Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is a federally funded and income based program designed to provide decent and safe housing in the private market to qualified low to moderate income families, elderly and persons with disabilities. The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is the largest program the Authority administers.
Since the assistance is provided on behalf of the family, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. A qualified participant is issued a voucher and is responsible for finding housing. Upon finding a unit, documentation for the prospective unit and landlord must be submitted for preliminary eligibility. A HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection is scheduled upon receipt of unit information and the participant may only move in once the unit passes inspection.
HASBARCO is authorized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer vouchers. Voucher recipients generally pay between 30 and 40 percent of their adjusted monthly gross income in rent. The program helps low-income households pay rents they can afford. Private landlords rent to Housing Choice Voucher Program participants.
How the Program Works
Voucher Participant's Obligations: The family is responsible for:
- Selecting a suitable housing unit for rent. The family has 60 days after receiving a HCV to find a unit. They can also request an extension in writing if they feel more time is necessary. A 'Unit Search' will be given to you to fill out, as a means of tracking your efforts. Extensions are given in 30 day increments.
- Selecting a unit in which the landlord would agree to participate as part of the HCV program.
- A list of some of available units can be provided.
- Landlords screen families as voucher participants.
While searching for a unit, keep in mind the housing payment standards and Utilities Allowance (depending of what type of housing) have a bearing on what you can afford for rent.
Once a desired unit is found, rent is agreed upon and after the voucher participant and landlord agree to enter a lease, the family is required to submit a fully completed Leasing Packet (provided by HASBARCO), that includes the Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA).
- This preliminary/proposed lease agreement must include the names of all occupants, the proposed rent amount and the completed utility section.
- This preliminary/proposed lease agreement must not include signatures or effective dates.
- The lease between the voucher participant and landlord is the same lease used for unassisted participants and the terms and conditions must be consistent with State and local laws.
- Lease must specify utilities and appliances.
- Lease must include the HUD required Tenancy Addendum (HASBARCO will provide). Terms of the tenancy addendum prevail over any other provision of the lease.
- When the Leasing Packet is received by HASBARCO, an inspection will be requested is the unit if found to be affordable for the voucher participant.
- The unit must pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection. This inspection will be conducted approximately three (3) to fifteen (15) days after receiving the completed Leasing Packet.
- A rent reasonableness study will be conducted to determine if the request is reasonable as compared to similar unassisted units, considering location, quality, size, type, age, amenities, housing services, maintenance and utilities to be provided.
- When the unit passes the HQS inspection, a notice will be sent informing you that the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) has been approved and the contract is ready to be signed.
- The notice will also provide the approved contract rent and rent portions to be paid.
- Lease must be for at least one year. After the first year the landlord may request a rent increase on the existing unit.
- HAP payments will begin when the HAP contract is signed and signed lease is received by HASBARCO.
- The voucher participant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord.
Once the family is in their unit, they are expected to:
- Comply with the lease and the program requirements
- Pay its share of rent on time
- Maintain the unit in good condition
- Report Changes to HASBARCO of income/family composition.
The role of the landlord in the HCV program is to provide "decent, safe, and sanitary housing" to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling must pass the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments (HAP). To read more about the role of the landlord, or if you are interested in becoming a landlord under the HCV program, please visit or Landlords page.
Through the HCV program, HASBARCO provides families with the housing assistance that enables them to seek suitable housing in the HASBARCO jurisdiction. HASBARCO will enter into a contract with the landlord and provide payments on behalf of the family. After a family has applied for the HCV program HASBARCO will:
- Review all applicants to determine program eligibility
- Explains and enforces the rules of the program to families and property owner/landlords
- Issues HCV to families
- Inspects the properties for compliance with HQS
- Approves the property, the owner and the lease
- Sends housing assistance payments to the owner
- Conducts annual re-exams of the family's income and composition and adjusts rent portions if necessary.
- If the participant or landlord fails to comply with the program requirements, HASBARCO has the right to terminate assistance payments and/or terminate families from the program.