General Owner/Landlord Information
- Perform all management and rental responsibilities for the assisted unit, including tenant screening procedures and selection of tenants.
- Maintain the unit in accordance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
- Prepare and furnish information required under the Housing Assistance Payments contract.
- Collect from the tenant the security deposit, tenant portion of the rent, and any charges for damages to the unit.
- Enforce the tenant obligations under the lease.
- Comply with Fair Housing requirements.
- Supply utilities and services as required by the lease.
- Collect from the renter ONLY that portion of rent as determined by the Housing Authority.
- Notify the Housing Authority and tenant of change of ownership.
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Housing Quality Standards
All units must pass Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection before move-in and annually. For the move-in inspection, the Inspector will contact you and schedule an appointment for an inspection of the unit. The unit must be vacant and the utilities on. The unit should be clean, all repairs finished, and in move-in condition before the Inspector conducts the inspection. The tenant cannot sign a lease until the unit passes inspection.
Items that would violate the HQS standards include but are not limited to:
- Peeling or flaking paint
- Stove burners or oven that does not light
- Lack of proper ventilation of flue on the hot water tank
- Exposed electrical wiring or plumbing
- Missing electrical covers, door stops
- Inoperable smoke detectors
- Lack of a thumb-turned deadbolt
- Trip hazards, railings, broken tile, etc.
An Inspector will inspect the unit if the Inspection Supervisor receives a request for a complaint inspection from the tenant or the owner.
Landlords are encouraged to inspect their units on a regular basis to monitor repairs needed and damages to the unit. Inspections by the owner can be included as a part of the lease agreement.
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The following schedule of HUD Income Limits is effective January 31, 2003
|| Section 8 Very Low
||Section 8 Low
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Criminal Background Check
The Housing Authority conducts a criminal background check on each applicant and household member over 18 years of age. Applicants who are found to have a criminal background meeting the criteria of the established policy will be denied assistance.
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The owner is responsible for screening the family's behavior or suitability for tenancy. Owners may screen for prior rental payment history, credit history, lease violations, condition of previous rental units, income, and references. The Housing Authority will give to the owner, upon written request, the family's current and prior address as shown on Housing Authority records, and the name and address (if known) of the owner of the family's current and previous addresses.
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Housing Choice Voucher Payment Standards
The maximum limits listed below include rent and utilities. The Housing Authority must approve the contract rent for a unit based on Rent Reasonableness criteria. The unit must also pass Housing Quality Standards inspection.
Effective: October 1, 2002
|| Payment Standards
Families are required to report all income and all household members in order to determine level of subsidy benefit and bedroom size. A voucher is issued and is valid for an initial period of 60 calendar days from the date of issuance. The family must submit a Request for Tenancy and unsigned lease within the 60-day period unless the Housing Authority has granted an extension.
If the voucher has expired, and has not been extended by the Housing Authority or expired after the extension, the family will be denied assistance. The family will not be entitled to a review or hearing. If the family is currently assisted, they may remain as a participant in their unit if there is an assisted lease/contract in effect.
A family must provide a written request for an extension of the voucher time period. All requests for extensions must be received prior to the expiration date of the voucher.
The Housing Authority provides listings of units offered by owners. Families may search through a realtor, newspaper listings, other publications, as well as message boards for available housing.
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Applicants in the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program may elect to rent from their current owner if the unit meets the established criteria. Applicants and participants may be required to pay a security deposit to their prospective landlord and must pay for their own moving expenses and screening fees.
A signed Request for Tenancy Approval, a copy of the unsigned lease from the prospective owner, proof of paid utility bills on the current unit, and a copy of your written 30 day notice must be submitted to the Housing Authority in order to process an inspection request. The Housing Authority will schedule a Housing Quality Standards inspection of the vacant unit and prepare a Rent Reasonableness comparison. The Housing Authority will provide to the owner a list of deficiencies found in the unit to be repaired and a date for a re-inspection. Once the repairs are made, the inspector re-inspects the unit. If there are no deficiencies the unit passes inspection. Once the unit passes inspection and the contract rent is approved including the lease dates and terms, the client will be approved to move in the unit. The owner must provide to the inspector a copy of a Rental License issued by the Prince George's County Department of Environmental Resources for the prospective unit. At that time, the client and the owner will sign the lease. The owner will sign the Housing Assistance Payments Contract.
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The owner of the property determines the security deposit. The maximum amount an owner may charge in the state of Maryland is two times the monthly rent on the unit. Most owners will charge one month's rent as a deposit. If an owner owns more than one property, the owner may not charge families under the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program a larger deposit than is charged to other families who are not under the program. For landlord-tenant information, you may call Baltimore Neighborhoods at 1-800-487-6007.
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Utility allowances are developed by unit size and type of fuel used in apartments and condominiums, townhouses, and single family dwellings. Housing Authorities are required to review utility allowances annually and revise them when there is a change of 10% in utility fees.
The utility allowance is always based on the actual size of the unit, regardless of the Voucher size.
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Guidelines for determining Voucher size
||Persons in Household
The Housing Authority may approve an exception and grant a family a larger bedroom size for verified medical reasons.
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Adding Persons to the Household
All participant families must report any changes in household composition to the Housing Authority.
In order to add a person to their family other than a newborn child, the participant must have the written approval of the owner and the approval of the Housing Authority. To add a minor, the participant must have legal custody of the child and submit that document to the Housing Authority along with the written approval of the owner. This must be completed before the minor moves into the unit. To add an adult, the participant must request the Add a Person Letter from the Housing Authority and provide the requested documentation before the adult moves into the unit. Upon conducting a Criminal Background Check and a review of the documentation submitted by the family and the prospective family member, the Housing Authority will approve or disapprove the request. If the prospective family member is not approved the person may not move into the unit. If the person moves in without the permission of the Housing Authority, the family's participation in the program will end for violation of family obligations.
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All unit inspections are performed for move-ins, annual recertifications, and for complaints from the participant or the owner. Participants must notify the owner if an item needs repair. If the owner does not repair the item after a reasonable period of time, the participant may contact the Housing Authority Inspection Division and request an Inspector to inspect the unit. The Inspector upon finding a deficiency, will contact the owner in writing, or, if the item is an immediate threat to health and safety, will contact the owner by phone to make repairs. If the problem is not repaired within the allotted time frame, the Housing Inspector will recommend that the Housing Assistance Payments stop (abatement) until the repairs have been made.
Once the repairs are made, the Housing Inspector will verify the repair and the payments will re-start. The participant must continue payment of their portion of rent under the terms of the lease agreement. If the owner does not make the necessary repairs, the Housing Authority will issue a new voucher to the participant to look for other housing. The Housing Authority will terminate the Contract after notifying the participant and the owner. In order for the assistance to continue, the participant must find other suitable housing, which is decent, safe, and sanitary. If a participant does not find housing within the allotted time frame and the unit still does not pass inspection, the participant will lose their assistance.
If emergency or non-emergency violations are determined to be the responsibility of the family, the Housing Authority will require the family to make the repairs or corrections within an allotted time frame. If the repairs or corrections are not made, the Housing Authority will terminate assistance to the family, after providing an opportunity for an informal hearing. Only the Inspection Supervisor can approve extensions. The owners' rent will not be abated for items that are the family's responsibility.
Certain Housing Quality Standards deficiencies are considered the responsibility of the family:
- Tenant-paid utilities not in service
- Failure to provide or maintain family-supplied appliances.
- Damage to the unit or premises caused by a household member or guest beyond normal wear and tear.
- Normal wear and tear is defined as items that could not be charged against the tenant's security deposit under state law or court practice.
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The Housing Authority complies with HUD requirements for determining the rent reasonableness at the time of move-in and for any rent increase request during the term of the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract. Rents are compared in a local area for specific bedroom size and amenities offered. This assures that the contract rent approved for any unit under the program is reasonable in comparison to other rental units and are not in excess of rents currently being charged by the owner for comparable unassisted units.
The housing inspector uses information from the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) for single and multi-family dwellings. The inspector must take into consideration location, size, type, quality, and age of the unit.
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HUD requires that owner's submit a written request for a rent increase to the Housing Authority. The request must be received at least 60-days prior to the effective date of the proposed increase. HUD requires that the contract rent be lowered if the recent rent comparables indicate that the contract rent is above the market rent. If the Housing Authority's comparable rents indicate that a contract rent is above the market rate, we will notify the owner of our intent to lower the rent on the anniversary date of the contract. If comparable rents indicate that the contract rent should be decreased, the owner will have an opportunity to provide comparable rents that must be verified by the Housing Authority. The comparable rent must be for the like and similar non-rental assisted units in the area.
The increase will become effective on the anniversary date of the contract, or the first of the month following the 60th day after the Housing Authority receives the request, whichever is later.
The adjusted rent to the owner is the lowest of the comparable rent for the unit as determined by the Housing Authority or the owner's proposed rent indicated in the request.
An owner may offer a new or revised lease ONLY after the initial term of the lease. An owner may want to change the terms of the original lease, i.e. responsibility for utilities. A new contract is required if the lease or revision creates a new term, if the lease is for a move to a new unit, or if there is a change in responsibility for utilities.
A change in owner rent does not require a lease revision, but it does require a 60 day written notice to both the Housing Authority and the family. The owner cannot charge more rent to an assisted unit than a non-assisted unit on the premises. Rent Reasonableness standards always apply.
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Damage to an assisted unit can be considered a lease violation. If the damage is other than ordinary wear and tear, it must be repaired. Damages that are determined to be caused by the participant must be repaired by the participant. If the owner repairs the item, the participant may be billed by the owner for the repair. Should damages be present at move out, the participant's housing assistance may be terminated for lease violations.
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Federal regulations now require that the landlord lease MUST provide that drug-related criminal activity on or near the premises by any household member or guest, or other person under the tenant's control is grounds for eviction. In addition, the lease must allow the owner to evict a family when a household member is illegally using a drug or when the owner determines that a pattern of illegal drug use interferes with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.
The lease must further provide that the owner is specifically authorized to evict a tenant where:
- There is any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents;
- There is any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of their residences by persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises; or
- The tenant is a fugitive felon or parole violator under Federal or State law.
The Lease must also provide that the owner may terminate tenancy due to a household member's alcohol abuse threatening the health, safety, or the right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.
The owner may evict a tenant through judicial action due to the criminal activity of a household member if the owner determines that the person has engaged in a covered criminal activity, regardless of whether the household member has been arrested or convicted, and without satisfying a criminal conviction standard of proof.
In determining whether to evict a tenant for illegal use of drugs or alcohol abuse by a household member who is no longer engaged in such behavior, the owner may consider:
- Whether the household member is participating in or has successfully completed a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program; or
- Whether the household member has otherwise been rehabilitated successfully.
The owner may also consider relevant circumstances including:
- The seriousness of the offending action;
- The effect of the eviction on the community and on household members not involved in the offending activity;
- The demand for assisted housing;
- The extent to which the leaseholder has taken reasonable steps to prevent or mitigate the offending action;
- The effect on the integrity of the program.
HUD requires that owner's submit a written request for a rent increase to the Housing Authority. The request must be received at least 60-days prior to the effective date of the proposed increase. HUD requires that the contract be lowered if the recent rent comparables indicate that the contract rent is above the market rent. If the Housing Authorities comparable rents indicate that a contract rent is above the market rate, we will notify the owner of our intent to lower the rent on the anniversary date of the contract. If comparable rents indicate that the contract rent should be decreased, the owner will have an opportunity to provide comparable rents that must be verified by the Housing Authority.. The comparable rent must be for like and similar non-rental assisted units in the area.
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The owner may terminate the lease if the tenant violates the lease, is involved in drug-related or violent criminal activity, or for other good cause. Other good cause may be a history of disturbing the neighbors, destroying property, or damaging the unit or property. Owners must provide to the Housing Authority a copy of any notices sent to the tenant, including notice to move or eviction notice. The owner and the tenant may mutually decide to terminate the lease at any time. Under these circumstances, the owner and tenant must sign and provide to the Housing Authority a Mutual Rescission of Lease. The owner has the option not to renew the lease at the end of any term.
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Lead Based Paint
Under the Lead Based Paint regulations that took effect September 15, 2000, units built prior to January 1, 1978, and where children age six and under reside, are subject to these requirements.
Owners must disclose knowledge of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards:
- Attach an executed Lead-Based Paint Disclosure form to lease.
- Stabilize deteriorated paint surfaces, using safe work practices, within 30 calendar days of notification for occupied units and before initial contracting.
- Notify occupants about any lead hazard evaluation and reduction activities on the rental property.
- Ensure that a clearance report is prepared within 15 calendar days of completion of the lead hazard reduction activity.
- Provide a notice of hazard reduction to the residents describing the results of the clearance examination.
- Provide ongoing Lead-Based paint maintenance services.
The areas of the unit that are affected are all painted surfaces, interior, exterior, and common areas servicing the unit.
The Housing Authority must conduct a visual inspection for deteriorated paint surfaces at both the initial and annual inspection.
When the visual inspector identifies deteriorated paint surfaces, the Housing Authority must notify and require the owner to perform stabilization of the surface before commencement of an assisted tenancy or for a currently assisted unit, within 30 days of notification to the owner.
Deteriorated paint below de minimis levels must be repaired, but does not require safe work practices or clearance. The De mimimis area is less than 20 square feet on exterior surfaces, 2 square feet on interior surfaces and 10% of small component.
Owners must perform paint stabilization on all deteriorated surfaces paint surfaces regardless of the size of the deteriorated surface.
The Housing Authority must conduct clearance activities. Clearance examinations must be performed by persons who have EPA or state approved training and who are licensed or certified to perform clearance examinations. The HQS violation for paint stabilization is considered closed when the Housing Authority receives an executed copy of the Lead Based Paint Owner's Certification.
For comprehensive information, you may contact:
Lead Paint Compliance Center
Office of Healthy Homes and
Lead Hazard Control
Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20410-0500
The toll-free phone number is 1-866-HUD-1012 or contact the Environmental Protection Agency or HUD.
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Owner or Family Debts to the Housing Authority
When families or owners owe money to the Housing Authority, the Housing Authority will make every effort to collect it. The Housing Authority will use a variety of collection tools to recover debts including, but not limited to:
- Requests for lump sums
- Civil Suits
- Payment Agreements
- Reductions in Housing Assistance Payments contract
- Collection agencies
- Credit Bureaus
- Income Tax Set-off Programs
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