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Leased Housing



Becoming a Section 8 Landlord

About The Lease

Current Section 8 Landlords

Inspections



Rents

Becoming a Section 8 Landlord

You must rent an apartment to a tenant that has been issued a valid Housing Choice Program Voucher.
You can advertise in the same way you would for a regular market tenant, through the newspaper, Internet, or other platforms. You may also use the Website www.GoSection8.com to list your vacant apartment for when you have an apartment available for rent. Once you create an account, you can add listings for any apartment you have available for rent within the WHA’s service area. Your vacant apartment(s) will be advertised on this website for up to two months.
Yes. It is possible for a lease-up any date after a passed inspection. For example, if the unit passes on the 5th, the lease may begin on the 6th, but only if the tenant is free to move in at that time.
Yes, subsidy payments will not be made until all required paperwork is submitted and signed. If the paperwork comes in the last week of a month, then the payment will be made on the 3rd of the 2nd of the following month and will include any retroactive payments due.
The tenant can be responsible for paying any utilities that are metered only for the unit the tenant will occupy. Any utility costs for common areas or other units on the property must be paid by the owner.
Yes, under very specific circumstances, if a licensed plumber has installed a sub-meter for only that unit and the landlord has filed a certification form with the local board of health or inspectional service department. Download the Sub-metering Certification form and submit it to the WHA inspector at the time of inspection to include this utility as part of the tenant’s responsibility.
The next step is to complete a Request for Tenancy Approval Form (RFTA) and arrange to have the unit inspected.
The Voucher program is a tenant-based subsidy that means the subsidy moves with the tenant. Once a Voucher program tenant moves out of your apartment, your participation with the program will be terminated. To continue your participation in the Voucher program you will need to screen and rent to another tenant that has been issued a valid Voucher.

About The Lease

The Lease is the agreement between the owner and the tenant. The WHA is not a party to the lease.
WHA must review all leases before they can be used in place of the WHA model lease. A copy of your lease should be submitted with the RFTA for approval.
Once the unit passes inspection, the Program Representative will prepare the Model Lease (if using the WHA’s) and HAP Contract, and either call the owner or mail out the package for signatures. The owner and tenant should coordinate how the documents will get completed, and returned to the office
The effective date of the Lease and Contract will depend on a number of factors; the inspection approval date and when the Program Representative has all the necessary paperwork from the tenant and owner. The Program Representative will make the final determination on the effective date.
In addition to the Lease and Contract, the owner will need to fill out an Owner Information Packet. These forms provide all the information WHA will need to make the direct deposit payments and report subsidy payments to the IRS.
The Lease and Contract are valid for a minimum of 12 months. At the beginning of the lease up process, the landlord decides on any renewal provisions they want. The landlord selects that the lease renews automatically on a month to month basis or a yearly term, this way a new Lease and Contract does not have to be signed every year.
Yes, you may collect a security deposit in accordance with MGL, chapter 186, section 15B. The security deposit must be less than or equal to one month’s approved contract rent (WHA subsidy plus tenant’s share).
The HAP Contract is the agreement between the owner and WHA. The HAP Contract must be signed within 60 days of the effective date, or it will be cancelled.

Rents

The WHA will make a direct deposit of the rent, called the “HAP” (Housing Assistance Payment) on the 3rd of each month in the designated bank account you provided to the WHA. If the 3rd is on a weekend, then it will be deposited on the next business day.
Fair Market Rents (FMR) are calculated and published annually by HUD. Each housing authority has the discretion of using a percentage of the FMRs between 90% and 110% of the Fair Market Rents. FMRs are used to establish the Payment Standards for that housing authority’s voucher program. The percentage used is based on current rental conditions of private market units within a housing authority’s jurisdiction. FMRs are not an indication or guarantee of the rent that will be approved for a unit.
Payment Standards are used to determine the subsidy amount (paid by WHA) and the tenant’s portion of the monthly contract rent. Payment Standards are not an indication or guarantee of the rent that will be approved for a unit.
The Rent Reasonableness evaluation calculates the rent based on the current market. The tenant’s participation in the program does not allow the tenant to pay more than 40% of their adjusted gross income toward rent and utilities. If the rent approved by the Rent Reasonableness evaluation exceeds the tenant’s 40%, the WHA must reduce the rent to meet the tenant’s maximum 40% contribution.
The tenant’s participation in the program does not allow the tenant to pay more than 40% of their adjusted gross income toward rent and utilities at the time of a new lease-up. The owner must accept the rent approved as the full rent for one month. The rent approved includes the tenant share of the rent and subsidy. It is a violation of the program for the tenant to pay more than their share indicated by the WHA.
No changes can be made in the Lease and Contract within the first 12 months. After 12 months, the owner may request a rent increase in accordance with the HAP contract.
The owner must give the tenant a written 60-day notice of the intent to raise the rent. A copy of this notice must be forwarded to the WHA. The WHA will conduct a Rent Reasonableness evaluation to determine if the rent is reasonable, and if so will prepare the Rent Change Notice to tenant. If the rent is not reasonable, the WHA will call the landlord. Rent increases are only permitted in 12 or more month intervals.
If the tenant is still living in the unit after the Contract has been terminated, the tenant is responsible for paying the owner the full rent amount.
No. You will receive notice by mail at the initial lease-up and any subsequent change in the rent portions thereafter; however, you may have access to the WHA’s landlord’s on-line portal for an initial fee of $40. The portal will provide you with the past 18 months of rent breakdown for each tenant for each month.

Current Section 8 Landlords

Please notify WHA as soon as possible so that all records are updated.
You should notify the WHA prior to the sale, to ensure that the new owner is not barred from participating in the program. The new owner should be made aware that the tenants are Voucher holders. All information regarding any pending inspections, the name of the contact Program Rep., Lead Paint Compliance information, copies of the lease and contract should be given to the new owner.
The lease and contract are effective for a minimum of 12 months. If you have an automatic renewal clause on the lease, then the lease and contract will automatically renew. There is no need to enter into another lease and contract. If the lease expires without a renewal clause, then a new and contract would have to be entered.
The total contract rent for the unit will not change after the first year, unless the owner requests a rent increase. The program requires that the tenant must recertify every year. This annual recertification requires that the tenant provide documentation regarding income. After recertification, the Program Representative will notify the tenant and the owner of any changes in the tenant share and/or subsidy. Even if the tenant share or subsidy portion changes, the total contract rent will remain the same. If your tenant submits documentation that warrants an interim reexamination and the WHA changes the tenant rent share and/or subsidy, you will be notified by mail.
After the initial 12 months have expired, the owner must notify the tenant in writing with a 60 day notice with a copy to the tenant’s Program Representative of the change in utility responsibility. A new lease and contract will be required to be entered. The tenant cannot pay a utility shared by another unit or common area. If the utilities are not individually metered, the owner must remain responsible for payment of those utilities.
You should take lease enforcement and also notify the Program Representative of any person(s) using the unit as a primary residence that are not listed on the lease. The WHA may notify the Public Safety Department (PSD) to initiate an investigation.
You should take lease enforcement and also notify the Program Representative. The WHA may notify the Public Safety Department (PSD) to initiate an investigation.
No longer renting the unit to a Section 8 voucher holder will terminate your participation in the program. You are not under any obligations to re-rent to another Section 8 voucher holder.

Inspections

We are required to inspect our subsidized units once a year. This inspection would be within 12 months of the last inspection. We call that an Annual Inspection. We could inspect more frequently. Other reasons we would inspect a unit would be due to a complaint by the tenant or a complaint by the owner, a quality control inspection, or verifying a change in utilities, to name a few.
HUD regulations require that the landlord must complete repairs within 30 days. A re-inspection of the unit will be automatically scheduled in 35 days. If the unit fails the re-inspection, then the unit goes into abatement on the first of the following month. You will not receive payment for the days, as of the first, the unit continues to be in a failed status. The owner must contact the inspection company to reschedule another re-inspection. If the unit continues to fail inspection after 30 days, then a termination of the HAP Contract is issued for the end of the 2nd month, and the tenant is issued another voucher to search for a new unit. If the unit passes before the termination date, and the tenant did not move out, then payments can resume from the passed inspection date.
The Request for Tenancy Approval Form or RFTA is a multi-paged document that must be completed by the owner / agent / management company. The RFTA initiates an inspection of the unit. The tenant can pick up an RFTA form from their Program Representative or from the reception area at the Leased Housing Department after they have been determined to be eligible to move and has given proper notice to vacate their current unit. The completed form is returned to the WHA, who reviews it for completion and completes the Rent Reasonableness Evaluation and affordability calculations. If all is satisfactory, then an inspection is requested. The inspection company will contact you to schedule an inspection.
A Program Representative is the person at the WHA who has been assigned to manage a tenant’s participation in the Section 8 Program. The tenant should be able to give an owner the name and telephone number of this individual. Program Representatives all have direct extensions and can be reached by email use the Program Representative’s last name (ex: lastname@worcesterha.org). In some cases the Program Representative’s first initial is used in front of their last name.)
A tenant can only submit one RFTA at a time and an owner can only submit one RFTA per address at a time. If the tenant is no longer interested in a unit they must contact the owner and their Program Representative.
Once a tenant or owner has returned a completed RFTA to the WHA it will take 2 to 3 business days for the RFTA information to be processed. Incomplete information on the RFTA is the major reason for delay. Once the form is processed, the inspection company will contact the Landlord to schedule an inspection.
An inspection approval is valid for 60 days.
Yes. If the inspection approval is still valid (within the 60 days) and the original tenant backs out, and the owner chooses another tenant, a RFTA still must be completed for the new tenant. The owner should include a note to the Program Representative with the information of a valid inspection approval.
Any unit where a child under 6 will reside must have a Lead Paint Compliance letter (that is less than 10 years old) or a Building Permit/proof of construction to show the property was built after 1978. If the Lead Compliance letter is more than 10 years old, the WHA will accept it with the RFTA; however, a Post Compliance Assessment Determination must be conducted and submitted prior to the HAP Contract being executed. (The HAP Contract must be executed within 60 days of the effective date of the HAP Contract. If not, then the contract is cancelled and no payment is made.)

To receive printed information or for questions on lead-based paint and lead-based paint regulations, contact the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at: 1 (800)424-LEAD.
Yes, the landlord must submit a new copy of the Lead Paint Compliance Letters with each RFTA that requires it.
An inspection can be completed if the tenant living in the unit is the one listed on the RFTA. If this is not the case then the unit must be vacant.
The Inspector will conduct a complete inspection of the property including all common areas, basement and exterior. The Inspector will also determine if the square footage of the unit meets the needs of the tenant. The Inspector will also note the use and occupancy of the property. All inspections are based on Article 2 of the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code as well as the Housing Quality Standards published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. All violations need to be corrected and the lead paint compliance letter if applicable, submitted before the unit can pass inspection.
The Inspector will give a copy of the inspection report to the owner at the time of the inspection. Or the owner can go to the inspection company’s website and using the Event ID (given to them by the inspector), can access the inspection results.
Because the unit is not under a lease or contract the owner does not have a timeframe to complete the repairs; however, if the repairs are not completed within 60 days, then the RFTA will be cancelled, a new one would need to be submitted, and the unit inspected again.
Because the unit is not under a lease or contract, the owner does not have to complete repairs of the deficiencies. If the deficiencies are not corrected, though, the unit will not pass inspection and cannot participate in the program. If your apartment does not pass inspection and you choose not to make the repairs, notify the tenant and the tenant’s Program Representative so the voucher holder can resume his or her housing search.
Notify the tenant that the unit has passed inspection. The Program Representative will complete the lease-up process and either call you to come in or mail out the HAP Contract for you to sign and return with an executed lease.
WHA suggests that owners experiencing difficulties gaining access to their property to make necessary repairs seek legal counsel to resolve the matter.
As the owner of the property you are responsible for the repairs to your property. If you feel that the violations are tenant caused, then you can take action with your tenant to collect the money for the repairs or seek legal counsel.
WHA does not pay for any damages caused by the tenant to the unit.
Either the WHA has been notified by the tenant that there is now a child under 6 residing in the unit, or the unit fell out of compliance. Failure to provide this information will result in the termination of the contract; or, the unit fell out of compliance (due to deteriorating paint).
Please call the inspection company.
As long as the tenant is still physically in the unit, access will need to be provided for the annual inspection.
A letter notifying the owner of the annual inspection is sent to the owner as a courtesy; the owner is not required to be there or provide access. Under the terms of the program, the tenant has two responsibilities each year -- one is to be recertified and the other is to allow access to the unit for the annual inspection. It is recommended that you contact your tenant to make sure that they will be available for the inspection, especially if it is a re-inspection.
All owners who purchase property with existing Section 8 tenants should contact the WHA. You will be provided with a Change of Ownership package that must be completed and returned to assume responsibility of the tenants and the program. The subsidy check will only be issued to the new owner when this package has been completed and processed.

Services




Worcester Housing Authority
40 Belmont Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Phone: 508-635-3000
Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM