The Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program is a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Program administered by the Housing Authority of the City of Omaha, (OHA). This rental assistance program makes it possible for certified eligible households to obtain adequate rental housing while paying at least 30% of their income for rent.
Once approved and issued assistance, participants enter into a lease agreement with the property owner of the selected unit.
OHA inspects the unit to ensure it meets all Housing Quality Standards. The unit should already meet City Codes prior to the OHA inspection, and should be in a rental ready condition to withstand a minimum requirement of one (1) year’s occupancy.
Once the OHA inspection passes, OHA enters into a contractual agreement with the property owner to assist in paying the leased participant’s rent, as long as the participant is eligible and the unit meets standards.
Eligible applicants may be offered assistance in the form of any of the two programs: Mod Rehab and Housing Choice Voucher.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, elderly, handicapped, or disabled. Applicants are placed on the waiting list according to date and time of application.
Responsibilities of the Participant (Family)
Responsibilities of the participant are specified in the Federal Regulations (24CFR), Housing Choice Voucher (Form HUD-52646) and the Lease.
Participants are free to choose any house or apartment within the Omaha city limits (including their current home). As long as the unit meets certain requirements for housing quality, does not cost more than the HUD fair market rent, including utilities; and the owner agrees to take part in the program.
To assist in locating a unit, a booklet "A Good Place to Live", is given to each participant when assistance is offered at the new participant briefing. Additional program information can be furnished to property owners who may have questions.
Housing Choice Vouchers are effective for a 60-day period.
We want to ensure prompt rental assistance to you before the expiration of your Voucher.
In accordance with HUD regulations, OHA subsidy standards will determine the appropriate unit size for the eligible family.
A listing of units which owners are available for participation in the program may be obtained. In addition, a listing of any known handicapped accessible units may be obtained. Please note, these units, nor any other are pre-approved for the Section 8 Program.
Property Owner Lease Set-Up
The flowing steps will assist you in ensuring that the proper procedures are followed when leasing to a Section 8 participant who is initially receiving assistance or transferring from one assisted unit to another.
- You may wish to take a Rental Application from each person interested in renting your unit. REMEMBER: You must review the applicant’s Housing Choice Voucher to ensure the issue date and expiration date.
- BEFORE selecting a tenant, check with the tenant’s current landlord and former landlord. Also, it is recommended that you visit the tenant to see how they maintain the unit. Once you have selected a tenant, the Request For Tenancy Approval form (RFTA) furnished by the Housing Authority, must be completed in full and returned to OHA, along with an unsigned copy of the lease form to be used. Your screening process should be consistent for Section 8 and non-Section 8 applicants. REMEMBER: The OHA does not screen for tenancy!! Our process consists only of determining the family’s eligibility based on HUD guidelines.
The OHA must inspect each rental unit to make sure it is decent, safe, and sanitary. When you submit the Request For Tenancy Approval form, the following items must be included:
- The owner must provide a business or home telephone number.
- The owner must provide an Employer Identification Number or a Social Security Number (and a copy of their driver’s license or other photo identification). Owners must also submit proof of ownership of the property, such as a Grant Deed or tax bill, and a copy of the Management Agreement if the property is managed by a management agent.
Owners must provide the current address of their residence (not a Post Office box.) Owners residing out of State must provide an address and telephone number of a local authorized management agent or caretaker of the property. Once these requirements have all been met, three things will happen:
- A rent reasonableness test will be completed and the owner contacted within 48 hours if the rent exceeds the maximum HUD limits.
- A review of the lease will be made and the owner will be requested to remove all prohibited sections. The prohibited provisions are found in #14 “Conflict with Other Provisions of Lease”, of the HUD-furnished Lease Addendum. The lease is not effective unless it has been approved by OHA.
- REMEMBER: An owner may use their own lease but the HUD Lease Addendum is mandated.
- The inspection date will be scheduled within five (5) working days, and the owner will be advised of the date and time. The owner/agent must be present for this inspection. The applicant / tenant should be present.
- Please do not request inspection dates if the unit is not rent ready. The top portion of the Request for Tenancy Approval form has an area where the owner must complete the date the unit will be ready for inspection. The Omaha Housing Authority will no longer inspect any unit that is not ready.
OHA Contract Execution Process
This information serves as a reminder to all property owners and agent s regarding Omaha Housing Authority’s (OHA) procedure for Contract Execution. The OHA is responsible for complying with all HUD regulations pertaining to this process. The OHA Contract Execution Process is as follows:
- The OHA prepares the Housing Assistance Contract for execution.
- The Family and the owner will execute the Lease agreement.
- The owner and the OHA will execute the HAP Contract. Copies of the documents will be furnished to the parties who singed the respective documents.
- The OHA makes every effort to execute the HAP Contract before the commencement of the lease term.
- The HAP Contract may not be executed more than 60 days after commencement of the lease term and no payments will be made unit the contract is executed.
- Owners must provide the current address of their residence (not a Post Office box). If families lease properties owned by relatives, the owner’s current address will be compared to the subsidized unit’s address.
Restrictions on Leasing to Relatives – Effective June 17, 1998
- The PHA must not approve a unit if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister or brother of any member of the family; unless the PHA determines that approving the unit would provide reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities. This restriction against PHA approval of a unit only applies at the time a family initially receives tenant-based assistance for occupancy of a particular unit, but does not apply to PHA Approval of a new tenancy with continued tenant-based assistance in the same unit.
- Owners residing out of State must provide an address and telephone number of a local authorized management agent or caretaker of property.
- The owner must provide an Employer Identification Number or a Social Security Number (and a copy of their driver’s license or other photo identification). For owners using a Social Security Number (SSN), a copy of your Social Security card is required. For owners using an Employer Identification Number (EIN), a copy of your Form SS-4 “Application for Employer Identification Number” is required within 60 days. If this information is not received within 60 days, we will then place the money on hold until this information is furnished. If an owner fails to furnish their correct EIN to the OHA, they are subject to a penalty of $50 for each such failure, unless the failure is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect. Owners must also submit proof of ownership of the property, such as a Grant Deed or Tax Bill, and a copy of the Management Agreement if a management agent manages the property.
- The owner must provide a business or home telephone number.
For reference purposes please refer to the Code of Federal Regulations (24 CFR Sections 982.305) HA approval to lease a unit.
(c) When a HAP contract is executed.
(1)The HA must use best efforts to execute the HAP contract before the beginning of the lease term. The HAP contract must be executed not later than 60 calendar days from the beginning of the lease term.
Bedrooms and Attics
When inspecting bedrooms in attics, they have to meet HQS / City Code.
For example, in a typical ‘A” Frame, you must measure from the floor to the top of the ‘A’ frame a height of 5 feet and there must be a minimum of 10 feet across to the opposite wall with enough clearance to measure 5 feet height. The floor space between must be measure 7 feet height. Additionally, it must meet the square footage for bedroom size requirements, window light, and widow size requirement for egress.
Tips for Passing HQS Inspection
In the continuing efforts to ensure units meet Housing Quality Standards (HQS), we encourage you to inspect your property in advance of the annual inspection and make the necessary repairs. Since you have received notification of the importance of the HQS inspection, the percentage of inspections that fail has only decreased slightly. Please notify your tenant you will be inspecting your unit prior to the Omaha Housing Authority’s (OHA) inspection, going over a checklist of items with your tenant(s) to ensure the unit will meet the requirements prior to the OHA inspection. Check each room in the unit for housekeeping and damages. Periodically checking your property, and keeping your property well maintained and up to Housing Quality Standards not only helps to ensure the program’s success, it helps to ensure your property’s resale value and make it easier to lease again when a family moves out. The following list shows the categories in which failures are cited most often during an inspection:
- Smoke detectors inoperable – missing or no batteries.
- Windows not lockable. Also, windows broken, cracked or drafty
- Prime windows frozen, or will not open or close.
- Electric fixture, switch, outlet, or other electrical hazard.
- No electrical service
- Landlord range/refrigerator does not operate properly/missing parts
- Plumbing (faucet drips excessively, pipe leaks, etc.)
- Toilets that won’t flush properly.
- No water due to frozen water supply lines
- Hot water tanks leaking/do not have properly installed temperature and pressure relief valve.
- Roach/mice/rat infestation.
- Interior & exterior paint which is peeling excessively.
- Heat systems that are not fully functional.
- Gutters that leak are improperly hung or missing.
- Extremely poor housekeeping.
- Excessive garbage, broken glass and junk around.
- Hazardous steps.
- Severe foundation problems
- Loose or unsecured handrails (interior and exterior).
- Entry doors, door jambs and door locks broken.
- Excessive air infiltration through windows and doors
It is the goal of the Omaha Housing Authority to ensure all units meet the Housing Quality Standards inspection the first time the inspector comes out. This can only be accomplished if we develop a strong partnership and work together.