Private landlords play an important role in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program, formerly known as Section 8, provides rental assistance to those in need of affordable housing, including low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities.
Johnson County Housing Services depends on private landlords to provide rental options—houses, apartments, condos, townhomes and duplexes—for participants in the program. With the help of landlords, the program enables participants to live in safe, clean and decent housing.
What are the benefits of the program for landlords?
Guaranteed Rent Payments/Housing Assistance Program Contract
Regardless of labor market trends, COVID-19 or other potential risks, the Housing Choice Voucher program pays its landlords, offering financial security. Landlords can request reasonable rent increases after the initial lease, with a 60-day notice.
Landlords choose their tenants
Landlords choose and screen their own tenants. Landlords set their own rental agreement and property rules. Tenants are responsible for following the lease expectations.
Tenants have skin in the game
Tenants are responsible for paying a full security deposit and fees as required by the landlord. Tenants are responsible for paying 30-40% of their income towards rent. If tenants lose income, the Housing Choice Voucher program will make up the difference.
Large tenant pool and long-term, quality renters
The search for open units that accept Housing Choice Vouchers, can be lengthy. Once housed using their voucher, tenants have much incentive to be long-term, quality renters. Tenants are provided education regarding apartment upkeep and have expectations tied to being in the housing choice voucher program.
Housing Quality Standard inspections
Housing Quality Standard inspections are performed for new units and once a year after that. Inspections are not meant to be a burden to landlords. Inspections are also for tenants, to make sure tenants are taking care of units. Tenants receive notices to fix tenant caused damages.
Working with the program is simple with the Landlord portal. Easily access Tenants, payment information or request a rent increase.
Landlords are under no obligation to renew anyone’s lease on the program. Landlords are under no obligation to accept new voucher participants, after accepting one. There is no minimum or maximum number of tenants landlords must accept when working with the program.
Facts and myths of the program for landlords
Myth: The Housing Choice Voucher Program typically serve lower-quality tenants than market rate tenants.
Fact: The real importance of getting good tenants is to make sure that you pre-screen your tenants properly and effectively. Program participants must comply with their lease or they risk losing their voucher. Persons with disabilities, a senior on social security and the “working poor” family does not mean they are bad people to rent to.
Myth: Getting your property approved for the program is challenging.
Fact: Program inspectors are not code enforcers but have to make sure each unit is safe, decent and sanitary housing. The Johnson County Housing Authority will schedule a “move-in” inspection before a contract is signed, and an annual inspection. Inspectors will be upfront with the Housing Quality Standards that will be tested and checked for a unit to operate properly.
Myth: If landlords accept one program voucher, they have to accept all.
Fact: Not true. Program participants have to be screened by the landlord, and properly pass screening with no exceptions. Participants choose which rental properties they are interested in and do not travel in groups checking into a rental property. Landlords will screen on an individual basis.
Myth: Landlords are responsible for a lot of paperwork.
Fact: Most paperwork concerning the landlord is completed at the beginning of a new lease. Paperwork will include the Request for Tenancy Approval form, W-9 form and lease agreement. Housing staff will assist with completion of paperwork and can meet one-on-one with the landlord.
Myth: You cannot evict a tenant in the program.
Fact: If a program participant has violated the lease agreement, the landlord may evict the tenant in accordance with state law. The landlord must give the tenant a notice that specifies the grounds for termination of tenancy. The notice may be included in or combined with the owner eviction notice.
Myth: Program participants do not work or try to better themselves.
Fact: Program participants come from all walks of life and represent all ages and education levels. A significant percentage of participants are entry level workers who may have to work several jobs to afford housing in Johnson County. The Johnson County Housing Authority offers participants a chance to participate in the Family Self Sufficiency Program. The goal of this program is to help participants obtain education and skills they need to secure high-wage jobs, so they can eventually move off housing assistance and become homeowners one day.
Steps to accept rental assistance
Owner chooses to accept rental assistance and advertises "vouchers accepted."
Applicant locates and applies for rental unit. Owner screens and selects applicant for tenancy.
Applicant submits Request for Tenancy Approval form to Housing Authority for rent review. If approved, the Housing Authority schedules move-in inspection.
Housing Authority performs Housing Quality Standards inspection.
Housing Authority sends Housing Assistance Payments Contract to owner. Owner sends required documentation to Housing Authority, including an executed lease and a signed HAP contract.
Monthly Housing Assistance Payments are paid to the owner on behalf of the tenant until the HAP Contract ends.
Getting started is easy
2022 Payment Standards
The payment standards are set between 90% and 115% of the fair market rents for the Kansas City metropolitan statistical area for localities of DeSoto, Edgerton, Gardner, Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Shawnee, Spring Hill, Stilwell and Westwood area.
Amount includes rent plus utility allowance. The amount per number of bedrooms is as follows:
- 0 bedroom = $973
- 1 bedroom = $1,102
- 2 bedrooms = $1,280
- 3 bedrooms = $1,683
- 4 bedrooms = $1,954