There are many different types of rental assistance available for those who qualify. The 3 largest assistance programs are: Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), and Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP). There are also many other programs for those who need assistance and you explore the offered services at the following link (https://hedfuel.azurewebsites.net/). As a landlord it is best to be familiar with these and how they work. It is almost certain you will run into tenants who will apply to your rental that use some of these programs and due to Fair Housing you can not turn them down because of them. This being said, it does not mean that because they use them you have to accept them. If they do not meet the minimum requirements or there are other legitimate concerns and reasons you will not be forced to rent to those who use these. My best advice for tenants is to inform the landlord that you are applying to and for landlords it is best to know how it works and ignore it while you are assessing the application. You can learn more about fair housing in our blog linked here; https://mrpropertyllc.com/2019/10/31/580/
Rental assistance programs are there to assist people of low income afford housing and apartments, other than apartments in public housing developments. To apply for these programs you have to meet their criteria and go through the program that best fits your needs.
Most commonly known as Section 8, is provided by the federal government. There are approximately 72,000 people receiving HCVP and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) periodically receives more available capital to fund additional vouchers. Eligibility is based on gross income and family size compared to your area’s average income. To find more about the income limits by city it is best to visit the HUD website.
For landlords and tenants alike, you should expect HCVP to payout somewhere between 30%-40% of the tenants income. Meaning that the difference must be paid by the tenant between what they are willing to pay out and the final cost. You are not required to set your rent compared to what the HCVP will pay. So this should be a good understanding of whether the tenant can afford the rent even with assistance.
MRVP is a state funded program administered and regulated by the DHCD. They offer two types of vouchers to those who are eligible. Mobile Vouchers which are assigned to program participants and are valid anywhere in the state that passes sanitary code and Project Based Vouchers which are assigned to specific housing that participants can apply to. These units are set aside specifically for these individuals and stick with the housing. If the tenant were to move they forfeit and leave all subsidies with the residence.
Those who are eligible for this program can not make anymore then 50% of the average median income (AMI) of their area. You can check you areas limits here (www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il.html). Once you are accepted by the program they will give anywhere between 30%-40% of the household’s income towards rent on a Mobile Voucher. With Project Based Voucher you should expect anywhere between 35%-40%.
To get more information and apply for the program you can contact any local housing authority. Currently, there are 8 regional nonprofit housing agencies and 112 Local Housing Authorities that can administer the MRVP.
The AHVP is focused on those who are eligible for 667 elderly and/or handicapped housing under the age of 60. They offer rental assistance for those who earn under 80% of the AMI. They will pay out 25% of the participant’s income to rent and utilities or 30% if utilities are included in the rent. But, the amount of the rent is subject to limitations. To apply contact any local housing authority and ask if they offer the program.
A Note For Landlords:
Rental Assistance programs can be beneficial for tenants and landlords alike. Of course for the tenant it allows them to better afford nicer housing that otherwise they would not be able to. For a smart landlord it can also open up opportunities. Rental assistance guarantees a timely payment of rent backed by either the state or federal government. These programs offer tax credits for those who cap their rent to cater to these programs. It can serve as a second form of security for you in terms of your apartments conditions. Not only will these programs send an inspection into the property periodically but, also they put regulations on the tenants who of course are not trying to break your contract and lose their assistance. Also with the need for a lower cost rent this means that landlords can target the purchase of lower cost buildings and renting them out to a very large tenant pool.