Information For Landlords
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program offers landlords:
Guaranteed rent payments
Free rental advertising
Freedom to choose your own tenants
Exemption from the Rent Stabilization Program*
Join the hundreds of rental property owners and managers who are participating in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in the City of Berkeley.
Guaranteed Rent Payments
We’ll pay our portion of the rent on the first business day of every month directly to you as long as the family is eligible for assistance AND the unit meets minimum Housing Quality Standards. And because the tenant’s portion of rent is based on the tenant’s income and is always affordable (we make adjustments for temporary hardships like the loss of a job), the tenant is more likely to pay the rent on time.
We maintain an updated listing of vacant (or soon to be vacant) units that the owner is willing to rent to families with Section 8 assistance. The listing is updated weekly (Thursdays) and posted on our website and at our office. This service is free to the listing landlord and the seeking tenant.
In addition to the inspection you may already conduct at your rental property , we’ll send a trained inspector out to the unit prior to the contract and every 10 months thereafter to check for safety hazards and compliance with Housing Quality Standards. We may also alert you to preventative maintenance issues, thereby reducing the chance of major repairs down the road.
Choose Your Own Tenant
The Housing Authority determines a family’s eligibility to receive rental assistance. As the owner, you screen the prospective renter for suitability. You are encouraged to follow your standard screening process which may include (a) a rental application, (b) an application fee, (c ) conducting landlord references, and (d) a credit check for things like prior eviction actions or failure to pay basic utilities.
A. Security Deposit/Late Fees
You can charge the same security deposit and late fees that you charge other renters without Section 8 assistance.
B. Lease Enforcement
You are encouraged to enforce the rules of your lease just as you do with an open market tenant as long as your actions are consistent with your normal operating procedures and do not violate any fair housing laws. You can terminate the lease at any time for “good cause,” and after the initial lease period ends, for any legal reason as long as you give proper notice.
C. Rent Increases
After the initial lease term, you are free to raise your tenant’s rent as long as it is (i) not more than what you would charge other tenants, (ii) is comparable to other similar unit rents in the neighborhood and (iii) the rent does not exceed the Payment Standard.
Who Qualifies for Assistance?
Renters who qualify for the program include:
Working families struggling to get by
Senior (62 or older) or disabled persons trying to make do with their limited social security or disability insurance payments
Individuals in training to move from welfare to the independence of employment.
The process is very easy.
1. Complete a Request for Tenancy Approval. This form requests basic information about the property, such as the address, when the unit will be available for inspection and occupancy and how much you are requesting for rent and security deposit.
2. Include a HUD required Section 8 Tenancy Addendum with your lease.
3. Provide us a copy of the lease signed by yourself and the tenant.
4. Provide proof of ownership, and tax identification.
5. Sign our Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract confirming our commitment to pay you the rental subsidy, and your commitment to housing the family and providing the necessary property management services. Our first payment is generally processed to you within 7 working days of receipt of the signed lease and contract.
Exemption from Rent Control
All units rented under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program are exempt from registration and payment of fees with the City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Program, provided the Rent requested is not above the Payment Standard. You can also request a rent increase after the first year of the contract, provided: (a) the rent remains reasonable for the unit, and (b) the new rent does not exceed the Payment Standard.