The selection of good tenants is one of the most crucial decisions that landlords face. A tenant who pays their rent on time and who believes in the quiet enjoyment of his or her rental home is an asset. Finding the ideal tenant is often easier said than done, and requires careful screening. Understanding the difference between your role as the landlord and our role as the Housing Authority may help you in making the perfect choice.
Selection of a Tenant
A participant may not rent a unit if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of a member of the participant’s family. An exception to this rule may be approved if renting the unit would provide a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities.
Tenant Screening by the Housing Authority
Families who qualify for a Section 8 Voucher are merely eligible participants and have not been screened for suitability. It is often misunderstood by the landlord that the Housing Authority screens tenants for such things as past rental history. This is not the case. The Housing Authority only screens applicants based on the following criteria:
- An applicant must meet the income requirements for their family size. Income limits are set at 30% of the area median income and above based on the number of family members.
- An applicant cannot have committed any fraud or cannot currently owe money in connection with a federal housing assistance program.
- An applicant has not been convicted of manufacturing or producing methamphetamine in a public housing development or in a Section 8 assisted property.
- An applicant does not have a lifetime registration under a state sex offender registration program.
Tenant Screening by Landlords
Landlords are not only permitted to screen applicants, they are encouraged to screen the backgrounds of a family for such things as:
- Payments for rent and utilities
- Caring for a unit and premises
- Respecting the rights of others to the peaceful enjoyment of their housing
- Drug-related criminal activity or other criminal activity that is a threat to the life, safety or property of others
- Compliance with other essential conditions of tenancy
To assist in this process, the Housing Authority can provide a landlord with the name and address of the prospective applicant’s current landlord and the name and address of the previous landlord (if known).
As you can see, the Housing Authority is limited in its ability to help you in screening tenants, so it is up to you to select a suitable family from the pool of those interested in your unit. It is not an easy task, and for this reason, we hope the tenant you choose is a good one.