West Valley Housing Authority

Information for Landlords

What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program allows private landlords to rent apartments and homes, at fair rental rates, to qualified very low income families with a rental subsidy administered by West Valley Housing Authority (WVHA) throughout Polk County.

“Section 8” is a common name for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. WVHA administers the Program throughout Polk County outside of the UGB of Salem.

Very low income families apply for assistance, through WVHA, to qualify for placement on the waiting list for a rent assistance voucher. Depending on funding and the monthly number of continuously-assisted families, approved applicants are pulled from the waiting list and their income eligibility is processed for Voucher issuance.

Approved families can choose any rental property in WVHA’s jurisdiction that meets program inspection standards (HQS), and has a reasonable rent compared with similar unassisted units in the market. In addition, WVHA is prohibited from approving a family renting a unit that would require the family to pay more than 40% of their income toward the monthly rent and utilities.

Families negotiate lease terms directly with the landlord. Families pay a minimum of 30% of their income toward the monthly rent, and WVHA pays the remainder directly to the landlord. Landlords may use our Sample Lease or use their own lease agreement and the same screening criteria as any other applicant.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Partnership

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a joint effort among you (the landlord), your tenant, and WVHA — we each have a set of responsibilities.

Landlord’s Responsibilities

Screen prospective tenants as you would for other unassisted prospective tenants. WVHA DOES NOT perform any screening for current/past tenancy issues.

Perform all management and rental functions for the assisted unit, including screening and selection of tenants.

Maintain the unit in accordance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS), including performance of maintenance.

Comply with equal opportunity/fair housing requirements.

Prepare information required under the Housing Assistance Payments contract and furnish the information to WVHA.

Collect from your tenant: security deposit, tenant portion of the rent, any charges for damages to the unit.

Enforce the tenant obligations under the lease.

Pay for utilities and services agreed upon in the lease.

May not collect side payments from Section 8 tenant or charge more than approved by WVHA.

Tenant’s Responsibilities

Supply information determined necessary by WVHA or HUD to administer the program, including completion of scheduled income reviews.

Pay utilities that are not supplied by the landlord.
Provide and maintain the appliances for which they are responsible.

Correct/pay for damages inflicted to unit by family member or guest.

May not commit serious or repeated violation(s) of the lease.

Provide WVHA with copies of ALL notices given.

WVHA Responsibilities

Make timely HAP payments to the landlord each month.

Regularly evaluate family eligibility.

Inspect units annually or every two years at the discretion of WVHA.

Investigate potential fraud or program abuse by tenants or landlords.

Provide quality customer service to Section 8 landlords and tenants.

Notify landlord of any change in subsidy amount.

Section 8 Features

Being a Section 8 landlord can give you the satisfaction of empowering low-income families to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing.

Program Features for Landlords

  • You can earn fair rental rates and reasonable rent increases are allowed.

  • You may require reasonable security deposits and fees.

  • You are able to effectively screen and select tenants.

  • Strict renter responsibilities are defined in the Tenancy Addendum.

  • You may rent to as many or as few Section 8 families as you wish.

  • You will experience low tenant turnover; high tenant demand promotes full occupancy and longevity.

  • You have the discretion to not renew a tenant’s lease when the lease expires.

  • WVHA conducts biennial or annual inspections of the unit.

  • On-time direct-deposit payments, from WVHA, increases your rent security.

  • You may be eligible for reimbursement, for damages, through the State of Oregon Landlord Guarantee Program. More information can be found here.

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspections

As part of our commitment to provide safe, sanitary, and affordable housing to our participants, we maintain certain inspection standards (Housing Quality Standards). When a Section 8 Voucher holder (prospective tenant) is interested in renting your unit, it must be inspected by WVHA. Once you have tentatively agreed to accept a Section 8 subsidy, and completed the lease paperwork provided to the prospective tenant, our caseworker/inspector will contact either you or the family to make an appointment for inspection.

Items which will violate Housing Quality Standards include such things as: peeling or flaking paint, unsafe or rotted porches, windows that are cracked or broken, leaks, lack of proper ventilation of flue on hot water tank, weak or broken floor boards, extension cord outlets, exposed plumbing, missing or broken electrical outlet covers or switch plates, and inoperable smoke detectors. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive. After the inspection, the inspector will provide a written report on failed items if any are identified.

Getting Started with Section 8

We try to make it simple and easy for landlords to participate in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

WVHA is not able to recommend voucher-holders to your vacancies, but we encourage you to advertise that Section 8 tenants are welcome to apply.  You can list available units on our bulletin board or request to be included in our standard landlord listing.

If a tenant approaches you about accepting a Section 8 rent assistance voucher, there are four steps to follow.

Step 1:  Screen the tenant to ensure you are making a good selection.

Step 2:  Families with a WVHA Section 8 voucher will provide you with a packet of program documents that you and your prospective tenant will fill out together. When your prospective tenant returns the completed forms to our office, we will contact you or the family to schedule an inspection.  You may submit the forms on behalf of the tenant, if you wish. At that point, we will make a determination of whether the amount of rent you are asking for is rent reasonable.

Step 3:  We will inspect the unit to ensure that it meets HUD’s Housing Quality Standards.  You may be present at the initial inspection. The utilities must be on and the unit must be ready for occupancy.  The inspector will discuss any repairs that may be necessary with you.

Step 4: After your unit passes inspection, and the amount of rent you are charging has been approved, the HAP Contract will be executed and initial payment will be processed. WVHA STRONGLY encourages all landlords to sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer for faster payments.

About Your Lease Agreement

Landlords may use our Model Lease or their own lease agreement and the same screening criteria that apply to any other applicants and tenants.

Section 8 Landlord Forms

To reduce paperwork, WVHA landlord for Section 8 landlords are available here in on our website.

If you have questions about any of these forms, feel free to call our Dallas office at (503) 623-8387 or e-mail wvpha@wvpha.org.

Available landlord forms include:

Frequently-Asked Questions - Landlords

How can I become a Section 8 landlord?

The process begins when a Section 8 Voucher holder contacts you. Advertising that you accept Section 8 tenants will help you lease your vacancies faster. If you would like to advertise your vacancy on our bulletin board, simply complete and send in the Unit Vacancy form.

How much rent can I charge?

You can request a current fair market rent from your tenant. WVHA will then determine if the rent is reasonable based on our assessment of comparable rents. We also must determine if the rent is affordable for your prospective tenant.

How much security deposit can I charge?

You may charge Section 8 Voucher holders the same security deposit that you would charge tenants who don’t have a Section 8 voucher.

What happens after I screen and approve a Section 8 Voucher holder?

There are four steps. For more details on the process, click here.

What happens if WVHA determines that my rent is too high?

If the rent you are asking for is too high for your prospective tenant, you may wish to negotiate a lower amount. If you believe the requested rent is comparable to your unit, you can send us three verifiable, comparable rents for us to review.

Which landlords participate in your program?

There are currently more than 150 landlords in Polk County who are renting to our Section 8 participants. They range from large property management firms to landlords who only have a single rental unit.

Why should I accept tenants with Section 8 Vouchers?

Participating in the Section 8 Program allows you to earn market-rate rents using your own lease and screening criteria, and also receive full rents when tenant hardships occur. Beyond the business benefits, you gain the satisfaction of providing a home for someone of limited means and helping them move forward in their lives.

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