When will the Section 8 waiting list reopen?
A. The Indianapolis Housing Agency opened its
Section 8 waiting list and accepted
applications from June 22, 2004 through June
26, 2006. The waiting list is currently
closed and IHA is not accepting
applications for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
notified by mail of their status in August 2004. The Agency
is unsure of when the wait list will reopen.
However, from past experience it will likely
be approximately 2-4 years.
How does Section 8 differ from Public Housing?
How does it fit into the IHA mission?
A. Public Housing communities are owned and
operated by Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA)
and Public Housing tenants rent directly from
IHA. Section 8 tenants, however, rent from
private property owners and applicable rental
assistance is provided by IHA through its HCV
program. The rental properties may be apartments
, town homes, detached
single family homes, duplexes, or even mobile
homes. Section 8 Program participants are
issued vouchers guaranteeing the property
owner that Section 8 will pay a certain
portion of the tenant's rent. The amount paid
will differ from tenant to tenant depending on
family size and income. The program
participant and owner execute a lease, just as
the property owner would do with any other
renter who does not receive assistance.
However, Section 8 also executes a contract
with the owner specifying the amount Section 8
will pay toward the rent.
Q. What does it take to qualify for Section
A. Section 8 participants must fall into the
"Very Low Income" or "Low
Income" category as defined by the
Department of Housing and Urban Development.
At present, a family of four in Marion County
can have a total income of up to $ 32,550 a
year to be considered Very Low Income, or up
to $ 52,100 to be considered Low Income. These
figures (effective March 2006)
are based on the median family income for
Marion County as designated by HUD. The
participant’s portion of the rent cannot
exceed 40% (percent) of the family's adjusted
monthly income during their initial year under
lease. Criminal History checks are conducted
on all applicants and household members 18
years or older. The HUD One Strike policy
prohibits admissions of applicants for three
years if any household member was evicted from
federally assisted housing for drug related
criminal activity. The three year period
begins on the date of eviction. In addition
history is reviewed for violent
or drug-related offenses or sexual offenses
against minors, as determined by police
reports obtained through IHA's Public Safety
Department. . Persons convicted and subject to
lifetime registration as a sex offender with
the State will not be considered for
assistance. Section 8 does not check
applicants' rental histories but strongly
encourages property owners to do so. A
property owner may refuse an applicant based
on his/her past history as a renter (including
credit checks and reports of property damage
or disruptive behavior), just as with any
other rental applicant.
Q. How does a Section 8 participant find
places to rent?
A. All new Section 8 participants must attend
a briefing at IHA in order to receive their
vouchers. Availability listings (an
available housing units, reported by
Landlords seeking clients to rent their units)
can be obtained at
indyhousingnow.org or by calling (toll free)
The service offers searches by
location, size, type, desired rent range, etc.
website lists affordable rentals, Section 8
rentals, tax credit properties, and special
needs housing. Families are also encouraged to
use other means of seeking housing throughout
Marion County. Checking newspaper ads is one
example; many apartment complexes include
"Section 8 Welcome" in the wording
of their ads.
Q. How are participants assured of good
A. We can't emphasize strongly enough that
participants should see
the property they are planning to rent
before signing anything. We encourage them to
ask neighbors and business owners about the area
and to ask for references
to determine owner/landlord history,
and to keep
in mind they
will not be permitted to
move for at least a year
after using their Section 8 voucher (except
for safety reasons). The Section 8 Inspections
Department performs Housing Quality Standard
Inspections. Prior to move-in, the inspectors
must check the unit against HUD guidelines to
ensure that it will be a safe, sanitary,
decent place to live. If maintenance problems
occur that compromise the participant’s
safety, and the owner will not make repairs,
Section 8 payments to the owner can be
withheld until he or she complies with HUD
requirements. If the owner fails to comply the
contract between IHA and the owner will be
terminated, thus terminating the lease between
the participant and the owner. The family will
be allowed to seek acceptable housing
How does an owner get involved with the
Section 8 Program?
A. See link for Section 8 Owners .
Q. How does the owner select the family?
A. Families who are searching for housing will
contact owners to apply for tenancy. Families
will follow the owner’s standard application
process. IHA encourages owners to screen
all applicants. Owners may do so by
contacting previous owners and conducting
criminal history checks as well as reviewing
credit history information. Remember that IHA
does not screen for suitability; it is the
responsibility of the owner to screen
applicants. However, owners must follow the
same practices as used for non-Section 8
applicants. Owners should become familiar with
federal, state and local fair housing laws and
tenant/owner laws to ensure the screening
criteria applied are not discriminatory. Upon
written request, Section 8 can provide owners
with a list of previous owners for a specific
client (if available).
Q. What is the Purpose of the Request for
Tenancy Approval (RTA)?
A. When the owner agrees to rent to a Section
8 family, the owner and family will complete
the RTA. The RTA form lists information on the
type and size of unit, year constructed, proposed
rent for the unit, security deposit requested,
and the date unit will be available for
inspection. The form will also indicate who
actually owns the unit, who is responsible for
the utilities, who will supply the appliances,
the amount of the security deposit, the most
recent rent charged for the unit, comparable
unassisted units, the managing agent (if
applicable), and the mailing address for the
Housing Assistance Payment. The form notifies
our Inspection Department that an inspection
Q. What is the Housing Quality Standards
A. IHA will inspect the units using the
Section 8 Housing Quality Standards (HQS) to
ensure that the units are decent, safe and
sanitary. To accomplish this, HUD regulations
(24 CFR 982.401) set forth basic Housing
Quality Standards, which all units must meet
before rental by program participants.
The primary objective of these
standards is to protect the participants
receiving assistance under the program by
guaranteeing what HUD considers is a basic
level of acceptable housing. The regulations
stipulate that each unit leased under the HCV
program shall meet basic “performance
requirements” with the respect to the
The HUD form 52580-A is used to
record and document inspection results. The
owner or a representative of the owner must be
present for all initial inspections. If the
unit does not pass inspection, the inspector
will provide the owner with a copy of the
needed repairs and schedule a date for
re-inspection. All units must pass inspection
before a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)
contract can be executed. Inspections are also
performed on an annual basis for families who
are under lease to ensure units are maintained
in accordance with HUD’s Housing Quality
Standards (HQS) guidelines. Owners are
encouraged to be present. Failure to keep
units up to HQS guidelines could result in the
abatement of payment or termination of the HAP
Q. How Much Can the Owner Charge For Rent?
A. Owners should request rent for a unit based
on the amount that the unit is
"worth." The requested rent should
be comparable to the rents charged in the
immediate area for units of like size,
features, and amenities. The area in which the
unit is located will most times dictate the
unit's worth along with the quality of
workmanship and amenities. Section 8 will
determine if the unit's rent is reasonable
once an inspection is performed. The inspector
will chart a "rent reasonableness
survey" while inspecting the unit. Rent
reasonableness is a HUD requirement. If the
total points from the survey agree with the
owner's requested rent and the family is able
to pay their share, the proposed rent will be
approved. In accordance with HUD guidelines,
no more than 40% (percent) of a participants
adjusted income can be used for rent and
utilities during their first year under lease.
Q. How Much Can I Charge for a Security
A. The owner may determine the amount of
security deposit for a particular unit. The
requested security deposit standards should be
the same for all of your clients (whether a
Section 8 family or not). Remember that
Section 8 is not responsible for damages that
may be caused by the program participant. It
is the participant’s responsibility to pay
the full security deposit and any damages.
Q. When Will the HAP Begin?
A. The HAP will begin 2 to 3 weeks following
the return of the signed lease and contract.
Initial payments will be prorated based upon
the effective date of the executed lease and
When do tenant re-examinations occur and when
can rent be increased?
- Annual Reexaminations
are completed yearly in order to update
the program participant’s income,
household composition, assets and
deductions. This process must be completed
90 to 120 days prior to the expiration of
their initial lease and contract date.
- Interim reexaminations
are completed when the family reports a
change in income, composition assets, or
deductions outside of the recertification
period. When a change is made to the
family's rent, the owner is mailed an
addendum to the lease stating the rent
change and its effective date.
- Requests for Rent
be requested 120 days prior to the
anniversary date. Rent increases can not
be requested to be effective prior to the
initial 12 months of the initial lease.
When Can IHA Terminate Assistance?
A. If an owner violates the HAP contract, IHA
may suspend payments and will investigate the
situation to determine if the contract should
be terminated. IHA will terminate contracts
that are under abatement at the earlier of (a)
the family's move from the unit or (b) six
months after the last HAP was made. Owners can
be barred from the program for a serious
breach of contract as determined by HUD. The
owner can terminate tenancy for any reason
permitted under the lease or lease addendum.
Owners may terminate for serious or repeated
violations of the terms and conditions of the
lease, violation of federal, state or local
law, criminal activity or other good cause. An
owner has the same rights for evicting
assisted families as they do for private
market tenants; owners must first give the
family a notice stating the reason for
eviction and must forward a copy to IHA. See
contract concerning owner's right to evict.
The family may terminate tenancy after the
first year of the lease. Terminations by the
family during the first year are allowed only
if the owner agrees to release the family from
the lease. The family must give the owner and
IHA notice of termination of tenancy in
accordance with the lease prior to moving from
the unit. The owner’s lease may not require
more than 60 calendar days notice for the
family to terminate after the first term of
Owners must immediately notify IHA if a
family no longer occupies the assisted unit.
Housing assistance payments made to an
owner after a participant has vacated the
assisted unit, must be returned immediately.
What are the responsibilities of IHA, the
family, and the property owner?
- Review all applications
to determine whether an applicant is
eligible for the program.
- Explain the rules of
the program to all of the families who
- Issue vouchers.
- Approve the unit, the
- Make housing assistance
payments (HAP) in a timely manner.
- Ensure that owners and
families comply with the program rules.
- Provide families and
owners with prompt, professional service.
- Determine rent
- Screen families who
apply to determine if they will be good
- Comply with all
federal, state and local laws, and not
discriminate against any family.
- Maintain the housing
unit, including making all necessary
repairs in a timely manner.
- Comply with the terms
of the Housing Assistance Contract with
- Collect rent and the
security deposit due from the tenant.
- Manage your
- Provide IHA with
complete and accurate information.
- Make their best effort
to find a place to live that is suitable
for them and that qualifies for the
- Cooperate in attending
all appointments scheduled by IHA.
- Take responsibility for
the care of the unit.
- Comply with the terms
of the lease with the owner.
- Comply with the Family
Obligations of their voucher.
- Comply with all state,
federal and local laws for all household
members and guests.