Responsibilities of HCV Program Participating Parties

The Housing Choice Voucher program is a partnership between 3 parties:

  • The Public Housing Authority
  • The Owner
  • The Participating Household

In this partnership, each participant must be careful to uphold their part to ensure beneficial success. Each party has specific responsibilities they must adhere to in order to continue in the program.

The Public Housing Authority (PHA)

The PHA is a local agency that oversees the Housing Choice Voucher Program within their own jurisdiction. They are responsible for many aspects of the program, including, but not limited to:

  • Compliance with the Annual Contributions Contract. An annual contributions contract is a written contract between HUD and the housing authority. Under this contract, HUD agrees to give funding to the PHA, over a specified term, for housing assistance payments to owners and for PHA administrative fees.
  • Adherence to all applicable federal laws, including but not limited too Fair Housing Laws, ADA, Civil Rights Act, VAWA, etc.
  • Act in accordance with all local laws
  • Maintain good accounting practices
  • Establishing a written administrative plan that outlines local policies for governing the Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Properly educating and training all agency representatives who will work with the Housing Choice Voucher program
  • Properly and consistently communicate with constituents, applicants, participants, and owners.
  • Maintain a Waiting List in compliance with specified policies and regulations.
  • Determine applicant’s initial eligibility
  • Educate the participant and the landlord on program’s rules and regulations.
  • Issue vouchers to eligible applicants per program policies and regulations
  • Ensure selected unit meets Housing Quality Standards before approving the eligible participants to enter into a lease
  • Enters a Housing Assistance Payments contract with the landlord to ensure housing assistance payments are made directly to landlord.
  • Ensures accurate voucher subsidy amounts by recertifying participants a minimum of once a year.
  • Conducts a annual or biennial inspection of all approved housing units.
  • Guarantee the contracted rent amount is reasonable at all times.
  • Maintains participant and landlord’s compliance with all program details and policies.

Every housing authority and its employees and representatives are governed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is bound to audits at any time by both HUD and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Owner

Under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the owner may be either an individual  or a business entity. In some cases, the owner might not manage their own property and may have enlisted a property manager, management company, or agent to operate on their behalf. In either case, the rights and responsibilities remain the same, and include, but are not limited to:

  • Comprehending and comply with all local tenant and landlord laws, as well as Fair Housing Laws and all reasonable accommodation requirements.
  • Conducting screenings to determine participant as a suitable renter of the unit. This includes reviewing the participants finances in consideration for the subsidy they would receive.
  • Ensuring the unit rent price is always reasonable and comparable to the private rental market in the jurisdiction.
  • Verifying the unit always meets the Housing Quality Standards., making any necessary repairs to the unit.
  • Entering into a lease agreement with the tenant and acting in accordance with all lease terms.
  • Enforcing the terms of the lease agreement in accordance with local, state and federal law.
  • The right to evict a tenant if the participant has broken the terms of the lease.
  • The right to request a rental increase with a 60-day written request to the agency after the first 12 months of the tenancy and per the lease terms.
  • Adhering to all local housing laws and regulations.

The landlord will enter a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract with the agency. Once the landlord signs the contract, they are stating their agreement to comply with the program’s regulations in exchange for the housing assistance payments. If the landlord does not comply, the agency may stop payments to the landlord and take other enforcement actions per the contract. If the landlord falls out of compliance with the lease agreement, the tenant may pursue enforcement through legal channels as needed. 

The Participating Household

Whether the household consists of one person or several members, each member of the household is required to follow all the policies of the program. The participant’s rights and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Supplying any information that either the Public Housing Agency or HUD determines to be necessary for eligibility and determination of accurate subsidy.
  • Providing social security numbers of all household members, and verification of each social security number.
  • Signing any consent forms required by HUD or the Public Housing Agency, and supplying any verification requested to verify living situation.
  • Immediately notifying the agency if the participant is going to be absent from the unit for an extended period of time.
  • Allowing the agency to inspect the unit, upon request, at reasonable times and with reasonable notice.
  • Notifying the owner AND the agency in writing before moving out of the unit or terminating the lease.
  • Maintaining only one residence as a program participant.
  • Alerting the agency immediately, in writing, when there is a child has been moved into the rental unit, either by birth, adoption or court-awarded custody.
  • Obtaining written approval from the agency to add, or remove, any other household member as a resident of the unit, prior to moving..
  • Immediately providing a copy of any eviction notices to the Public Housing Agency.
  • Paying all utility bills and maintain any participant-provided appliances.
  • Ensuring all information supplied by the participant is be accurate and complete

The Participant Must Not:

  • Have whole or partial ownership of the unit in which they reside.
  • Violate the terms of the lease at any time.
  • Commit fraud, bribery, or other criminal acts in connection with the program.
  • Engage in drug-related, violent, or other criminal activity, or abuse alcohol in any way that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents in the immediate vicinity of the premises.
  • Sublet or transfer the lease of the unit.
  • Receive HCV housing assistance while also receiving housing assistance from another federal, state, or local program.
  • Cause damage to the unit or premises, other than normal wear and tear, or allow any guest to cause damage to the unit or premises.
  • Rent a unit owned by a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister or brother, of any member of the household while receiving assistance under the program, unless it’s for reasonable accommodations purposes, as prescribed by program policies.

If the family does not uphold their responsibilities as outlined by program policies and procedures, the agency may terminate their participation in the program.

If the family falls out of compliance with the terms of their lease the landlord may terminate the lease. Keep in mind that the agency does not get involved in tenant/landlord disputes and has no jurisdiction to settle conflicts outside of the policies of the program.