For Landlords Considering Housing Choice Voucher
Are there any advantages to accepting tenants with Housing Choice Vouchers?
Yes. You can have confidence that you are getting good renters. Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) participants go through a vetting process which includes a credit check and criminal background check. Participants are also required to abide by certain rules which include paying their portion of the rent on time, keeping the property up to Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) housing quality standards and not creating problems with neighbors. You will be paid on time. A portion of the rent is paid by the renter and a portion is paid by the HCV program. The County will always pay the program portion on the first of the month through direct deposit. The renter is required to pay their portion on time each month. Your property will be kept in good condition. The James City County Housing Office conducts annual inspections on all properties on the HCV program. These inspections ensure that both the tenant and the owner are aware of deficiencies with the house or repairs that need to be made. This inspection is in addition to any inspections that you choose to make as the property owner.
Can I charge the same rent as I normally would charge non-HVC tenants?
Yes. The HCV program requires that rental rates be within a range that is reasonable for comparable units in this region. This means that you will always receive payment that is standard for rental units in this area no matter who your renter may be. The Area Median Income and Fair Market Rent Values can be found here.
Can I set the terms of the lease?
Yes. We encourage you to set very specific expectations with your tenant including inspections, who is responsible for various repairs, and the length of the lease. The terms of the lease are up to you.
What if a Housing Choice Voucher renter damages my property?
HCV renters are required to keep rental units up to HUD’s housing quality standards for maintenance and housekeeping. Understanding that they can lose their voucher by violating the rules is an effective motivator for keeping the property in good condition. In addition, as with any renter, you have the right to charge your tenant for the repair of any damages that they cause beyond normal wear. HCV holders cannot continue in the program if they have unresolved debts to landlords.
Will I have to deal with governmental red tape if I accept voucher holders?
We do our best to make your experience with the HCV process as simple as possible. You are required to keep your property up to the standards specified by HUD’s housing quality standards guidelines and to accept payments via direct deposit. Other than that, the program is very simple.
Will the County provide a tenant immediately?
The housing office will provide the information about your property to voucher holders who are looking for a new unit to rent. It is up to that renter to contact you. Renting to HCV clients is not much different than renting to anyone else. The primary difference is that we are assisting with rental payments.
Click on the links below to view the various resources from James City County, the Commonwealth of Virginia and HUD.