Once SAHA approves an eligible family’s housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and SAHA sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone — tenant, landlord and SAHA — has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program:
Tenant’s Obligations: When a family selects a housing unit, and SAHA approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year the landlord may initiate a new lease or allow the family to remain in the unit on a month-to-month lease.
When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify SAHA of any changes in income or family composition.
Landlord’s Obligations: The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program’s housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with SAHA.
Housing Authority’s Obligations: SAHA administers the voucher program locally. SAHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and SAHA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet the owner’s obligations under the lease, SAHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. SAHA must reexamine the family’s income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least once every two years to ensure that it meets minimum housing quality standards.
HUD’s Role: To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow SAHA to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also
pays SAHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites SAHA to submit applications for funds for additional housing vouchers. Applications are then reviewed and funds awarded to the selected PHAs on a competitive basis. HUD monitors SAHA’s administration of the program to ensure program rules are properly followed.