For many investors and landlords, assisted housing continues to remain mysterious. Oftentimes, this mystery is caused by the lack of readily accessible information about assisted housing programs in local communities. Let’s face it, our current economic situation has sparked feverish debates and talk about stimulus packages-one can view assisted housing vouchers as a stimulus package for an individual in need, and these vouchers have been around for a lot longer than any of the recently unveiled stimulus programs.
In a nutshell, the housing voucher program is a federally mandated assistance program that provides housing vouchers and funds to individuals who need housing but may lack the necessary finances to obtain it. Participants in the voucher program are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments/condos. A person that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of their choice as long as the owner agrees to rent under the program. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the housing agency. Once an owner agrees to accept the voucher program, and the housing agency approves an eligible housing unit, the tenant and the landlord enter into a standard lease agreement, and the landlord and the housing agency sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. The tenants are required to pay a security deposit, are required to comply with the lease and program requirements, maintain the property in good condition and pay any of their shares of the rent on time. Landlords are provided with contact information for the housing agency counselor assigned to the tenant and may contact that person for any issues related to the rental unit and its tenant.
For landlords, one of the biggest benefits of providing housing to individuals participating in voucher programs is the guaranteed rent money from the government. Additionally, an annual inspection is provided by the local agency that oversees the program. Landlords are required to provide safe and decent housing and must maintain and repair any items found by the housing inspector, usually within a given time period and prior to a follow-up inspection.
As a landlord, housing voucher programs could help you obtain a tenant for your property. For additional information about your local housing voucher program, visit www.hud.gov or contact your local Public Housing Agency.