The District of Columbia Housing Authority works with more than 3,400 local property owners who help house thousands of families through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. DCHA administers the federal program and a Housing Providers Association helps shape policy that protects both landlords and tenants. A formal, contractual agreement between the landlord, DCHA, and the tenant clarifies everyone’s obligations.
Participating landlords charge market rate rent to an HCVP participant—just like for non-participating renters. Rents charged are exempt from local rent control policies. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has created a maximum ceiling rent that DCHA cannot exceed based on a home’s bedroom size and local housing market rates.
Landlords sign their own lease with the tenant and a separate contract with HCVP. After the first year, the lease can be renewed on a month-to-month basis. Landlords select their own criteria for tenants, as long as these remain within fair housing guidelines. DCHA will provide the names and numbers of a prospective renter’s previous landlords as references.
DCHA will pay rent in a timely manner using direct deposit.
Free annual inspections will help landlords keep their property in good condition and catch problems before they become expensive repairs. A landlord’s property will be inspected initially to ensure it meets DCHA and HUD standards, and again once every year after at no charge--unless the unit fails two inspections. If the property fails two inspections there will be a $75 charge for another inspection. If the property fails that inspection a landlord will have 30 days in which to make repairs. A unit must pass the re-inspection in order for DCHA to pay the monthly rent.
How to Become a Participating Landlord
1. Advertise the available property with DCHA. There is no charge to list rental units on the online HCVP Property Vacancy List where thousands of potential renters will see it. Landlords may also want to advertise the property in the newspaper. Just include a line in the advertisement that says, “We welcome voucher holders.”
2. Screen applicants. It’s the landlord’s job to screen potential renters, show them the property, and take applications. The landlord selects the preferred applicant, according to fair housing guidelines.
3. Obtain the applicant’s Request for Tenancy approval packet (RFT). This packet contains all the necessary paper work is needed to sign and return to the HCVP Leasing Department.
4. Obtain the unit’s “rent reasonableness.” This is an analysis to determine what is considered a reasonable rent that the tenant can be charged based on the market and current rents for similar properties in the area.
5. Schedule an inspection. If a rent offer is accepted, HCVP will conduct an inspection of the property to be certain it meets all the quality standards of DCHA. If there are problems, the landlord will be given the opportunity to make corrections and the property will be re-inspected.
6. Finalize the contract. Once the property passes inspection and ownership is verified, a meeting will be scheduled for the signing of the lease and of the contract between the landlord, DCHA and the tenant. Then a direct deposit account is set up and rent collection can begin.
Calculate the rent payment that can be charged for the rental property using this online form.
Set up Direct Deposit using this form.