Housing Choice Voucher Program
Features of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP)
OHCD screens applicants for eligibility using HUD's guidelines. Households are prioritized by date and time of application to the waiting list. When an applicant's name comes to the top of the list, the family is screened for eligibility. Eligibility consists of meeting income standards based on household size and a local criminal record check for each adult household member. Approved applicants are briefed and given a Housing Choice Voucher, which entitles them to look for housing in the private market. Below are maximum income limits, however 75 percent of new admissions must be at or below the extremely low-income limits. To view current local income limits, see the Federal Income Limits
Before a unit can be leased under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, OHCD inspectors check to ensure that rents charged are reasonable for the area in which the unit is located, and that the unit meets basic Housing Quality Standards (HQS). Participants must find a landlord/owner willing to rent to a household receiving Voucher assistance. Selection criteria used by private landlords varies. Each landlord uses his/her own criteria, and is encouraged to verify income information and perform a thorough credit check, past rental references and police records. OHCD currently performs local criminal record checks to determine whether applicants have a prior criminal history in the County. For more detailed information on the Housing Choice Voucher Program, visit HUD's website at www.hud.gov
Tenants will pay between 30-40 percent of their adjusted gross income to rent a unit. Landlords can charge a security deposit up to two months contract rent as prescribed by the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, and as long as they charge voucher holders and non-voucher holders the same amount of security deposit. The security deposit is strictly between the landlord and the tenant.
Following the initial lease period, landlords can request a rent increase by giving the housing agency and tenant at least 60 days prior written notice. The rent requested must be reasonable according to similar properties in the same complex or subdivision. Due to current budget constraints, OHCD allows rent increases no more than three percent until further notice.
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