This page contains information for current and prospective Housing Choice Voucher landlords. Scroll down to select a topic that you would like additional information on.
What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is administered locally by the Housing Authority. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is designed to help low-income families rent safe and decent housing on the open market in Hagerstown, MD. The program is a three way partnership between the family, the housing authroity, and the landlord.
How do landlords participate?
Landlords become involved by agreeing to rent to a family that has Housing Choice Voucher assistance. Families contact the landlord directly, or landlords may list available rental properties, free of charge, online at Maryland Housing Search using the button below. From the listing, eligible families contact landlords and landlords screen and select a family. The property is then inspected for compliance with HUD standards. After the unit passes the inspection, a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract is executed between the landlord and the Housing Authority to begin subsidy payments, and a lease is executed between the landlord and the tenant.
Benefits of Becoming a Section 8 Landlord
HHA wants to reach out to new landlords in Hagerstown to promote the benefits of becoming a Housing Choice Voucher landlord. In addition to the satisfaction of knowing that you are providing safe, decent housing to low income families in our community, the following are a few of the benefits:
Owners have security in knowing at least a portion of the rent will be paid timely each month.
Rent amounts are based on Fair Market Rents determined and published by HUD.
HHA will regularly inspect your property to ensure it is being properly maintained.
Landlords use their own lease and set the terms and conditions in the lease.
The video on the right will provide additional information regarding the Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 program. For further information, please visit our FAQs or the Section 8 program page.
Payment Standards and Fair Market Rents
The subsidy for most families is the difference between 30 percent of the family’s adjusted monthly income and a “payment standard” that is based on the HUD-published Fair Market Rents (FMRs). If the rent is more than the payment standard, the family pays a larger share. A family may not pay more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income for rent when the family first receives Housing Choice Voucher assistance, or when a family moves to a new unit.
No cap exists on the rent. However the unit rent, plus any utility allowance for family-paid utilities, must be reasonable in relation to comparable units on the local rental housing market. The following are HUD-published Fair Market Rents and Housing Authority Payment Standards for the local housing market:
Fair Market Rents
The HAP Contract
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract is executed between HHA and the property owner or landlord. This contract is entered to provide assistance for the family under the Housing Choice Voucher program. The HAP contract is displayed to the right. To learn more about the federal regulations governing this program, click the learn more button button below.
Inspections are required of all Housing Choice Voucher properties. This section will provide you with insight on what our inspectors will check during these inspections.
For buildings built prior to 1978. If the property is to be rented to a family with a child under the age of 6 and/or a preganant person, there can be no chipping or peeling paint anywhere on the exterior of the building, including any outbuildings, or on any part of the interior of the building that the tenant has access to.
- Handrails are required for all stairs with 4 or more steps
- Guardrails around any porch over 30″ above grade
- All outbuildings are in good repair and are safe
- All fences and gates are intact and in proper working order
- All walkways are free of tripping hazards
- Spouting is in good working condition
- Yard is free of trash, debris and noxious weeds
Interior Walls and Ceilings
- Surfaces are to be free of holes and cracks
- All wall and ceiling covering material has to be secure and in good repair
- Sink and all hardware has to be properly installed and free from leaks and/or obstructions
- Range hood, if present, has to work properly-filter needs to be clean and intact
- Maintains a constant proper temperature
- Has all door bars and brackets
- Has all shelves and drawer
- Door gaskets are free from tears and/or splits
- Must be clean
- Maintains proper cooking temperature
- All burners must work as intended
- Oven door gasket
If a utility is to be paid by the tenant, then that utility can only serve the unit occupied by the tenant, and the utility has to be
separately metered. All tenant paid utilities must be put in tenants name prior to unit passing inspection.
Required utilities are:
Smoke detectors are required on all habitable levels and basements and be in compliance with all city and fire codes.
- All glass and glazing material has to be intact-small cracks in the window glass can be caulked using clear silicone caulking
- Need to open and hold open using window hardware-can not be propped open
- All 1st floor windows have to be lockable
- All windows with access from the outside have to be lockable
- A minimum of I intact window screen is required per room in which a window is present. All screens must be in good
condition. (No holes or tears.)
- All floors are to be free of holes and cracks
- All floor covering material has to be clean and in good repair
- Bathroom and Kitchen floors have to be impervious to water
- Sink, toilet, bathtub/shower and all hardware have to be properly installed and free from leaks and/or obstructions
- Stoppers or stopper mechanisms are required for bathtub and sink
- Bathtub faucet has to be above the flood rim level of the tub
- Must have a window that opens to the outside, or a mechanical vent that exhaust to the outside
Certifications and Licenses
- Any building built pre-1950 has to have a Maryland Department of the Environment Lead Paint Inspection certificate. This inspection must be done between tenants
- A City of Hagerstown rental license-Check with the City of Hagerstown
All sleeping areas (living room, dining room and bedrooms) are required to have a minimum of 2 separate means of egress. Egress windows have to have a minimum of 5.7 square feet of openable window space.
- Need to shut and latch
- No double keyed deadbolts
- No locks on the outside of an interior door
- All door hardware must be intact and functioning as intended
- All habitable rooms must have a minimum of2 separate and remote receptacles
- Kitchen and bathrooms must have a permanently installed light fixture.
- Bathrooms have to have a minimum of I receptacle. All receptacles in the bathroom have to be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacles
- All receptacles within 6 feet of the kitchen sink have to be GFCI protected
- Light fixtures designed to have a globe or shade, must have a globe or shade
- All light bulbs need to be in place and functional
- Floor mounted receptacles have to have an exterior cover
- All exterior receptacles have to be GFCI protected and have an exterior cover
- Receptacle covers and switch plates have to be free from cracks and/or breaks
- No missing knock-outs or circuits in the panel box
- Exposed electrical connections/splices must be in approved junction boxes
Living Room and Bedroom
- A window with screen
- 2 separate and remote receptacles
- Ceiling light fixture and/or switch controlled outlet
- If the room is a pass through to another room, then the doors have to open into the farthest room
- Furnace emergency shut off switch has to be at a remote location away from the furnace-Top of basement stairs
- The discharge relief pipe on the water heater has to extend to within 4-l0″ of the floor, and be the size as the pressure relief valve.
- House numbers have to be 4″ in height and visible from the street, and are also required in the rear if the unit backs to an
- Dryer must be vented to the outside
Frequently Asked Questions
How does participation benefit the landlord?
Landlords receive timely and direct program payments, are assisted in the screening process, and partner with the local housing agency in the provision of decent safe, and sanitary housing to lower-income families. Many owners experience reduced vacancy and turnover expense due to the potential for long-term stable tenancies.
What standards must the property meet?
General health and safety standards specified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), known as Housing Quality Standards (HQS), and portions of the BOCA National Property Maintenance Code. Initial and annual or biennial inspections are made of all properties, which may be duplexes, apartments, single family dwellings, or mobile homes.
How may a landlord obtain information about the suitability of an applicant?
Prior to leasing the unit, the Housing Authority provides landlords with the name and address of the family’s current and prior landlords. Landlords are encouraged to conduct landlord-reference checks. Landlords may also wish to contact utility companies and other creditors. Landlords are encouraged to screen families with regard to: 1) payment of rent and utility bills; 2) caring for a unit; and 3) respecting the rights of others to peaceful enjoyment of their housing.
What is the term of the assisted tenancy?
The term of the assisted tenancy is based on the beginning date of the HAP Contract, which begins when the dwelling passes the inspection and the lease is executed. The initial term of the lease must be for at least one year and must provide for automatic renewal for successive terms (e.g., month-to-month or year-to-year).
May a landlord collect a full security deposit?
Yes. Landlords may collect a deposit not to exceed amounts charged to unassisted families and in accordance with Maryland State Law.
What are the major responsibilities of participating families?
1) comply with the lease and the Family Obligations as specified by HUD regulations; 2) maintain the unit; 3) pay rent portion and utilities when due; 4) report changes in income and family size within 14 days to the Housing Authority; 5) not engage in drug or criminal activity; 6) not allow unauthorized persons to live in the unit.
What are the major responsibilities of landlords?
1) screen the family for suitability; 2) collect the security deposit and rent portion from the family; 3) maintain the unit and provide utilities, appliances, and services as specified in lease; 4) notify the Housing Authority of any known condition that would affect the amount of subsidy.
How does a landlord participate?
Landlords become involved by agreeing to rent to a family that has Section 8 assistance. Families contact the landlord directly, or landlords may list available rental properties, free of charge, online at www.mdhousingsearch.org or by calling 1-877-428-8844. From the listing, eligible families contact landlords and landlords screen and select a family. The property is then inspected for compliance with HUD standards. After the unit passes the inspection, a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract is executed between the landlord and the Housing Authority to begin subsidy payments, and a lease is executed between the landlord and the tenant.
How does a family apply?
A family may complete an application online or in person at the Housing Authority office, located at 35 West Baltimore Street. Applications may also be mailed to the same address. Applicant names are placed on a wait list according to date of application and preference points. The waiting period is for funds to become available to subsidize the next family on the wait list, not for the availability of a unit.
Are there any restrictions on the selection of a family?
Yes, owners (including a principal or other interested party) may not rent to a relative, which includes the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of any member of the family, unless the Housing Authority has determined (and has notified the owner and the family of such determination) that approving rental of the unit, notwithstanding such relationship, would provide reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities.
May a landlord use a private market lease?
Yes, because the Housing Authority does not provide the lease. The lease must contain terms consistent with federal and state requirements.
How may a lease terminate?
After the initial term, the owner and family may terminate without cause. During the initial term the lease may be terminated on grounds of serious and repeated lease violations.
What are the major responsibilities of the Housing Authority?
1) determine family eligibility and who may live in the unit; 2) approve unit rent to owner and determine subsidy and family portion; 3) make subsidy payment to the landlord each month; 4) conduct required inspections and family certifications; and 5) determine whether to terminate assistance to a participant family for violation of family obligations.
How is the rental subsidy amount determined?
The subsidy for most families is the difference between 30 percent of the family’s adjusted monthly income and a “payment standard” that is based on the HUD-published Fair Market Rents (FMRs). If the rent is more than the payment standard, the family pays a larger share. A family may not pay more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income for rent when the family first receives Section 8 assistance, or when a family moves to a new unit.
No cap exists on the rent. However the unit rent, plus any utility allowance for family-paid utilities, must be reasonable in relation to comparable units on the local rental housing market.
The Hagerstown Housing Authority has partnered with Yardi Systems
to expand our ability to interact with landlords online. The landlord portal will display information
on scheduled and completed inspections, direct payment setup, and more!
Use one of the methods below to contact us.
35 West Baltimore Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740