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HCV/Section 8 FAQs

What is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program? 
The Housing Choice Voucher Program was formerly known as the Section 8 Program. The Housing Choice Voucher program is designed to help eligible families obtain affordable housing and to provide increased housing choices.

Are you accepting applications for the HCV Program?
Currently Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (SHRA) is NOT accepting applications.

How long will I have to wait for a Housing Choice Voucher?
The wait will depend on your rank on the waiting list and the amount of funds available to provide rental assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

How long may a participant remain on the program?
A participant remains eligible for the program as long as the PHA has a housing assistance payment (HAP) to pay to the owner and the participant does not violate any program regulations.

How long does a participant have to look for a unit?
The initial term of the voucher is 60 days. Depending on certain circumstances you may apply for an extension for an additional 30 days or longer.

What determines the number of bedrooms I qualify for?
For each family, the PHA determines the appropriate number of bedrooms under the PHA subsidy standards.

Where may I use my voucher?
You may search for suitable housing anywhere in the City of Suffolk; of if eligible you may use the portability option. You may also continue to live at your present unit. Wherever you decide to live must first be approved by SRHA by the unit being the appropriate size for your family, the rent must be reasonable and the unit must pass a housing quality standard inspection.

What is portability?
A participant family that has been issued a voucher has the right to use tenant-based voucher assistance to lease a unit anywhere in the United States providing that the unit is located within the jurisdiction of another PHA.

What is my annual recertification?
The PHA is required to reexamine each family’s income and composition at least annually, and to adjust the family’s level of assistance accordingly.

What if my income changes?
You must report all changes in your income and household composition in writing to your Section 8 Specialist.

May I move other people into my assisted unit?
You may add others to your family/household composition; however, they must be approved by SRHA before they may move into your assisted unit.

Who is responsible for paying my utility bills?
You must refer to the HAP lease to determine the responsible party. Utilities must be current at all times whether the family or the owner is responsible for paying the bill; even when a utility service is not being used because of climate conditions, that utility service must be connected and the bill current.

How do I qualify for the HCV Section 8 Program?
The applicant family must qualify as a family as defined by HUD and PHA, have income at or below HUD-specified income limits, qualify on the basis of citizenship or the eligible immigrant status of family members, provide social security number information for family members as required, consent to the PHA’s collection and use of family information as provided for in PHA-provided consent forms, past behavior of household members must not include activities that are prohibited by HUD or the PHA.

Section 8 Landlord FAQ’s

I am a property owner and would like to rent to HCV program participants. How do I list my property?
The Section 8 Property Listing Form is available on here or you can pick up a copy of the form located in the main lobby of our offices.

How do I select a person to rent my property?
Verify that the individual has a voucher by requesting a copy of the voucher. Screen families who apply. Consider family background factors such as rent and bill-paying history, history of caring for property, respecting the rights of others to peaceful enjoyment of the property, compliance with essential conditions of tenancy, whether the family is engaging in drug-related criminal activity or other criminal activity that might threaten others. 

Once my property is rented what are my responsibilities as a landlord?
As a landlord, you have the following responsibilities:

  • Screen families who apply for tenancy, to determine if they will be good renters.
  • Comply with the terms of the Housing Assistance Payment Contract, executed with the PHA.
  • Conduct normal landlord functions during the term of the lease.
  • Comply with all applicable fair housing laws and discriminate against no one.
  • Maintain the housing unit by making necessary repairs in a timely manner.
  • Must adhere to provisions on modifications to a dwelling unit occupied or to be occupied by a person (s) with disabilities.
  • May not lease property to a relative (parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother) of any member of the assisted family, unless approved by PHA for handicap accessibility.
  • Lease may not require more than sixty (60) days moving notice from tenant.
  • Collect rent due from the assisted family and otherwise comply with and enforce provisions of the dwelling lease.
  • Security deposit cannot exceed the amount charged to unassisted tenants.
  • Payment for owner-supplied utilities and services.

When will I get paid for allowing the participant to live in my property?
HAP checks are issued between the 1st and the 5th of each month as long as the participant remains in good standing with the program and the unit continues to meet HUD Housing Quality Standards.

Who determines the rent for my property when I rent it to a program participant?
The owner states the contract rent for the property. The PHA will determine if the requested rent amount by the owner is reasonable. It must not exceed the rent charged for comparable, unassisted units in the same market area.

Are there special circumstances for disabled individuals?
Persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation in order to have equal access to the HCV program. A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice or service.