The Section 8 program, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, supplies eligible low-income households with a federal subsidy they can use to obtain rentals from private market landlords. The subsidy represents the difference between the fair market rent of a dwelling and 30 to 40 percent of a Section 8 household's combined income. As a Section 8 landlord, you benefit by receiving the government's share of the rent, guaranteed, monthly. The process for becoming a Section 8 landlord is the same in Illinois as it is elsewhere in the nation.
Contact the public housing agency (PHA) that covers your area. You can find yours at HUD's website. While it is not mandatory to contact your PHA prior to searching for a Section 8 tenant for your property, doing so might make the process run more smoothly. For example, the Chicago Housing Authority offers prospective Section 8 landlords the opportunity to register and post their properties online. This might cut down on the time it takes to fill your vacancy.
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Advertise your rental whether or not your PHA offers a service like the one in Chicago. You can list your opening in newspapers, online, through other channels offered by your PHA or via websites that specialize in affordable housing listings, such as Go Section 8. Be sure to note that you accept Section 8 renters in your ad.
Put interested Section 8 families through your screening and application process. You conduct this portion of the process the same way you would in any situation. Section 8 renters are bound by the same rules and regulations that govern market rate renters. If you do not think a Section 8 renter will make a suitable tenant, you can deny his application, as long as you do not discriminate against him and you comply with applicable rental laws.
Complete a Request for Tenancy Approval form. As the Chicago Housing Authority notes, your prospective tenant should provide you with one. You or the potential tenant can return the completed form to the proper PHA.
Schedule an inspection of your unit. At this point, you have only reached a verbal agreement with Section 8 family you want to rent to. Your PHA must ensure that your property meets HUD's Housing Quality Standards (HQS). The HQS is lengthy, however, in general terms, you must provide a safe and sanitary living space for your renters, which includes a flush toilet, proper food preparation facilities and adequate waste disposal, electrical, plumbing and heating systems, according to Go Section 8's landlord guide.
Sign a lease with the tenant and a Housing Assistance Payment contract with your PHA if your unit passes inspection. As the Chicago Housing Authority explains, this contract outlines each party's responsibilities under the Section 8 arrangement.