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Landlord Information

The Housing Choice Voucher program is a federal assistance program to help very low-income families, the elderly, veterans, and individuals with disabilities afford safe, sanitary and decent housing.  The HCV program is administered by the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC) Section 8 Program.

We offer the following information in order to make the process easy to understand.  Landlords are the most important part of this program and we consider you valuable partners in accomplishing our mission of making sure people have safe, secure, decent and affordable housing opportunities.  When families or individuals receive a voucher to assist them with housing, they need a landlord who will give them the opportunity to show that they are good tenants and deserve a chance to improve their lives.

Please feel free to call or email us, at any time,with questions you may have.

 

How the Housing Choice Voucher Program Works

 

Application

A family or individual applies for a Housing Choice Voucher via the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC) Section 8 Program.  They are placed on their selected district's wait list.

Certification

Once the family reaches the top of the waiting list, The MDOC Section 8 Program issues a voucher that allows prospective tenants to search for housing that meets program requirements.

Housing Search

The Housing Choice Voucher is valid for a total period of 60 days from the date of issuance.  During this time, the voucher holder must find housing and sign a lease.  The prospective tenant will provide the landlord with a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) form.  The field agency arranges an inspection date.

Rent Amount & Market Comparability Survey

The MDOC Section 8 Program surveys the surrounding rental market to compare the requested rent amount with rents being charged for like units.

Housing Quality Standards

The local field agency inspects the dwelling unit to determine that it is decent, safe, and sanitary according to Federal Housing Quality Standards (HQS).

Housing Assistance Payments Contract

The landlord and MDOC execute the Housing Assistance Payments Contract in order for rental assistance payments to begin.

Lease

The landlord and family may sign a lease that is in standard form and consistent with state and local law, provided it does not conflict with HUD regulations.  The tenant's initial lease must be for a minimum of 12 months.  After the initial 12 month lease in the unit, the tenant may remain on a month-to-month lease (with 60 day notice to tenant).

Security Deposit

The tenant is responsible for the entire security deposit.  You must collect the security deposit from the tenant.  The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program has no responsibility for damages, unpaid tenant rent, or other claims you might have against the tenant.  The security deposit you may collect should not exceed what you charge on the open market.

Termination of Tenancy

The landlord and/or family may terminate tenancy when the 12 month lease expires or certain conditions exist.

 

 

How does the Housing Choice Voucher Program work?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal assistance program to help very low-income families, the elderly, veterans, and individuals with disabilities afford safe, sanitary and decent housing.  Families and individuals with HCV vouchers find their own housing and pay a percentage of their income for rent.  The MDOC Section 8 Program pays the landlord the balance of the rent.

How much rent can I charge?

All participants who receive a voucher are made aware of the allowable rent amounts.  Typically, the landlord can ask for the market rent.  Before the rent amount can be approved, the Section 8 Housing Specialist will determine if the rent is reasonable, which involves checking the rental amount for at least two comparable unassisted units in the same geographic area.

How much does the tenant pay for rent?

Participants pay approximately 30 percent of their adjusted income directly to the landlord.  Prior to the execution of the Housing Assistance Payment contract with the landlord of the tenant's rental obligation.  The MDOC Section 8 Program subsidizes the balance of the rent.

How long will it take to get my unit inspected?

Once the Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) package has been received by the local field agency, an inspection will generally be scheduled and conducted within 15 business days.

Who pays if the tenant causes damage to the unit?

The tenant is responsible for all tenant-caused damages to the unit, this includes damages caused by the tenant's visitors and /or guests.

What types of units are eligible to be rented with Housing Choice Vouchers?

  • Single family houses
  • Apartments
  • Duplexes
  • Row Houses
  • Condominiums
  • Townhouses
  • Mobile homes
  • Manufactured homes

Can I rent to a relative?

A landlord cannot rent to a relative (parent, child, grandparent, sister or brother of any member of the family) unless the MDOC Section 8 Program has determined that approving lease of the unit would provide reasonable accommodation for a family member with disabilities.

Who do landlords contact with questions?

Contact your local field agent within the applicable district

 

What are the advantages for a Section 8 Landlord?

  • HUD guarantees wider markets for landlords.

  • You can list your available units with the local field agencies to ensure a continuous applicant pool.

  • As a qualified landlord, you have rent security financially.  This ensures immediate rental payments timely each month.  If there is a loss of tenant income, the MDOC Section 8 Program covers all expenses.

  • Minimal paperwork is necessary and flexible to your own management services.  The lease is written by the landlord with understanding of tenants' responsibilities.  The contract and Lease Addendum are prepared by the MDOC Section 8 Program and both parties must sign to initiate payments.

  • Free advertising is provided through MTHousingSearch.com

  • Properties will be based on the market rent reasonableness evaluation in correlation to the location, quality, size, type, age, amenities, housing services and utilities provided.

  • The personal satisfaction of making a difference in your community and providing affordable housing to struggling Montana families.

  • Where should I start?

    • A landlord can call a field agency and ask to have a unit placed on the rental list, or go to MTHousingSearch.com to list a property.  Both options are absolutely free.

What are Housing Quality Standards?

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) are minimum standards established by HUD to ensure that all rental units are safe, decent and sanitary.  A field agent will conduct the unit inspection to make sure that it meets the standards.  If the field agency determines that deficiencies exist, the landlord and the family will be notified with the reasons provided.  The landlord will be given 30 days to correct the problems.  The MDOC Section 8 Program will execute the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contact after a re-inspection shows repairs are complete.

Site and Neighborhood

The site and neighborhood must be reasonably free of conditions that would endanger the health and safety of residents.

Access

The unit must have a private entrance without going through another dwelling unit.

Space and Security

The dwelling unit shall contain a living room, kitchen area and bathroom.

Lead-Based Paint

HUD requires landlords to disclose known information concerning lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards for pre-1978 dwellings.

Water Supply

Either public or private sanitary water supply is acceptable.

Thermal Environment

The unit shall contain safe heating that is in proper operating condition and provides adequate heat to each room in the dwelling unit appropriate for the climate to assure a healthy living environment.

Interior Air Quality

The unit shall be fee from dangerous levels of air pollution from carbon monoxide, sewer, gas, fuel gas, dust, and other harmful air pollutants.

Sanitary Facilities

All sanitary facilities shall be present in the dwelling unit, all in proper operating conditions.

Structure and Materials

All ceiling, walls and floors shall not have any serious defects such as severe bulging or leaning, large holes, loose surface materials, severe buckling or noticeable movement under walking stress, missing parts or other serious damage.

Illumination and Electricity

Each room shall have adequate natural or artificial illumination to permit normal indoor activities and to support the health and safety of occupants.

Smoke Detector

A smoke detector is required to provide maximum warning to occupants should a fire or smoke situation occur.

Sanitary Condition

The unit and its equipment must be free of vermin and rodent infestation.

Food Preparation and Refuse Disposal

There must be adequate space provided for the storage, preparation, and serving of food within the unit.

 


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HOUSING DIVISION | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
301 S. PARK AVE, STE 240 | PO BOX 200528 | HELENA, MT 59620-0528 | P: (406) 841-2840 | F: (406) 841-2841 | TDD: (406) 841-2702 | TOLL FREE: (800) 761-6264