Chester Housing Authority

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How do I become a HCVP landlord and how do I list a vacant unit?
Many investors begin their relationship with the CHA and Housing Choice Voucher Program when they acquire a property or have a unit turnover. The CHA has a listing service, free of charge for owners with vacancies or projected vacancies. Owners may complete the Available Property Listing form in our office or telephone the CHA and list the unit with the receptionist at 610-904-1111, Ext. 100. In addition, owners may e-mail pictures and descriptions of their available unit to [email protected]. The unit pictures will be posted in our lobby and shared with Occupancy Specialists to share with their clients. The owner may post pictures of the vacant unit online at his or her own discretion. CHA has refrained from posting vacant units online to prevent vandalism and to ensure that the owner is only contacted by program participants that are certified and eligible to lease a new unit.

Eligible households that are looking for a place to live will contact you directly if they are interested in seeing your unit. An eligible family is one that has been issued a voucher or extension in the last 60 days and has received a subsidy estimator worksheet to help them look for units within their budget. The CHA will record your unit on the "Available Property Listing" for 60 days unless you notify us sooner that the unit has been rented.

If the unit has not been rented in 60 days and you want to continue to list the unit, please notify the CHA receptionist at 610-904-1111, Ext. 100 to retain the unit listing. If we do not hear from you, the listing will be removed after 60 days.

Owners are required to adhere to fair housing laws in the offer, screening, and selection of tenants. The CHA will not accept listing from owners who fail to comply with fair housing laws.

How do I decide if I want to rent to a HCVP household?
In accordance with HUD program rules, the CHA screens initial applicants and new adults joining participant households for criminal histories for drug-related and violent crimes, sex offenders, evictions from public housing, and debts owed to the CHA or other housing agencies.

However, owners have the responsibility to conduct reference checks to determine tenant suitability based on rental payment history, housekeeping, damages above normal wear and tear, disturbances to neighbors, etc. Owners may ask the CHA for prior landlord contact information, unit inspection information, and documented problems with prior tenancies to assist them in making informed tenant selections. You may have several tenants in the program interested in your unit. It is your job to decide who is the most qualified candidate based on renter history and references.

How will I know if the prospective tenant who calls me or comes to see my unit is a Housing Choice Voucher Program participant?
To verify if a prospective tenant is an actual program participant and eligible to move to your unit, please ask the family to show you a copy of their Housing Voucher. The Housing Voucher would have been issued within the last 60 days from the Chester Housing Authority, or have an approved extension period.

How will I know if the prospective tenant can afford the unit?
A family with a current voucher will also have a calculation worksheet that will have an estimated voucher subsidy for the family and the maximum rental the family would be permitted to lease. Prior to searching for a unit, the CHA provides the family with an estimate based on their reported income and their current rental unit and utility costs. Families are not permitted to lease units where their share of the rent to the owner and the average cost of utilities for the unit exceed 40% of their monthly adjusted income.

To meet the affordability requirement, families are advised to lease units with the number of bedrooms that they actually need based on their family size, as larger units generally rent at a higher rate and have higher utility costs. When a family selects a unit, a final determination is made based on the proposed rent and utility costs for the prospective unit.

How much rent can I charge?
In addition to meeting the affordability test for the family, proposed rents must be reasonable for the location, size, and number of bedrooms, age, condition, services and amenities of comparable, unassisted units. The CHA has a database of recently leased units in various neighborhoods throughout Chester and Delaware County to make this determination. If comparable unit information does not support the proposed rent, owners are welcome to submit comparable unit information for leased, unassisted units to support their proposed rent. Local realtors also provide comparable unit information for privately rented units.

What happens after I select the tenant?
Once you have made your tenant selection, you are required to have a Certificate of Occupancy inspection from the City of Chester or other local municipality. A Certificate of Occupancy is required prior to submitting the Request for Tenancy Approval to the Chester Housing Authority. The local building Inspector establishes the number of bedrooms and approves the maximum number of occupants per dwelling unit. Once you receive the Certificate of Occupancy from the local municipality, you must submit your Request for Tenancy Approval documents to the Chester Housing Authority for the Housing Quality Standards inspection. McCright and Associates is the contract inspector for the Chester Housing Authority and the McCright Call Center will contact you directly to schedule the inspection.

When do payments begin?
The initial payment is issued approximately two (2) weeks from the date the HAP Contract is executed and monthly thereafter on or about the first of the month. Please note that the CHA does not receive its funds from HUD until the first business day of the month therefore payments from the CHA to the owner cannot transfer until that time. If the first of the month falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the CHA will not issue payments until Monday at the earliest and upon confirmation of receipt of funds. Owners are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit and to use the landlord access portal on the CHAs' website to monitor issuance of payments. A registration key for the portal is required and is provided at the owner's request.



How often does the housing authority inspect assisted units?

Under current administrative policies, the assisted units in the Housing Choice Voucher Program are inspected biennially. (Every other year) However, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the unit meets housing quality standards throughout the entire time the assisted tenant resides in the unit. McCright and Associates schedules biennial inspection appointments approximately 60 days prior to the biennial anniversary of the last annual inspection date. This ensures that the inspection is completed on time should there be cancellations or missed appointments.

Why is my unit getting inspected again?
Approximately 10% of all recently inspected units are randomly selected for quality assurance inspections. This is an important to monitor the quality and consistency of the inspections and provides a training opportunity for the inspectors when necessary.

Who sets up reinspection?
If the reinspection is for an initial lease-up, the owner must contact McCright and Associates, CHA’s inspection contractor to let them know they are ready for reinspection. For biennial, complaint, or quality control inspections with non-emergency deficiencies, the reinspections are scheduled by McCright approximately 28 days from the first inspection. For emergency deficiencies, the exigent health and safety deficiencies must be corrected and confirmed complete in 24 hours.

Why were my payments put on abatement?
In accordance with HUD regulations, the CHA must abate or stop housing assistance payments to owners for units that do not meet housing quality standards following the corrective action period. Exigent health and safety deficiencies require correction in 24 hours. Owners have 30 days or longer with an approved extension to complete required repairs. If repairs are not completed within 30 days or the approved extension period, payment will be abated. The Department of Housing and Urban

Development establishes the rules regarding enforcement of the housing quality standards. The HAP Contract requires the unit to be maintained in accordance with housing quality standards throughout the tenancy. The inspection is a measure of compliance with the owner’s obligations under the HAP Contract. It is not to be used as a tool to generate work orders and report back to the owner unit condition. Owners need to check their units regularly to ensure compliance with the lease and program rules.



(Change of Ownership)

I am selling my property; do I need to do anything?
Under the terms of the Housing Assistance Payments Contract, owners under a HAP Contract are required to notify the housing authority (email or letter) when the property is going on the market.

When the owner has an agreement of sale, the owner must notify the housing authority again and provide the name and contact information of the buyer and the anticipated closing date.

The CHA will contact the buyer and provide the documents related to the owner’s participation in the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

I am the new owner of a property where a voucher holder lives, how do I get paid?
The buyer will need to complete a release for a criminal records check, submit a W-9, and provide direct deposit authorization for issuance of the housing.

I am the new owner and I want to raise the rent and/or make changes to the lease. How do I do that?
If the tenant has been under contract in the unit for more than 12 months, then the owner may provide a 60-day notice to the tenant regarding the rent increase, the offer of new lease, and or other change in the provisions of the existing lease. The owner is to provide notice to the housing authority at the same time notice is provided to the program participant. If you offer a new lease, the owner will also execute a new HAP Contract with CHA. The new lease and new HAP Contract bind both the tenant and owner for 12 months unless there is a mutual agreement to terminate the lease.