Q: What are the responsibilities of the Housing Authority through the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)?
A: The Housing Authority is responsible for determining whether or not the client is eligible to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). Once eligibility is established, the Housing Authority is responsible for processing the certification and re-certification application, inspecting the unit, for approving the lease and for executing the Housing Assistance Payment Contract. The Housing Authority is also responsible for determining the amount of assistance to be provided and for making payments to the landlord on behalf of the tenant. Finally, the Housing Authority is responsible for monitoring the program and making certain everyone involved is in compliance with Federal, State and Local regulations.
Q: What are the responsibilities of the landlord through the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)?
A: As the landlord, you will be responsible for screening your tenant and for selecting the family you will rent your unit to. You will also be responsible for performing all management and renting functions as well as performing all necessary maintenance. If you are supplying utilities to the unit, you will also be responsible for the payment of these facilities. In addition, you are responsible for complying with the Housing Assistance Payment Voucher Contract, as well as with the lease you have with your tenant. Landlords can only lease units to persons listed on the lease. Under this program, landlords cannot reside in the unit or be related to tenants on the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) to rent units they own. Landlords can charge a security deposit similar to fair market rates, not to exceed the amount of two months rent.
Q: What kind of paperwork is involved with the program?
A: Once you have reached an agreement with a potential candidate, you will need to complete a Request for Tenancy Approval form. This form requests basic information, such as the address of the unit, the monthly rental fee and the utilities the tenant will be required to pay. You will also be required to negotiate a lease agreement with the potential client. After your unit has passed inspection, you will be required to sign a contract with the Housing Authority. Every year, you will be required to go through a recertification process. Your lease will not be binding until after the unit has passed inspection and you have signed a contract with the Housing Authority.
Q: Is the landlord required to pay for the utilities?
A: The landlord is not responsible for paying the tenant's utilities, though the tenant must have an electric, gas and water meter that is separate from other tenants. If the tenant is responsible for paying the utilities, the utilities must be transferred to the tenant's name.
Q: Who is eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)?
A: Low-income individuals and families are eligible for this program. The Housing Authority will determine who is eligible based on family size and gross income. Gross family income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for families in the county area. However, federal law states that local Housing Authorities must distribute 75 percent of their vouchers to families that make 30 percent of median income or less.
Q: How Much Assistance Does the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) provide?
A: The amount of assistance provided depends on the size of the family and the family's collective income. Though exact percentages may vary, families initially pay about 40 to 50 percent of their income toward rent. In most cases, this program reduces the rent burden to allow low-income renters to pay rent more easily to the landlord. The Housing Authority pays the difference directly to the landlord.
Q: Is a landlord able to evict a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) tenant if necessary?
A: Yes. You may evict a tenant who is participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), so long as you provide proper legal notice. You must also provide the Housing Authority with a copy of the initial eviction notice once the process has been started. In order to evict the tenant, you must abide by all local and state eviction laws. Legal reasons for eviction include failure to pay rent, causing damage beyond normal wear and tear and illegal use of the unit. In most cases when a participant in the program is evicted they lose their assistance.
Q: Do you have emergency housing assistance?
A: No, the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo does not have emergency housing assistance.
Q: What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)?
A: The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) assists participants by paying private landlords a portion of the total rent based on the households income. Qualified participants may transfer their voucher assistance to others areas of the United States. Our Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) Waiting List is currently CLOSED, and we cannot accept any new applicants at this time.
Q: Is HASLO absorbing Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) port-ins?
A: HASLO does not absorb Section 8 portability clients who want to move to San Luis Obispo County. However, HASLO will bill the initial Public Housing Authority for all eligible incoming portability households under this program.
Q: Where am I on the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Waiting List? How long is the wait?
A: HASLO does not provide your position on the Waiting List because it may change frequently. You may move up on the list as people are taken off of it and you may move down the list if applicants with preference points change. The wait time ranges from approximately 2-5 years.
Q: What is a preference point?
A: The Waiting List is maintained starting with the application date and time the family/individual applied. A preference point means the family/individual is placed on the waiting list according to preference points (i.e., a veteran, widow of a veteran, family member of active duty service person, live in San Luis Obispo County, employed in San Luis Obispo County, homeless, victim of domestic violence, currently employed 30 hrs./week or more, 62 or older, and permanently disabled). All of these can affect your placement on the Waiting List.
Q: Does the Housing Authority provide help with Security Deposits for a rental property?
A: Funds are limited. There is a Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program in San Luis Obispo and it depends on the funding that is available. Please contact your homeless services provider.
Q: If the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) Waiting List is CLOSED, can I still put my name on the list?
A: No, unfortunately when the Waiting List is CLOSED. It remains closed until we assist all the families currently on the list. You will have to wait until the Waiting List is open again to apply. Our website will be updated on a regular basis and we will post when the Waiting List is open again, so return to our website from time-to-time and check.