directly to the landlord.
- Supply all information and documentation as requested by GHA.
- Allow the GHA to inspect the dwelling unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice.
- Notify the GHA and the Landlord in writing with a scheduled moving appointment with your assigned Coordinator before vacating the unit.
- Use the unit for residence of the family, i.e., those family members authorized by GHA to occupy the rental unit.
- Pay the tenant’s portion of rent on a timely basis.
- Report any changes in family income and/or family composition in 10 business days.
- Comply with all terms and conditions of the lease.
- The family must not participate in drug or criminal activity.
- Maintain the utilities of the unit in an approved adult family member’s name.
The Fair Market Rents for Alachua County are the following:
According to GHA standards, the maximum occupancy per bedroom is two heartbeats per bedroom.
(And what about last month’s rent?)
Yes, the tenant is responsible for the entire deposit. The last month’s rent is required to be paid, before the client leaves the unit.
Under the Section 8 Program, the tenant pays a portion of the rent based on 30% of their income and the GHA pays the remaining portion of the rent directly to the owner. If the tenant has a rental payment, he/she must pay rent through the end of the lease, as long as they are still occupying the unit.
No, the screening and selection of tenants is the sole responsibility of the landlord. Any Voucher client has met the criteria for participating in the Section 8 Program.
The landlord and the tenant enter into a lease agreement. The GHA is not a party to the lease agreement. The owner can use their own lease which would be required to have the HUD Lease Addendum attached to it. The GHA signs a Housing Assistance Payments Contract with the owner to ensure owner compliance with the Program regulations.
Yes, however, there are certain requirements, especially if it is the initial term of the lease.
Rent requested by the landlord is negotiable. However, HUD guidelines establish the maximum rent the GHA can pay for a specific unit based on the Voucher Payment Standard. All rents are subject to a rent-reasonableness test.
No. The payment of utilities is an item that is mutually agreed upon between the tenant and the landlord. Tenants who pay their own utilities are credited with a utility allowance. If a landlord opts to pay for all of the utilities, they are responsible for the entire year, regardless of how much the utility bill is.
Yes, the units must be inspected. The purpose of the inspection is to insure the unit is decent, safe and sanitary and meets the needs of the family.
Yes. After the initial term of the lease (one year) and provided you do not owe the landlord for any damages to the unit.
Yes. The Voucher is portable to any city in the United States that has a Housing Agency willing and able to administer the Section 8 subsidy.
Section 8 tenants who do not pay their rent are handled in the same manner as the tenant in the open market- with notices, and eviction processes by the Landlord. The Landlord notifies the GHA if the tenant is being evicted.
Under normal circumstances, you may not lease to relatives, which is stated on the RFTA. You may only lease to relatives when the tenancy has been approved as a reasonable accommodation. This approval must come from GHA; no exceptions.