Government/Departments Housing Authority
Q: If I currently have someone in my rental unit who is in need of financial help, can they get on the EPHA program for immediate assistance?
A: No. All persons who receive financial help through the EPHA made an application when the waitlist was opened and have waited their turn on the list.
Q: Can I use my own lease agreement?
A: Yes. Landlords may utilize their own lease agreements or they can choose to utilize the EPHA model lease. If you decide to use your own lease agreement, there must be a provision in it for automatic continuation of the lease terms after the initial required one-year lease period.
Q: How do I make my unit available to voucher holders?
A: You may list it on our vacancy list by calling the office, 698-4718, and providing the information about the unit (address, how many bedrooms, house or apartment, name of the person to call and phone number). Or you may e-mail LaToya Brown. The vacancy list is a means of free advertising.
Q: Can you answer questions about the potential family to assist with the screening process?
A: Yes. To some degree, we can give you information about the family statistics and if they are in compliance with their obligations under our housing program. If you want information about whether they pay their rent on time or cause property damage, etc., you must contact their current and/or previous landlord.
Q: How much rent can I charge?
A: You CANNOT charge more than the unit would bring on the open market. We do have payment standard guidelines according to family size. A family can rent a unit that is above their payment standard; however, they will pay the difference dollar for dollar. At the point that they would be spending more than 40 percent of their income, use of the unit would be denied. Also, the higher rent must be reasonable compared to similar units on the open market.
Q: Will you inspect my unit before I find an EPHA-qualified family to rent it?
A: No. We do not inspect units until you have a voucher family selected and the preliminary paperwork is turned in (Request for Tenancy Approval). We do a preliminary calculation to be sure the rent amount does not cost the family more than 40 percent of their income. Inspections are usually scheduled within three to five working days from the date the Request for Tenancy Approval form is submitted to the EPHA office.
Q: Does the EPHA pay for any tenant damaegs?
A: No. We encourage you to screen the tenant and collect a full deposit. It is also permissible for you to collect an extra amount as a pet deposit. You are not permitted to collect a deposit that is above the customary practice for our geographical area. One month's rent is, for the most part, the standard customary practice.
Q: What else should I consider before leasing to an EPHA client?
A: Of course, you should screen the potential tenant based upon past patterns of behavior of property damages and timely rental payments. You should also review your policy on visitors, their frequency, and if and how long they may spend the night. You also will want to review your policies about pets and fees for late rent payments.
Q: Can I charge the tenant extra above the amount stated on the lease agreement?
A: No. We have established the maximum the family can afford based upon their income. Asking them to pay extra amounts not stated on the lease agreement is considered fraud.
Q: Can I charge a penalty for late rent payments?
A: Yes. All rents are due on the first of each month. What we see most is a flat fee, usually $25, if rent is not paid by the fifth of the month. Our experience with daily rate penalties is that it leaves room for argument if the penalty is assessed from the second or the sixth.
Q: If I do have problems with the tenant, does the EPHA take care of the problem for me?
A: No. We still expect our landlords to be the landlord and take responsibility for enforcing the lease agreement. If the situation warrants eviction, as the landlord you must follow procedures as established by state statute. We do require you to give our office copies of any eviction or termination notices you serve. In some cases, we can assist with problems, especially if it is a violation of our program rules.