HCV Landlord FAQ's

Am I able to collect a Security Deposit and who is responsible to pay it?

Owner/agents may request a security deposit.   According to RI State Law, it may not be more than one month’s rent. This is the responsibility of the tenant.  If you permit the tenant to pay in installments, it is advisable to put the payment plan in writing and both parties should sign.

Am I able to screen tenants?

The PHA is permitted to screen for income eligibility and violent and/or drug related criminal activity. The owner/agent is responsible to screen a voucher holder in the same manner as any other prospective tenant. The name and address of any current or past landlord can be requested from the Program Representative.

What happens if one person wants to rent a unit larger than the voucher?

 It is important to check the bedroom size allowed by the PHA on the voucher itself. A tenant who wants to rent a unit larger than what is allowed may either have to pay more than 30% of his/her income which could cause rent payment problems in the future, or the requested rent may have to be lowered significantly to ensure that the tenant will not pay more than 40% of his/her income towards the rent.

I live out of state, why do I need an agent?

RI State law states that the PHA may not make payments to an out-of-state owner/agent without an in-state rental agent.  Non-RI resident owner/agents must file an in-state agent with the Office of the RI Secretary of State. Payments cannot be made otherwise. Please call the Secretary of State’s office at 401-222-3040 or visit sos.ri.gov for more information.

What happens if more people move in than are listed on the lease? Can I charge more?

Under no circumstances can an owner/agent request or accept additional money from a tenant. Any additional fees beyond rent, such as for parking or non-coin op laundry, must be included in the lease and approved by the PHA. The tenant is not allowed to move in more people without written permission from the PHA and owner/agent. By signing the contract and accepting the Housing Assistance Payment check each month, the owner/agent is stating that only those on the lease are residing in the unit. Accepting money without PHA written approval constitutes fraud.

If the owner/agent or agent cannot be there for the initial inspection, can I leave the door open?

The PHA Inspector is not permitted to enter any unit for an initial inspection if the owner/agent or agent is not present.   For subsequent inspections after the initial HAP contract is signed, a tenant is required to be present, but the landlord also may choose to be present.

Why may I get two dates for reinspection of a unit after a failed annual or interim inspection?

The Inspector may return twice. The first date is for any emergency violation that has to be corrected within 24 hours. The second date is for a date within 30 calendar days of the initial inspection when the Inspector will return for any other repairs listed on the notice.

What is a 24-hour (emergency) violation?

An owner/agent will receive a notice for any emergency situation such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, heat issues, unsafe wiring, etc. The inspector will return within 24 hours to ensure that the repair has been made and if not the rental assistance payment from PHA check will be abated.

What is abatement?

Abatement is mandated by HUD if an emergency or non-emergency violation is not corrected within the required timeframe or any approved extension for non-emergency violations. Payment is stopped, not held, until the violation is corrected. If the Inspector returns for the reinspection after an abatement and the unit passes, rent payment will resume from the “pass date” but the amount that would have been paid between the first and second reinspection will never be paid.

What happens if the tenant does not let me in to do repairs?

 RI State Law states that owner/agents must give 48 hour written notice to enter.  Be sure to save any notice sent to the tenant and if this becomes a problem, please contact the Program Representative to assist with this problem.

Am I able to get an extension to finish the repairs?

Extensions for correction of non-emergency violations must be requested in writing and include any documentation that verifies the need for an extension (receipts for ordered materials, etc.) prior to the scheduled reinspection date. Extensions may be approved for materials that are out of stock and must be ordered, seasonal issues such as exterior painting in the winter, etc.

When can I get a rent increase?

If funding permits, rent increases may be approved only at the annual recertification. Requests must be made in writing (which may include email) no later than 90 days prior to the annual recertification date. A request for a rent increase must include the amount requested as well as a reason for the increase (increased taxes, water, etc.). Please keep in mind that changes in rent may increase the tenant’s portion.

What should I do if the bank account (to which the Housing Assistance Payment Check is direct deposited) changes?

You may fax (401-351-1191) or bring in person a voided check with the new routing and account numbers. Please keep in mind that the deposits are sent to the bank a day or two before the first of the month. If the change happens at that time, please call so that the deposit goes into the correct account.

If I suspect fraud or criminal activity, whom do I contact?

Call the PHA Fraud Investigator at 401-709-2219.

Why can’t the PHA get the tenant out of my apartment?

The PHA can terminate the tenant for program violations. The owner/agent has a lease with the tenant and as such is the only one who can evict the tenant. Owner/agents must send copies of any legal notices for non-compliance and/or failure to pay rent to the Program Representative. Tenants will be notified that eviction for cause or nonpayment results in termination of rental assistance and is reported to HUD’s national database.