Housing Choice Voucher Program

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Housing Choice Voucher Program2018-01-15T15:36:11-05:00

Steps to Obtaining Assistance

PHA determines family’s eligibility

Eligibility for a Housing Choice Voucher is based on total annual gross income and family size, and is limited to United States Citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status.  In general, a family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live.  The Income Limits for families served by South Carolina Regional Housing Authority #3 are maintained by HUD and vary by location.

PHA issues Housing Choice Voucher

Once a family is determined to be eligible for assistance and funding is available, the HA issues a Housing Choice Voucher.  The voucher indicates the number of bedrooms for which the family is eligible and is effective for 60 days from the date of issue.  The family will also receive a briefing packet that explains how the program works as well as general guidance on how to find a suitable place to live.

Family locates eligible housing unit

Once a family has been issued a Housing Choice Voucher, they search the private rental market in the community for a housing unit that is decent, safe, and sanitary according to Housing Quality Standards (HQS) as established by HUD.  The rent must be reasonable for the size, type, and condition of the unit and the owner must be willing to enter into a contract with the HA and comply with program rules.  General guidance on how to search for a suitable unit will be provided in the briefing packet.

Owner approves family

Once the family finds a suitable housing unit to rent, the owner must complete a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) form and the HUD Tenancy Addendum.  A lease agreement between tenant and owner must also be completed.

 PHA approves tenancy and unit

After receipt and review of the RTA, the HA will schedule an inspection of the unit to insure it meets certain HQS criteria.  Primarily, the unit must be decent, safe, and sanitary.  If the unit passes inspection, the HA will begin the necessary paperwork to provide assistance.

Contract and lease signed

The HA and owner will sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract and the tenant and the owner will sign a lease agreement.

Housing Assistance Payments made

The HA makes monthly Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) to the owner as long as the family continues to meet eligibility criteria and the unit qualifies under the program.  The tenant is responsible for the monthly payment of the difference between the total rent and the HAP.


Are restrictions placed on where program participants may seek housing?2017-06-17T04:36:28-04:00

A participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.

When can I move in?2017-06-17T04:36:04-04:00

If you are on the waiting list, once your name is reached on the waiting list, the Housing Authority will contact you and request you to get certain information to determine eligibility and if approved you will be issued a voucher.

What do I tell the Landlord to fill out?2017-06-17T04:35:35-04:00

An applicant would not be asking a landlord to fill out anything at this point.

If I need an extension what do I do?2017-06-17T04:35:14-04:00

To me this is now a applicant question.  What would they need a extension for?

How do I apply?2017-06-17T04:34:32-04:00

Currently the waiting list is closed due to the number of applications.   When we resume taking applications, we will advertise in newspaper and radio spots.  When the waiting list is open you may apply.

What documents should I bring to my first appointment?2017-06-17T04:34:12-04:00

You should bring what is requested of you to verify eligibility.

What is the maximum amount of income that I can earn in order to qualify for HCV assistance?2017-06-17T04:33:46-04:00

Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the PHA based on the total annual gross income and family size .  Income limits are published yearly by HUD.

Do I have to be a citizen to apply for housing assistance?2017-06-17T04:33:26-04:00

Housing assistance is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status.

I have (gotten married, had a baby, adopted a child, divorced, lost my job, etc.) since I submitted my application. How will this affect me?2017-06-17T04:33:03-04:00

Because you are only a applicant at this time all that will be required is to notify the Housing Authority in writing of any changes.

If I moved since the time I submitted my application, do I need to notify the HCV office?2017-06-17T04:32:40-04:00

Yes, you need to notify the Housing Authority in writing of any changes in address or household composition.

What are some of the reasons that could prevent me from getting housing assistance?2017-06-17T04:24:50-04:00

You may be disqualified for Section 8(hcv) program for criminal activity, lifetime sex offender registration, misrepresentation and financial irresponsibility;  changes in income and household composition may also cause disqualification from the program.   Also, if you have rented through any program before and not  leave in good standing.

What are the responsibilities of the Housing Authority through the HCV program?2017-06-17T04:24:01-04:00

In addition to making sure program guidelines are followed, we have a duty to accept and review application, maintain waiting list, issue Housing Choice Vouchers, inspect and approve unit, issue Housing Assistant Payment, provide prompt and professional service.

How involved is the Housing Authority with the tenant/landlord relationship?2017-06-17T04:23:39-04:00

Yearly recertification unless are problems we are made aware between the landlord and tenant.

Is the Landlord required to pay the utilities?2017-06-17T04:23:17-04:00

The landlord is required to get the power/water on for us to do inspection and if the unit pass, it will be the tenant’s responsibility to get lights/water in their name.

Are landlords required to accept pets through the HCV program?2017-06-17T04:22:53-04:00


What type of criteria is the housing unit required to meet?2017-06-17T04:22:22-04:00

The unit must meet HUD Housing Quality Standards and the rent must be approvable within HUD Fair Market Rents and market rate comparable (copy of HQS available).

What type of housing units can participate in the HCV program?2017-06-17T04:22:01-04:00

Generally, a voucher-holder family may choose any available rental dwelling unit on the market in the PHA’s jurisdiction.  This could include the dwelling unit you are currently occupying.  The PHA MAY NOT  assist a unit under the voucher program if the unit is a public housing or Indian housing unit; a unit receiving project-based assistance under section 8 of the 1937 Act (42 U.S.C. 1437f); nursing homes, board and care homes, or facilities providing continual psychiatric, medical, or nursing services; college or other school dormitories; units on the grounds of penal, reformatory, medical, mental, and similar public or private institutions; a unit occupied by its owner or by a person with any interest in the unit.

How do I change my address or change ownership of the unit in which a HCV family resides?2017-06-17T04:21:38-04:00

If you have moved or simply want the check sent to a different address you must notify the Housing Authority in writing of your request and fill out a change of address form.  The owner may not assign the HAP contract to a new owner without the prior written consent of the PHA. If the owner requests PHA consent to assign the HAP contract to a new owner, the owner shall supply any information as required by the PHA pertinent to the proposed assignment.

What if the tenant damages my unit?2017-06-17T04:21:08-04:00

Damages beyond normal wear and tear and are tenant-related can be paid for by the tenant.  You should have a standard practice listed in the lease as to how damages will be paid for by the tenant.  After the tenant moves out, you may take compensation for damages beyond the normal wear and tear from the tenant’s security deposit and/or take court action.  The Housing Authority does not pay for any damages to your property.

Can I terminate the tenancy of a HCV program participant?2017-06-17T04:20:38-04:00

The landlord can issue a proper notice to vacate at the end of the initial term of the lease or at the end of any successive term.  The landlord can issue notice to terminate during the lease term for lease violations or other good cause.  Landlords are strongly encouraged to document tenant violations and to provide the tenant and the Housing Authority with written warnings or notices of the violations whenever possible.  A copy of the notice of termination must be sent to the Housing Authority.  If the tenant does not vacate within the time set forth in the termination notice, the eviction action which follows is just like any other eviction action.  If the Section 8(HCV) tenant is evicted, the Housing Authority will pay through the end of the month in which the tenant was evicted.

After the first twelve month lease, can I raise the contract rent?2017-06-17T04:20:16-04:00

After one year, the lease is renewed for a specified time period.  If the tenant remains in the unit, the tenant is recertified for eligibility and the unit is inspected for Housing Quality Standards annually, at which time the landlord may request an annual adjustment rent increase which must be approved by the Housing Authority.

What are the responsibilities of the landlord?2017-06-17T04:19:51-04:00

The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent.  The dwelling unit must pass the program’s housing standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments.  The landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the HA.

What are the responsibilities of the tenant?2017-06-17T04:19:25-04:00

When the family’s unit is approved and the HAP contract is executed, the family must follow the rules and regulations in order to continue participating in the housing choice voucher program.

When will I get paid?2017-06-17T04:19:00-04:00

During the term of the HAP contract, the PHA payments to the owner are at the beginning of each month.

If the HCV office cannot approve the rent amount that I request, can the tenant pay the difference?2017-06-17T04:18:39-04:00

NO!!! It’s illegal for landlords, owners, agents, or property managers to collect or request rent payments over the family’s approved rent portion as stated in their Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract, lease or lease amendment.

How much of the rent is paid by the tenant?2017-06-17T04:18:17-04:00

Generally, the monthly housing assistance payment by the PHA is difference between the payment standard and 30 percent of monthly adjusted family income.

How is the unit size (number of bedrooms) determined?2017-06-17T04:17:55-04:00

Unit size is based on family composition.

How much rent can I ask for?2017-06-17T04:17:32-04:00

You determine the price for the unit.  However, the rent must be reasonable compared to other units of similar location, quality, size, type, and age.

What happens once I’ve selected a tenant?2017-06-17T04:16:53-04:00

When you have selected a tenant, he/she will have a “Request for Tenancy Approval” form for you to complete. When the tenant submits the form to our office, a housing representative will contact you to schedule an inspection.

How do I rent my unit(s) to HCV participants?2017-06-17T04:16:20-04:00

Contact the HCV department and ask for your name to be placed on our landlord listing or go to www.SCHousing Search.com and list your property.

My employment terminated two months ago and I reported it today. When will my rent decrease?2017-06-17T04:41:59-04:00

If the family share of the rent is to decrease,  the decrease will be effective on the first day of the month following the month in which the change was reported and all required documentation was submitted.  In cases where the change cannot be verified until after the date the change would have become effective, the change will be made retroactively.

How much notification do I need to give my landlord?2017-06-17T04:41:25-04:00

At least 30-day written notice and a copy sent to the Housing Authority.

When can I move to another unit?2017-06-17T04:40:59-04:00

Moves are permissible as long as the family notifies the Housing Authority ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the appropriate provisions, and finds acceptable alternate housing under the voucher program.

Can I add someone to my existing household?2017-06-17T04:40:35-04:00

You must request written approval to add any other family member as an occupant of the unit.

Can I lose my rental assistance?2017-06-17T04:40:07-04:00

Yes, not following the guidelines of the program.

Does the Housing Authority assist with Security Deposits funds?2017-06-17T04:39:47-04:00


How is income verified?2017-06-17T04:39:21-04:00

Annual income means all amounts, monetary or not, which go to or on behalf of the family head or spouse or to any other family member.  There is also a list of income that is excluded.

I received a termination letter. What do I do?2017-06-17T04:38:56-04:00

You have 10 days from the receipt of the letter to respond in WRITING to request a hearing.

If I have an income or composition change, what should I do?2017-06-17T04:38:31-04:00

Promptly notify the Housing Authority in writing of any changes in household income or family composition within 10 days.

Is the HCV office currently absorbing the vouchers of those persons wishing to transfer in from other housing authorities?2017-06-17T04:38:04-04:00


I am interested in transferring to your housing agency, what would be my next step?2017-06-17T04:37:42-04:00

This process is called PORTABILITY.  You must be in good standing with your present Housing Authority and / or present landlord.  In order for you to transfer your Section 8 (hcv) to another jurisdiction you must request that your current Housing Authority send your portability papers to the Housing Authority having jurisdiction in the area to which you plan to move.

Because I am on a time restraint, may I turn in several RFTA’s at a time?2017-06-17T04:37:20-04:00

No, only one RFTA at a time.   It is called RFTA (request for tenancy approval).

What happens after a Landlord selects me as a tenant?2017-06-17T04:37:00-04:00

The PHA approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year.  The tenant will be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord.


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