Umatilla County Housing Authority

Landlord Information

Frequently asked questions about the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program

1. What is the Housing Authority? The Housing Authority is a non-profit agency. We contract with HUD to administer the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program. We are not HUD.

2. What does the Housing Authority do? We provide rental assistance to low income families who qualify for our program. Initially, we make sure that families who apply or rental assistance meet the HUD eligibility criteria. This includes meeting income limits and program requirements. For as long as the family receives rental assistance, the Housing Authority monitors their compliance with program requirements.

3. How does a family become eligible for rental assistance? People who wish to receive rental assistance must apply to get on a waiting list. Families are taken off the list on first come, first served basis. We do not have emergency assistance. We can only help as many people as we have funding available.

4. Is Section 8 Rental Assistance only for couples with children? No. Anyone can apply to get on the waiting list, but HUD regulations say that we have to help all families (with or without children) and single elderly or disabled persons before we assist single people who are neither elderly nor disabled.

5. Does the Housing Authority screen families to see if they would be good tenants? No. This kind of screening is the landlord's responsibility. We strongly urge you to use the same diligence in screening applicants with Section 8 Assistance as you would all other applicants for your units.

6. Can I get a reference from the Housing Authority? Yes. When you are considering renting to an assisted family, there are certain forms to fill out. Once our office receives those, we will give you the family's current address, current landlord's name and address and previous landlord's name (if known). With a signed release form, you can receive additional rental history information from a family's file.

7. Can I charge the tenant a security deposit? Yes, as long as it's reasonable and not more than you charge unassisted tenants. HUD regulations state that the security deposit has to be refundable. You cannot collect both a refundable security deposit and a cleaning deposit. You also cannot collect a last month's rent. The family is responsible for paying their security deposit. The Housing Authority does not help families with this expense. If the family damages the unit beyond normal wear and tear, you will need to take payment for those damages from the security deposit.

8. When I'm leasing to a new tenant, when can I expect to get my money from the Housing Authority? The Housing Authority will begin assistance on the day the unit passes a Housing Quality Standards inspection and the family has possession of the unit. It's very important that you let our office know the exact date that you give the family possession (keys and the ability to move in). It usually takes our office five to ten working days to process the paperwork that includes the Housing Assistance Payment contract and your lease/rental agreement. We will fill in the effective dates on the HAP Contract- the lease and the HUD lease addendum. Once all parties sign the paperwork, your check will be released. You will be paid a prorated portion effective the day assistance began.

9. Why do I have to give the Housing Authority an unexecuted copy of my lease/rental agreement? The effective dates on the HAP Contract, the lease/rental agreement and the HUD lease addendum have to be the same. Since we won't know the effective date until the unit passes a HQS inspection and the family takes possession of the unit, we ask that you let us fill in that part of the lease once we are sure of the actual date. Since you have submitted an unexecuted copy of your lease/rental agreement to us and it won't be ready for signature for several days, we suggest that you have the tenant sign an additional lease for your records before you give them possession of the unit. Even though you will be using two lease forms, you are certain to have a signed lease before the tenant moves in.

10. If my daughter has Section 8 Rental Assistance, can I rent to her and her children? Effective June 17, 1998, the Housing Authority is prohibited from entering into a contract on behalf of a family, if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister or brother of any member of the family. The only exception is if the Housing Authority determines that the unit would provide a reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities.

11. Is there a time limit that families can receive Section 8 Rental Assistance? Currently, there is no time limit for receiving assistance. If a family is able to pay their entire rent for 180 days, the contract will automatically terminate and the family will no longer have rental assistance.

12. If a family with small children leases my unit, what happens when the children grow up and move out? Just because there are no small children in the household does not mean that the family is not eligible to receive rental assistance. If there is a change in family size and the family is now living in a unit that is too large for their family size, they may have to move.

13. How can families lose their eligibility to receive rental assistance? Families have to meet certain obligations to continue to receive rental assistance. These include but are not limited to attending scheduled appointments, not being involved in drug-related or violent criminal activity and not damaging their unit beyond normal wear and tear. If the Housing Authority receives documentation that the family has violated a '''family obligation''' we can terminate the family's eligibility. You will always receive a 30 day notice if the contract is terminated because the family is no longer eligible.

14. Will the Housing Authority help me evict a problem tenant? No. You signed a contract with the Housing Authority and a lease with the tenant family. The Housing Authority is not a party to the lease. This means that our office cannot help you enforce the lease. This is your responsibility just as it would be for other non-assisted tenants. If your tenant is violating the lease, you can evict them at any time. If you contact our office and report that you think the family is violating a program rule, we will investigate. This doesn't mean that you can't and shouldn't take action as their landlord. For example, if you suspect there are more people living in the unit than stated on the lease, you should call us and give us that information. Allowing persons not on the lease to live in the assisted unit is a violation of a family obligation, and it is also a lease violation. You can take action as the landlord because the family is violating the lease. Keep in mind that if the Housing Authority terminates a family's eligibility, that does not mean they will automatically vacate your unit.

15. Can the Housing Authority give me advice concerning what to do about a problem tenant? No. Law prohibits us from giving legal advice. Again, you need to deal with assisted tenants in the same way you would those who do not have rental assistance. You should be familiar with the Oregon Landlord/Tenant Law and keep current with any changes. In some cases you may need to seek legal help.

16. What should I do if a tenant damages the unit beyond normal wear and tear? You can evict a tenant if they are damaging your unit. In addition, if a tenant damages a unit beyond normal wear and tear, they can lose their rental assistance. If this happens, you need to contact our office and discuss this with us.

Contracts executed prior to October 2, 1995 have a damage claim provision. If a tenant, who was under lease prior to that date vacates the unit and leaves damages beyond normal wear and tear, you will need to call our office within five days of taking possession of the unit so that we can do a damage claim inspection.

For contracts signs after October 2, 1995, the family is responsible for paying for any damages they leave.

17. Can I give my tenant a 30-day no-cause notice? (That depends, during the first year of the lease violation.) After the first year, if it is stipulated in your lease, you may give a 30 day no-cause notice. Leases signed before October 2, 1995 are endless and you must always list cause when you give those tenants notice.

18. When should I let the Housing Authority know what actions I've taken toward my tenant? You need to give the Housing Authority a copy of all written notices warnings or eviction notices you give an assisted family. You must also notify the Housing Authority if your tenant vacates the unit in violation of the lease.

19. What if I want to sell a unit that is occupied by an assisted tenant? If the new owner wishes to keep the same tenant and continues to work with the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, you and the new owner will need to sign an Assignment of Contract form, which is available at our office. If the assisted tenant is in the first year of the lease, the new owner must assume the contract. If the new owner does not want to participate with the Section 8 program, after the first year, if it is stipulated in the lease, the new owner can give the tenant a 30 day no-cause notice.

20. Do I have the right to inspect my rental property? We encourage you to inspect your property with proper notice to the family (as required by the state law). This will insure regular maintenance and encourage proper tenant up-keep. You shouldn't rely on the Housing Authority's yearly Housing Quality Standards inspection to keep you up-to-date on the condition of your unit.

21. What if I want to stop paying for the water or another utility that I am responsible for or if I decide to start paying for the trash collection? Because the family is given "credit" for paying utilities, it's important that we know who is paying for what utilities. If you want to change what is stated on the lease, you will need to contact our office.

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