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Roles - the tenant, the landlord, the housing agency, and HUD

Once PHA approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease, and, at the same time, the landlord and PHA sign a housing assistance payment contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone -- tenant, landlord, and PHA -- has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.

Tenant's Obligations:

When a family selects a housing unit, and the PHA approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year, the landlord may initiate a new lease or allow the family to remain in the unit on a month-to-month lease.

When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify PHA of any changes in income or family composition within ten days.

Landlord's Obligations:

The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the PHA.

Housing Authority's Obligations:

The PHA administers the voucher program locally. The PHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing, and the PHA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet the owner's obligations under the lease, the PHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. The PHA must reexamine the family's income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least annually to ensure that it meets housing quality standards.

The Housing Authority, landlords, and clients combine the whole to form the Section 8 Program. One could not survive without the other. We all must work together to maintain an understanding and partnership.