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Landlord FAQ

How to become a Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 owner?

  1. List your property with
    • Please be advised that listing your property with WPBHA does not guarantee a renter.
  2. The owner interviews and screens all prospective tenants.
  3. Once the owner/ landlord approves the tenant, the owner/landlord completes the Owner Information Packet, and the owner and tenant complete the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) package. All paperwork (including all required documents) must be returned to the Housing Authority by both the tenant and the owner or the owner only.
  4. Once WPBHA receives the completed paperwork from both the tenant and the owner, the WPBHA will complete the income eligibility and rent reasonable process to ensure the family will qualify for the unit found. If the families' income qualifies them for the unit, an inspection is scheduled within 7-14 working days.
  5. In addition to the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection, WPBHA will also conduct a rent reasonableness survey to determine if the requested rent amount is reasonable to comparable unassisted units in the same geographical area (WPBHA) will not approve a rental rate that exceeds market rates).
  6. Once the unit passes the HQS inspection, the rent is deemed "reasonable," and the move-in date is established, the owner and tenant sign the lease and provide a copy to WPBHA.
  7. The tenant should not move into the unit until it passes the initial inspection and all required paperwork is signed and approved. WPBHA will not pay any rent for a unit until the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract is signed by both WPBHA and the owner.
  8. The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract will be prepared by WPBHA. Please note payments will not be made until after both WPBHA and the owner have signed the HAP contract.
  9. The owner and tenant will both be notified in writing regarding how much rent is to be paid by the tenant and how much will be paid by WPBHA on the family's behalf.
  10. Please visit the WPBHA landlord portal to create an account and track your monthly Housing Assistant Payments.
  11. Tenants are only allowed to pay the family share of rent approved by the WPBHA.  Any additional amount being paid for rent is considered a SIDE PAYMENT: Owners and Tenants will be terminated from the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

What are my rights and responsibilities as an owner?

Owners have the same rights and responsibilities in the Housing Choice Voucher Program as they have with any open market renter, including:

  • Maintain your property in good condition.
  • Complete all necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time upon request by the Housing Authority or tenant, including all 24-hour emergency items. The amount of time that is considered reasonable depends upon the nature of the problem. Usually, 30 days or any approved extension by the Housing Authority.
  • Set reasonable rules for the use of the unit and common areas.
  • Except for emergencies or tenant's requested repairs, do not enter a unit without the tenant's permission and/or proper notice.
  • Collect appropriate security deposit as directed under the program and use it only in accordance with local and state law.
  • Comply with Equal Housing Opportunity requirements.
  • Enforce tenant obligations under your dwelling lease (be fair, firm, and consistent).
  • Take action through the Court system in order to evict a tenant when they violate the lease (no self-help eviction tactics). WPBHA is not a party to the lease.

What are some of the benefits of being a Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 Owner?

Benefits of being a Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 Owner include:

  • Free advertisement and marketing of available units: Owners are welcome to list their units through
  • Owners select their own tenants: Owners are encouraged to screen tenants. Owners are not required to rent to a family who does not meet their non-discriminatory screening requirements.
  • Quality Housing: The Housing Authority conducts an initial property inspection, annual inspections, and special inspections upon the request of the owner or tenant. Along with the owner's periodic checks, these inspections help ensure that the property is well maintained.
  • Guaranteed monthly housing assistance payments: The portion of rent paid by the WPBHA is paid to the owner/agent each month
  • Reduced amount of paperwork: The WPBHA prepares all Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts. Owners complete the Request for Tenancy Approval forms and provide the executed lease. Most of the required paperwork is prepared by the WPBHA.

How can I advertise the property for rent?

The Housing Authority has partnered with, which provides an enhanced program to list rental properties online. Listings are available to potential Housing Choice Voucher tenants seeking apartment units, duplexes, single-family homes, or townhomes in the private market. If you have any questions regarding registering, creating, or viewing property listings, please contact the toll-free helpline at 1.866.466.7328 or visit the web page at

How can I tell if my unit is eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher Program?

Any type of housing may be rented - apartments, houses, duplexes, row houses, etc. - as long as the unit is located within the jurisdiction of the West Palm Beach Housing Authority (Palm Beach County). The unit must meet HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and qualify as an eligible housing type, and the rent must be reasonable based on housing type, unit size, and location of the unit.

How can an owner increase rent?

Rent increases are not automatically implemented. The owner/agent must give the tenant at least a sixty (60) day written notice of an increase before it can go into effect.

A copy of the Rent Increase Request Form with the tenant's signature must be submitted to the WPBHA before the rent increase can take effect. The new requested rent must be reasonable in comparison with other similar units in the area. Once the WPBHA receives the notice of rent increase, a rent comparability study is conducted to determine if the new rent for the unit is reasonable in comparison to unassisted private market units in the area. If it is determined that the rent is not reasonable, the WPBHA will contact the owner/agent and advise him/her of a reasonable rental amount for the unit. If the owner does not agree to the amount, the Housing Authority and owner/agent will have to negotiate another acceptable amount, or the owner/agent can provide the family with a non-renewal notice or not approve a new participant for the unit.

What are the terms of the lease?

The WPBHA requires the tenant and owner to enter into a written lease agreement and must review and approve all leases before the owner can use their lease for the program. The initial term of the lease must be for one year. The lease will not automatically convert to a month-to-month lease; the owner and tenant must renew the lease for another lease term or provide an extension for tenants to reside in the unit on a month-to-month basis. The owner must agree to include the HUD Tenancy Addendum as an attachment to the lease. If the lease contradicts anything in the HUD Tenancy Addendum or program regulations, the addendum and program regulations shall prevail.

How much may an owner charge for the security deposit?

Tenants are responsible for their own security deposit in accordance with State and Local laws. Owners are allowed to charge a security deposit similar to what is being charged to renters in the private rental market. The Housing Authority prohibits security deposits in excess of one month's approved contract rent. Owner's security deposit amounts charged to a Housing Choice Voucher family must be consistent with the unassisted units on the private open market.

What if the owner wants to terminate the lease?

If the owner wants to terminate the lease, the owner must give the tenant a notice WITH CAUSE and with the proper action according to the State of Florida Landlord Tenant Law. The owner and tenant can also mutually agree to terminate the lease. Force evictions, such as changing the locks, turning utilities off, and illegally taking possession of the unit under false pretenses, are illegal in Florida and will subject the owner to severe criminal charges and civil penalties. An owner may choose not to renew the lease at the end of the lease term. The owner must give the family a minimum of thirty (30) days' notice to vacate the unit. Due to the time required to process a family to move, it would be advantageous for the owner to provide the tenant with sixty (60) days' notice to vacate. The WPBHA does not conduct move-out inspections. Owners must conduct their own move-out inspections of the unit.

What to do when you find someone who is interested in your unit?

Owners must screen the prospective tenant carefully to ensure that you are making a good selection. The WPBHA does not screen families for suitability or behavior. We only screen families for income eligibility and criminal background. Therefore, the WPBHA cannot provide a reference as to their expected behavior as tenants. An owner may use any or all of the following screening procedures to approve or deny an applicant:

  • Credit Check
  • Criminal Background
  • References

The WPBHA strongly encourages owners to screen prospective tenants and to use all or any of the above screening methods as long as they do not discriminate. Discrimination includes any tenant selection based solely on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or handicap (disability). Your satisfaction as an owner will be directly proportionate to how well you screen potential renters. Screening and selection are completely the owner's responsibility.

What should I expect from Housing Choice Voucher tenants?

  • Pay their rent on time.
  • Keep the unit clean.
  • Maintain the exterior of the residence and yard.
  • Avoid illegal activities by household members and guests.
  • Allow Housing Authority Inspectors access to the unit to conduct inspections.
  • Permit owner or their agent and designated repairmen access to the unit for repairs.
  • Avoid damage to property by household members and guests.
  • Refrain from disturbing others (respecting the right to peaceful enjoyment by their neighbors).
  • Allow only those occupants on the lease to reside in the unit.
  • Comply with the terms and conditions of the dwelling lease and tenancy addendum.

How much can I rent my unit for?

The WPBHA is required to use the HUD-approved Small Area Fair Market Rents based on zip codes and bedroom size as guidelines for determining the maximum subsidy we can pay for a family. Each unit's rent must be reasonable and comparable to unassisted private market rental units of similar size, location, amenities, quality, unit type, maintenance, utilities, and services. In no case can the rent be more than comparable available unassisted units. Current Small Area Fair Market Rents can be accessed from the WPBHA website. Families may not be qualified for a unit if household income does not support the current Small Area Fair Market Rental Amounts.

Does the family pay for utilities?

Yes, unless the owner includes utilities in the rent. The owner decides which utilities they will provide as a part of the rent and which utilities the family will be responsible for. Utility services, such as water, gas, and lights, must be on at the time of the move-in inspection. Utilities that the Section 8 participant pays for cannot be master metered or shared with another unit or common area and must be billed directly by the utility service provider.

If a family is responsible for paying the utilities, the WPBHA will credit the family with a utility allowance which lowers the tenant rental share.

Utility Allowances Schedule (Multi-Family, Single-Family, and Energy Efficient Apartment)

Utility responsibilities dictate the type of utilities that are in the unit (gas, water, heating, electric stove, etc.) and whether the owner or tenant pays for the utility. This information factors into the amount of assistance a tenant will receive and must be updated with WPBHA if changed.

What will the inspector be looking for?

The housing inspector will be checking to see if the unit is in compliance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS). These are minimum standards that any unit rented under the Housing Choice Voucher Program must meet.

When can I expect my first check?

After the lease and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract has been executed, the contract is processed for payment. Generally, the first payment takes approximately 30 to 45 days. Payments will be made via direct deposit into your savings or checking account each month. Landlords are encouraged to visit the landlord portal to review monthly payments made.

Is my unit inspected after the initial inspection?

Yes. The WPBHA will inspect each unit annually to ensure program compliance and will also conduct quality control inspections on select units throughout the year. WPBHA will also conduct special inspections upon request in the case of an emergency or complaint by the owner, tenant, Housing Authority, or a general complaint.

Can I cancel the WPBHA contract if I'm not satisfied?

No. Only the WPBHA can cancel the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract. An owner is free to terminate a lease agreement pursuant to the State and local laws. Once the lease agreement ends, the HAP Contract terminates automatically.

How long can I rent to a Housing Choice Voucher Family?

The initial lease term is for one year. After the initial term, the lease must be renewed by the owner yearly if the family continues to occupy the unit and the owner is receiving Housing Assistance Payment. Payments continue indefinitely as long as there are available funds and the unit, family and owner are in compliance with program requirements, including family income.

Can a voucher be used to rent from a relative?

Housing Choice Voucher holders cannot rent from their immediate relatives. This includes the participant's mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, grandchildren, step-family, in-laws, or any member of his or her household. A family can rent a unit from a relative as a reasonable accommodation only if the head of household or a member of the household is a person with a disability. The family must show that renting the unit provides reasonable accommodation. WPBHA must approve the reasonable accommodation.

What types of housing can someone rent with a Section 8 Voucher?

Section 8 Vouchers can be used to rent single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, and cottages.

Does the owner have to be present when the inspection occurs?

No. There must be a responsible adult present, age 18 or over, to let the inspector into the unit. We advise that owners be present for the initial inspection. This is an opportunity for you to find out firsthand why the unit did not pass inspection.

Who is responsible for repairs?

As the owner and property manager, you are responsible for basic maintenance and normal wear and tear of the unit. You must make repairs that are your responsibility within a reasonable amount of time (30 days), or the WPBHA will hold or abate your Housing Assistance Payments. Damages caused by your tenant, members of your tenant's household, or your tenant's guest are the tenant's responsibility.

What happens if the tenant damages the unit?

As with any tenancy, repairs for tenant-caused damages are the responsibility of the tenant. The WPBHA does not reimburse the owner for tenant caused damages. You should collect a security deposit and enforce your lease provision in the same way you would with any other tenants you rent to on the open market. You should seek reimbursement from the tenant for any damages or repair costs paid to the owner on the tenant's behalf. If the unit does not pass the annual inspection because of something your tenant is responsible for, then your tenant will need to have repairs made within a reasonable amount of time (generally 30 days unless an emergency 24-hour item), or the family's assistance will be terminated.

Can I transfer the lease and contract to a new owner?

The lease and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract may be transferred to a new property owner. The new owner will need to provide the WPBHA with proof of ownership documentation, and all required new owner information in order to begin receiving the Housing Assistance Payments.

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