Frequently Asked Questions

Questions for Applicants

How do I apply for HCV (Section 8) or another waitlist?

All applications are taken online by going to our Online Application.

What if I need to make changes or updates to my application?

All changes or updates can be made online by going to our Online Application.

I've just applied, how long will I have to wait for help?

HCV (Section 8) wait list could take 4-5 years from the date & time you applied. All other wait lists are contingent upon program turnover. An applicant may have to wait an undetermined amount of years before their name will reach the top of the list.

Why was my application denied?

You may have answered 'YES' to a pre-qualifier question. If you answered 'YES' in error, you will need to start your application over.

What do I do if I have forgotten my password?

You will need to reset your password by clicking the 'Forgot Password' link on the login page of the Online Application.

Who do I contact if I want more information about a property?

Please call the nearest Housing Authority office to the property. You may obtain this information by going to 'About Us' and selecting 'Local Area Offices'.

Where am I on the waiting lists?

The Housing Authority does not give out position numbers on the waiting list, simply because your position fluctuates as new applicants are added and others are taken off the waiting lists. Your number would not tell you how much longer you would have to wait.

Do I have to be a county resident to be assisted?

No. However, the Housing Authority does give a preference to those persons on the waiting list who are living, going to school, or working in Tulare County.

I am a person with disabilities, will I get housing more quickly?

Persons with disabilities will be housed before single persons under the age of 62.

Do you have emergency housing or emergency assistance?

Unfortunately, the Housing Authority does not have emergency housing available.

I have a landlord who is willing to rent to me under the HCV (Section 8) program. Can I get a Voucher immediately?

The Housing Authority does give a preference to applicants who are "lease-in-place", meaning they are living in a unit where the owner accepts HCV (Section 8). The Owner must complete the landlord participation form and provide us with a copy of the lease, in order to qualify for this preference. This preference is only implemented if HATC’s leasing rate falls below 97%.

I'm homeless, can you help me?

Unfortunately, the Housing Authority does not have emergency housing available.

My family is getting evicted, how can you help?

Unfortunately, the Housing Authority does not have emergency housing available.

Questions About HCV (Section 8) for Property Owners

What are the main benefits of the program to the landlord?

Guaranteed prompt payment of part of the rent each month; decreased vacancy rates and delinquencies; reduced turnovers; free annual inspections by housing professionals to help landlords stay informed about the condition of their property and help prevent deterioration; greater ability of families to pay an affordable rent.

What kind of paperwork is involved when a landlord decides to participate?

Once you have reached an agreement with a potential candidate, you will need to complete a Request for Tenancy Approval form. This form requests basic information, such as the address of the unit, the monthly rental fee and the utilities the tenant will be required to pay. You will also be required to negotiate a lease agreement with the potential client. After your unit has passed inspection, you will be required to sign a contract with the Housing Authority. Every year, you will be required to go through a recertification process. Your lease will not be binding until after the unit has passed inspection and you have signed a contract with the Housing Authority.

What kind of housing is eligible?

Any type of rental housing that meets the HCV (Section 8) property standards is eligible (single-family homes to high-rise apartments, located anywhere in Tulare County).

Who are the tenants participating in the program?

Program participants include low-income families and elderly, disabled or handicapped individuals whose incomes do not exceed established limits. The program assists a broad range of people. You, as a landlord, are encouraged to use your normal tenant-screening procedures. In fact, the Housing Authority is not allowed to screen HCV (Section 8) participants, and we encourage you to do so. We are required to give you the family's current address and landlord information in order for you to check. The landlord and tenant agree on the rental amount. Landlords should discuss the rent with prospective tenants to be sure it is within the family's budget. The rent amount cannot be more than comparable market rents.

How does the landlord receive the full rent payment?

The landlord will receive two (2) separate payments each month. The Housing Authority will make a housing assistance payment each month. The tenant will pay the rest of the rent directly to the landlord.

How much can a landlord charge in rent for a HCV (Section 8) unit?

Landlords can charge a “Comparable” rent relative to the open market. This is called “Rent Reasonableness”. Comparable means similar in size, age, amenities, and market area within a community. On the MTW Demonstration Program a family would receive a flat subsidy, and it is up to the family to decide if they can afford to pay the difference.

On the traditional HUD Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program, families are not allowed to pay more than 40% of their income toward rent, including utility payments when they first rent a unit. “Rent Reasonableness” still applies, but the family’s maximum would depend on their individual circumstances. The higher their income, the higher their rent limit. A landlord should call the family’s eligibility worker to discuss the family’s limit taking into consideration what utilities the family would have to pay and whether appliances were gas or electric.

How much can a landlord ask for a security deposit?

Security deposits collected prior to the owner and tenant signing the Request for Lease Approval may remain at the amount collected. However, the owner may want to adjust the deposit amount if it is less than the family’s Total Tenant Payment (TTP). The maximum an owner can collect after signing the request is an amount equal to two month’s “contract” rent.

Can a landlord's present tenant stay in-place and still get assistance?

Yes, they can, if the tenant is eligible, the dwelling qualifies, and the rent is within program limits. The tenant will have to fill out an application and wait their turn for funding on the waiting list.

What are the landlord's rights and responsibilities with participation in the HCV (Section 8) Housing Choice Voucher program?

The landlord's rights are the same as those in a normal tenant/landlord relationship. The landlord selects and screens the tenant with whom a lease is signed. Owners must understand that the Housing Authority does not screen the families on the program. The landlord is responsible for managing and maintaining the unit. Tenants violating their lease are subject to eviction by the landlord. Eviction notice must state the cause of the eviction. The landlord only has to give the Housing Authority copies of any eviction notices served on the family. The landlord is responsible for assuring that only the approved assisted family members are occupying the unit, or the family will be violating the terms of the lease with the owner.

Does a landlord have to renew the contract every year?

If the Landlord chooses not to renew the contract, a State of California Supreme Court Ruling in the case of Wasatch Property Management v. Syriah Degrate requires that any Landlord under the HCV (Section 8) Program must give a 90-day notice to the TENANT if they do not want to renew a contract. This does not apply to terminations of the lease for cause. The landlord must provide the Housing Authority a copy of the 90-day notice that was served. We would then recertify the family to move 60 days prior to the anniversary date.

If for any reason there is a delay in making this decision not to renew, such as if we cannot agree on a rent increase, you would then have to serve a 90-day notice and we would have to extend the current contract until the tenant could be given the full 90 days. Again, this does not apply to terminations for cause, or “Mutual Lease Terminations” agreed to by both the tenant and landlord.

If the landlord's expenses increase, can the rent be adjusted?

Contract rents can be increased on the contract anniversary date, if requested by the landlord, but may increase the tenant's share of rent, and cannot exceed comparable market units. Requests must be in writing 60 days prior to the contract anniversary date.

Owner obligations:

The owner must maintain the units in accordance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS); certify that to the best of their knowledge, only the approved family members are currently occupying the unit; inform the Housing Authority about any known lead-based paint in the unit. The contract rent must not exceed rents charged by the owner for other comparable unassisted units and the amounts specified by the Housing Authority must be the only payments received as rent for the unit.

Owners do not have the right to participate in the HCV (Section 8) program and may be barred for:

  • Violation of obligations under a HAP contract
  • Committing fraud in connection with any federal housing program
  • Engaging in drug trafficking
  • A history of non-compliance with HQS
  • Not paying state or local real estate taxes, fines or assessments
  • A history or practice of renting units that fail local or state housing codes

If you are a landlord with units that you would like added to, or removed from, the unit referral listing, you may call the Housing Authority office nearest the location of any of your vacant, or soon to be vacant, units. You may also call 559-627-3700 ext. 0, to add or remove unit listings. Since the list is shared across the offices and on the website it is only necessary to call one office to add units to, or remove units from, this list.