Landlords rent units to low-income families through Landlord Incentive Pilot Program
Johnson County’s new Landlord Incentive Pilot Program is in full swing, following its approval by the Board of County Commissioners on June 8 and launch on July 1.
The pilot program provides landlords with financial incentives to rent their units to low-income tenants using federally funded housing subsidy vouchers. The Board approved $200,000 in federal funds to fund the program.
As of October, 27 landlords have participated in the program. As a result, the program has provided 49 families with long-term, stable housing – including families with disabled members, working families with children and families experiencing homelessness.
“As landlords, we have a business to run, but we also have hearts. If we can run our business and do something good for the community – like rent to a family trying to get their feet on the ground – that’s a good thing,” said Dale Griffin, a landlord participating in the pilot program.
Between 2019 and 2022, Johnson County saw fewer landlords participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Many vouchers expire because they go unused when a tenant cannot find a unit to rent.
The pilot program offers new or returning landlords a sign-on bonus when they execute a lease with low-income, elderly or disabled renters using a Housing Choice Voucher, Emergency Housing Voucher or Permanent Supportive Housing Voucher through Johnson County Mental Health Center.
The amount of money landlords receives varies depending on the size of the unit but is equal to twice the tenant’s monthly rent.
While families with vouchers are no more likely than any other tenant to damage units, the county also offers landlords reimbursement for tenant-caused damages.
“As a first-time landlord, the incentive not only made it an easy decision but also boosted my financial confidence to participate in the voucher program,” said Grant Preston, a landlord participating in the pilot program.
The pilot program doesn’t meet all existing needs, but it allows housing officials to determine the right mix of incentives to encourage participation.