The Housing Authority of South Bend provides housing assistance to low-income working families, seniors, persons with disabilities and persons with special needs.
The Housing Authority of South Bend is the largest affordable housing provider in the area, serving approximately 3,000 families. We offer our customers choices to live in quality, mixed-income apartment communities and single-family home neighborhoods throughout the city of South Bend.
HASB's Housing Choice Voucher Program offers families, including elderly and disabled persons and working families, the broadest range of choice in selecting where they live. Using a Housing Choice voucher, families can identify quality housing anywhere in the city of South Bend with the assurance that they will not have to pay more than 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent. Families may also use their Housing Choice voucher to move outside the city limits of South Bend after their first year on the program.
HASB's property owner partners play an integral part in the agency's efforts to provide affordable housing to South Bend residents.
HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM (HCVP)
South Bend's HCVP works with single and multi-family property owners to provide housing opportunities for South Bend's working families, seniors, disabled persons and veterans. HASB provides property owners with a steady pool of tenant prospects, online self-service tools, and personalized account management.
HOW IT WORKS
HASB inspects the unit and negotiates a fair, market-driven rent with the owner. HASB-assisted residents pay approximately 30% of their monthly-adjusted income toward housing expenses directly to the property owner and HASB pays the difference. We operate solely within the South Bend city limits.
1. Complete the Property Owner Packet and submit to email@example.com
2. Get your property rent ready. Download the Inspection Checklist.
3. Market your property to Housing Choice Voucher Program participants.
4. Screen and select an HCVP tenant and submit a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA).
Answers to Common Questions
When you rent to a Housing Choice Voucher Holder, follow the same basic process you follow for all your tenants - with HASB's involvement at several points along the way.
It's important that you understand HASB's responsibilities and requirements, your responsibilities and the tenant's responsibilities.
The FAQs for Landlords answers questions that might come up at different stages of your relationship with HASB and your Housing Choice Voucher Holder tenants.
- Leasing process
- Rent and utility payments
- Ongoing requirements
- Changes in a lease or rent amount
We welcome your questions! Call your tenant's Housing Specialist or our general information line if you need further clarification.
What's the Same. What's Different.
Renting to Voucher Holders is the same as renting to other tenants in many ways. The landlord performs background checks, can request a deposit and determines what's in the lease. Review these questions and answers to learn about the similarities and some important differences.
Does HASB perform background checks on tenants?
No. Landlords have the responsibility to screen prospective tenants, check references, and take all steps necessary to ensure that prospective tenants meet acceptable rental standards. However, HASB can provide prospective landlords with names of current and previous landlords and the tenant's current addresses (if known).
Does HASB use a specific lease or lease format?
No. HASB expects landlords to provide a fully executed lease signed by both the tenant and the landlord. The terms of that lease are left to the landlord to negotiate with their tenant. HASB requires that the terms of the lease follow all Indiana State Landlord Tenant Act laws. HASB has a lease addendum that must be a part of any HCV subsidized lease. This Lease Addendum clarifies the relationships that HASB has with both the tenant and the landlord.
Can landlords require a deposit from Voucher Holder tenants?
Yes. The landlord decides what amount needs to be collected. However, the amount collected cannot be more than the amounts charged to tenants residing in any unassisted units managed by the landlord.
Can the last month's rent be collected in advance?
Yes, however, the amount collected cannot be more than advanced amounts collected from tenants residing in unassisted units from the same management team.
Who determines the amount of contract rent that can be charged for a rental unit?
Establishing the rent is basically the landlord's responsibility. However, HASB is required by HUD to determine three things before approving a lease. First, landlords cannot charge a higher rent for the home being assisted than they charge for a similar unassisted home they manage. Second, the rent must be reasonable in comparison with similar homes in the South Bend jurisdiction. Third, only at initial lease up, the rent on the unit must be at or below the family's maximum allowable rent cap.
If an HCV participant is not a good tenant, is there a special process to evict them?
Landlords must follow all Indiana laws. Landlords are required to send copies of notices to the Housing Specialist at HASB. These notices ensure that the landlord has followed the proper procedures that lead up to the eviction process. Notices include warning notices, notices to pay or vacate, etc.
What happens if the landlord wants to change the terms of the lease?
The landlord must give the tenant and HASB a 60-day written notice of the proposed new lease terms. If HASB and the tenant agree to the terms, the landlord must generate a new lease incorporating the changes. Should HASB not accept the proposed changes, the landlord may terminate the lease.
When and how can the rent be increased?
When increasing rent, landlords must give HASB at least a 60-day written notice and tenants at least 30-day written notice of the intent to increase rent.
To request a rent increase, the landlord will complete the Rent Increase Request form, attach an advance copy of the 30-day notice to the tenant of rent increase, and email or mail it to the tenant's Housing Specialist or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All rent increases are effective on the first of the month for which the rent increase has been approved.
Are there any annual requirements for an HCV tenant?
Yes. HASB is required by HUD to review the tenant's income and household circumstances annually, and to inspect the tenant's unit for HQS (Housing Quality Standards) at least once every two years. If the HQS inspection fails, the landlord will be sent a letter that explains what must be fixed and when HASB will be out to re-inspect the unit. If the landlord has questions about the inspection process, they should contact the Inspection department at (574) 968-0226.
Does HASB have any inspections or tenant guidelines to help ensure the rental property will be appropriately cared for?
At admission to the HCV program, HASB meets with each HCV Participant and conducts a briefing session that emphasizes and educates participants on the importance of being a good tenant. HASB outlines the tenants' responsibilities and the obligations to treat the rental home as if it were their own. HASB performs initial inspections as well as follow up inspections at least once every two years to ensure that the unit meets Housing Quality Standards. Landlords should not rely on the housing authority inspections as their primary inspections. Successful landlords inspect their units at a minimum of once per year.
How does a Landlord determine what the monthly rent should be? What is a "rent reasonableness" review?
Landlords should set their rents at a rate they feel is fair for the current market. At the time of the unit inspection, HASB will also be performing a "Rent Reasonableness" review and determination. We are required to ensure that rents charged by owners to Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participants are reasonable as compared to rents for similar unassisted units in the marketplace. Ensuring rent reasonableness is very important for effective program operations. If HASB approves rents that are too high, government funds are wasted, and limited housing subsidies are squandered. Alternatively, if rents are approved at levels lower than comparable units in the private market, better owners and higher quality units are discouraged from participating in the program.
Once you have approved a Housing Choice Voucher Holder as a tenant, these answers will help you complete the leasing process.
After the landlord accepts the tenant participating in the HCV program, what's the next step for getting tenants leased up?
The prospective tenant will give the landlord a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) form to complete and return to HASB. The landlord will complete the Landlord section of the RFTA, the Disclosure of Lead-based Paint form, and the W-9. The landlord or participant will submit all completed and signed forms to HASB. HASCO will contact the landlord, or tenant if they are already living in the unit, to schedule an inspection.
It is important for the landlord to fill out the RFTA completely, especially the utility section describing who pays for which utilities because this section of the RFTA is used for calculating the approved rental amount based on the type of utilities for that unit.
After the unit passes inspection and rent reasonableness, the landlord and tenant sign the lease and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract and submit them both to HASB.
How do I submit the RFTA and other documentation?
Documents can be submitted to HASB in different ways:
- Fax to: 574-544-5165
- Email to the tenant's Housing Specialist or email@example.com
- Drop off documents or mail documents to HASB at 501 Alonzo Watson Drive, South Bend, IN 46601
What happens during the inspection of the rental unit?
The unit must meet the requirements of decent, safe, and sanitary housing, known as Housing Quality Standards (HQS). The Summary of Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Housing Quality Standards is found on our website. HASB inspectors will notify the landlord of any items which do not meet HQS if the unit fails inspection. The items that cause the unit to fail must be fixed before HASB approves the contract. A unit must pass inspection within 30 calendar days of the date of the initial failure to meet HQS.
Note: The HASB inspector is responsible only for the enforcement of the HQS. HASB inspectors do not inspect for any other federal, state, or local requirements, and do not, except in the case of an immediate hazard, report the results of the inspection to any other agency.
Should landlords perform a move in and move out inspection for tenants participating in the HCV program?
Yes. By performing a move in and move out inspection, landlords are documenting the condition of the unit at move in and move out. The landlord must insist that the participant sign the documents at move in to certify that the unit was in good condition at move in. At move out, if the unit is damaged, the landlord can obtain a court documented claim. Should the landlord receive a court order, HASB will require the HCV participant to be in a payback agreement with the landlord. Failure to comply or to enter into a payback agreement would result in the participant/tenant losing their voucher.
How long does it take to lease up an HCV participant and when will I receive the first payment?
HASB inspects the unit within 10 business days after receiving the RFTA. The average is 3-5 business days.
Once the unit is approved, the HCV participant is free to move in. HASB payment runs are at the first of the month. HASB will not release the first check before the landlord and tenant return a signed HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) contract and lease. The landlord may not receive their first check immediately and may have to wait for the next check run. After the first payment, HAP payments will be made at the beginning of every month.
How will I receive my rent payments?
HASB pays landlords via electronic funds transfer / direct deposit into your checking or savings account OR you may elect to have a paper check mailed to you via USPS. We encourage Landlords to use direct deposit to receive monthly HAP checks. Please complete our direct deposit authorization form to set up this feature. HASB will send the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) Contract and release the first payment to you with the next check run after receiving the final lease documents.