ABOUT THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM

What are common responsibilities of a Housing Choice Voucher Program landlord?
We suggest reading this one-pager Guidelines for Landlords primer to get a sense of how the program works.

How do I find an HCV Program Participant?
We will contact you directly after receiving the rental information from the agency’s bi-weekly apartment listing or from your marketing efforts. It is up to the landlord to screen potential tenants and make arrangements regarding the amount of rent and security deposit.

How do I list my apartment for rent?
To advertise your vacant apartment, please call (845) 331-2140. We will list it free on our apartment listing sheets that we update weekly, one for Ulster County and another for Greene County.

What forms/documents are required to lease a unit under the HCV Program?
Owners are required to complete:

  • a W-9 form (download a blank form here)
  • Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) – Provides basic information regarding the unit, including its location, size, the rent amount and utilities. This form is executed by both the tenant and landlord.
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance – you or your insurance company may fax a copy of your certificate to our office.
  • Sign Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract prior to payment beginning.

Once the above forms have been submitted to RUPCO, the HCV Program Specialist will determine if the unit is affordable for the tenant. Once the unit is deemed affordable, the Housing Inspector will contact you to schedule the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection. When the unit passes inspection the tenant will be authorized to move in.

When can I expect my first payment?
Once the tenant is moved in, it will be approximately 30-45 days until you receive the first Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). Housing Assistance Payments are direct deposited on the first of each month into an account designated by the landlord.

HOUSING QUALITY STANDARDS (HQS) INSPECTIONS

Why does my unit have to pass HQS?
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations require RUPCO to inspect all units to ensure that they are in safe, decent and sanitary conditions in accordance with federal Housing Quality Standards. No unit is placed under contract until it is inspected and all necessary repairs are completed.

How many types of inspections are there?
There are three types of HQS inspections performed by RUPCO: Initial, Annual and Special.

What is an initial inspection?
The initial inspection is conducted prior to the tenant(s) moving into the unit. An approval for move-in will not be given until the unit passes inspection.

What does the inspector look for at the initial inspection?
The inspection focuses on but is not limited to:
Interior – doors, ceilings, wiring, flooring, windows, smoke alarms, paint
Exterior – roofing, stairs, railings, paint, garbage and debris removal

What is an annual inspection?
Each unit under contract must be inspected annually. The landlord and tenant will be notified by mail of the date the unit will be inspected. If the landlord wants to be notified, s/he should contact the inspector.

INSPECTION INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS

Before any property can be approved for the Housing Choice Voucher program its condition must pass HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS) of being “decent, safe and sanitary”. Please use this Housing Quality Check list to help you determine how close to compliance with these standards your property already is and where you need to make improvements. The categories covered are the same as the inspector will use to evaluate the property.

Using this checklist is a great way to save yourself time, work and money. By investing the time to prepare for your inspection you will greatly improve your chances of passing it the first time.

Smoke Detectors

  • All smoke detectors are present and in good working order (with a fresh battery).
  • Each level of the unit, including the basement and attic has a working smoke detector.
  • If any of the units residents are hearing impaired, the smoke detector system also provides a visual alert that can be seen in their sleeping areas.

Paint

  • No cracking chipping or peeling paint; the inspector must assume this paint is lead based and appropriate steps must be taken to correct the situation according to regulation.

Living room

  • There are at least 2 working electrical outlets, or 1 electrical outlet and 1 permanently installed working light fixture.
  • Must have a window. If the window was designed to open, it should open.

Kitchen

  • The unit has both an oven and a stove with a full set of working burners and knobs for turning them on and off.
  • Permanently installed light fixture.
  • The unit contains a refrigerator that works and maintains a temperature low enough so that food does not spoil over a reasonable period of time.
  • The kitchen contains a permanently attached working sink with both hot and cold running water and properly connected working drain with a gas trap and a space to prepare and serve food.

Bathroom

  • The bathroom has either at least 1 working window or a working vent system.
  • There is at least 1 permanently mounted working light fixture.
  • The unit contains a toilet in proper working condition.
  • There is permanently installed working sink with both hot and cold running water and a properly connected drain with a gas trap.
  • The unit has either a working bathtub or shower with both hot and cold running water and a properly connected working drain with a gas trap.

Bedrooms

  • To constitute a bedroom a room must be at least space for a single bed and a dresser and room to put one’s feet on the floor in between, as well as the following requirements.
  • There are at least 2 working electrical outlets or 1 electrical outlet and a mounted working light fixture in each bedroom.
  • The bedroom must have at least one window and if it is designed to open it must do so.

Security

  • All windows and doors that are accessible from the outside have a properly working lock.
  • The unit can be entered without going through another unit.
  • The building has an alternative way for tenants to exit in case of fire, which meets local code.

Be sure that:

  • All areas, particularly the stairs are free from hazards such as loose, broken or missing steps or floorboards, or railings.
  • All walls, floors and ceilings are sound and free of hazardous defects such as severe buckling, bulging or leaning; damaged or loose structural members, large holes, air infiltration, loose surface materials, movement under stress, damaged or missing parts, are falling or in danger of falling.
  • Heating and plumbing equipment is in good working order and free from all types of unsafe conditions.
  • Heating equipment is capable of delivering enough heat to ensure the tenants a healthy environment, no unvented fuel burning space heaters, potential for fire or absence of safety devices.
  • The unit is served by an approvable water supply and connected to an acceptable disposal system and free from sewer back up. Plumbing should be free from major leaks and corrosion.
  • The unit and all shared spaces are free from any electrical hazards, including but not limited to non-insulated or frayed wiring, cover plates missing from switches or outlets, improper types of wiring.

If the unit fails inspection:

  • You and the tenant will be sent a letter outlining what needs to be repaired. Repairs must be made within 30 days, or as otherwise directed in the letter.
  • Regulations prohibit the HCV program from subsidizing any unit that fails inspection.
  • For more information on inspections please contact RUPCO at 845.331.2140.

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