Tenant and Landlord FAQs
Tenant and Landlords
Applications will only be accepted when the waiting list is open. Applicants will be notified if they are ineligible for the program and eligible applicants are reviewed when their name comes to the top of the waiting list. At review applicants must complete the required steps to verify their preference qualification, income eligibility, and background checks are completed. See the Administrative Plan for disqualifying factors.
If funding is available at that time, a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher will be issued. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher allows the family sixty (60) days to locate suitable housing and submit a Request for Tenancy Approval form. Additional time may be granted depending on circumstances and the amount of effort the voucher holder has made in their apartment search.
Although vouchers do not have established maximum rents, monthly rental amounts must be affordable for the family and their share cannot exceed 40% of their adjusted monthly income.
The determination of the family’s share of the rent and the HABC’s Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is based on the contract rent, payment standard, utility allowance, other allowances, and household income. When the Housing Choice Voucher is issued, the family is provided with estimates of the minimum amount that they are expected to contribute toward the rent and the maximum subsidy that the HABC will pay. The family selects the a unit within their affordability based on the estimates provided by the HABC. The final calculation of the family’s share of the rent and the HAP payment amount cannot be completed until the family has selected a unit and the unit information is verified.
After a family receives a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher by the HABC, the family must search the private rental market in our jurisdiction for a suitable unit, subject to the voucher program regulations regarding residency. The housing unit must be decent, safe and sanitary according to Housing Quality Standards (HQS) established by HUD and the HABC. When a completed Request for Tenancy Approval is returned to the HABC and determined affordable and rent reasonable, the HABC will inspect the empty unit to assure that it meets HQS prior to occupancy. After the unit passes the HQS inspection and the rental amount has been approved, the landlord and tenant enter into a lease agreement. The HABC and the landlord sign a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract which permits the HABC to pay a portion of the rent on behalf of the family directly to the landlord. The family will be responsible for the difference between the total rent and the Housing Assistance Payment.
Once the initial lease agreement expires, it may be renewed for a specified time period, (i.e., month-to-month, six months, etc.). The family may terminate the lease agreement and vacate the unit provided proper notice is given to the landlord and the HABC. If the family remains in the unit, the family must be re-certified as required, for continued eligibility and the unit must be re-inspected for HQS. At that time the landlord may request an annual rent increase adjustment. This request must be submitted in writing to the HABC and to the tenant sixty (60) days prior to lease renewal. All requests must comply with rent reasonableness guidelines.
- If you experience a change in your income between your annual recertifications you are required to report this change in writing within ten days. You must provide documentation related to the change (i.e. pay stubs, letter from employer, unemployment benefit letter, family support statement, child support statement, etc.). Contact your caseworker to confirm what documentation you will need to provide.
- Your adjustment will be completed for the first of the month following the date all required documentation is received, if you experience a decrease in income. Your adjustment will be completed for the first of the month after 30 day notice, if you experience an increase in income.
- Failure to report changes in your household income in a timely manner will result in a repayment to the Housing Authority and may be cause from termination of your assistance.
- If you are adding a household member who is a minor you must provide a copy of their birth certificate, social security card and proof of citizenship. If you are a guardian additional documentation may be required.
- If you are adding a household member over the age of 18 they must provide a copy of their birth certificate, social security card, proof of citizenship, and written approval from the landlord. In addition, a background check will be required.
- All non-citizens will require an immigration check.
- If you are removing a household member you must provide proof of their residence. For minors, verification from school is acceptable. For adults, a minimum of two forms of third party documentation will be required (i.e. driver’s license, vehicle registration, lease, utility bill, postal verification, etc.). Additional documentation may be requested by our office.
- Tenant Rent is based upon your family’s gross annual income, allowances provided under the program, payment standard, contract rent and cost of utilities. Deductions and exclusions vary with different programs. Typical deduction examples include: $480 allowances for each dependent, $400 elderly family allowance, $400 disabled family allowance, medical expenses and child care expenses. These examples may or may not be applicable to the program you are applying for and to your family’s situation.
- The formula used in determining your family’s rent varies from program to program but is generally 30%of your monthly adjusted income, or a minimum rent established for that program by the Housing Authority, or a market (flat) rent.
- For more information specific to the HCV Section 8 program you may view the HUD website link:
- Relocation to another unit within our jurisdiction depends on the time it takes a client to find an affordable unit that passes HQS standards.
- Once you have provided the required written notice to your landlord and provided your caseworker with a copy you will be issued a voucher to relocate which is valid for 60 days. You will be provided with a packet of forms, Request for Tenancy Approval, to be completed by the prospective landlord. If the Request for Tenancy Approval is approved an inspection will be ordered and completed within 2 weeks of the apartments availability. Please note that the unit must be vacant and ready for inspection. Assistance may only begin on the first of the month following a passed inspection.
- If you are transferring agencies, once you have been issued a voucher and provide the required information your paperwork will be faxed and mailed to the agency you requested. You will be required to comply with the policies and procedures of the receiving Housing Authority. You may contact them for details regarding their lease up procedure and time frames.
- If you are a current participant on the HCV program you must meet the following criteria to be eligible to relocate with continued assistance.
- You must be a tenant in good standing (i.e. have no outstanding debt to your landlord and be current on any payments with the Housing Authority).
- You must have been receiving assistance for at least one year in your current unit.
- If you meet the above requirements the following steps must be completed to begin the relocation process.
- You must provide 60 days written notice or the time required by the lease, whichever is greater to your landlord and your caseworker.
- After the above notice is obtained your caseworker will schedule an appointment for you to receive a voucher for relocation. At or immediately preceding this appointment a review of your family composition, income and assets is required. At this meeting information regarding the rent limits will be provided.
- If you are interested in moving out of our jurisdiction you must provide the name of the Housing Authority, address, contact number and name of Portability Contact in the agency you want to transfer too.
- If you are a current participant on the HCV program you must meet the following criteria to be eligible to relocate with continued assistance.
- Important Facts to know:
- The voucher for relocation will expire after ninety(90) days of issuance. Extensions may be granted, contact your caseworker for additional information.
- All required documents must be received before assistance begins. The required documentation includes: completed and passed inspection, copy of signed lease agreement and signed HAP contract between the landlord and the Housing Authority of Bergen County. Assistance is not pro-rated and will only begin on the 1st of the month.
- Participants may relocate anywhere in the country, provided they have resided in our jurisdiction for at least 12 months.
Participant is responsible for all security deposit, realtor and credit check fees.
- If you are a current participant on the HCV program you must meet the following criteria to be eligible for portability:
- You must be a resident of our jurisdiction for at least one year.
- If you meet the above requirements you must follow the steps for relocation and provide your Assisted Housing Specialist with the name of the Housing Authority, address, phone number, and fax number you want to transfer to.
- Contact the Housing Authority you wish to relocate to and review their portability process. Once your paperwork is sent to the selected agency you must comply with their policies and procedures.
- Use the same screening methods for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher prospective tenants that they would use for other tenants, i.e., conducting credit checks, landlord references, criminal background reviews, etc.
- Landlords are prohibited from refusing to rent to a person so long as the source of that person’s income is lawful.
- Maintain their property in good condition and complete repairs within a reasonable amount of time in accordance with HQS.
- Set reasonable rules and regulations regarding the use of the unit and the common areas.
- Collect appropriate security deposits in compliance with New Jersey state law.
- Take appropriate legal action if the tenant violates the lease agreement.
- Comply with the terms and conditions of the lease agreement and the HAP Contract.
- Pay their portion of the rent on time.
- Comply with the terms and conditions of the lease agreement.
- Refrain from engaging in any illegal activity.
- Permit access for repairs.
- Avoid damage to the property.
- Refrain from disturbing the peace and quiet enjoyment of others.
- Insure that only those listed on the lease agreement reside in the unit.
- Immediately report changes in family size and income.
- Your current contact information (telephone number and mailing address) where you can be reached.
- Copy of current pension statement with gross benefit amount and any deductions that are taken.
- Proof of child support payments you are receiving. (Acceptable documents include: child support order or print out
from probation. If you are receiving child support directly from the provider, submit a letter from the provider that includes his/her name, full address, telephone number, and the amount and frequency of payments.)
- Copies of 4 current consecutive pay stubs for all household members who are employed. If 4 pay stubs are not available, submit a letter from the employer on company letterhead indicating the gross wages earned year-to-date and date of hire. Employer’s name and address must be provided.
- Proof of educational/training programs currently participating in for any household member over the age of 18.
- Verification of full time student (minimum of 12 credits) status for any household member over the age of 18. (This does not apply to the head of the household or spouse.)
- Copy of last year’s 1040 form for any household member over the age of 18 who is self-employed.
- Copy of unemployment stubs for any household member receiving benefits.
- Verification of alimony payments. (Acceptable documents include: copy of alimony order or print out from probation. If you are receiving support directly from the provider, submit a statement from the provider that includes his/her name, full address, telephone number, the amount and frequency of payments.)
- Copy of current TANF/GA award letter for any household member receiving public assistance.
- Verification of family support payments for any household member.
- Verification of assets applies to all households whose total net assets exceed $5,000.00.
- 6 months of consecutive bank statements for checking accounts (no exceptions).
- Most current statement for savings account, CD’s, money market, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and trusts.
- You must submit a letter from the bank indicating the current cash surrender value and the current interest rate/dividend return for retirement and life insurance plans.
- For real estate provide a copy of current tax assessment and current mortgage statement indicating principal balance, if applicable.
- Self certification of assets for all households whose assets are equal to or less than $5,000.00. Your household will be required to provide the name of the bank, account number, current balance and interest or dividends earned for all assets held by the household.
- Verification of child care expenses that are not reimbursed for children 12 years old and under. Provide a letter from the provider on company letterhead or a notarized letter including the name, address, and telephone number of the provider. Please be sure the provider indicates the amount and frequency of payments.
- Documentation of medical expenses that you anticipate to incur during the next 12 months that you will not be reimbursed and/or are not covered by insurance (Only applies to households whose head/spouse is a senior or disabled).
- Medical expenses that may be considered include all medical expenses anticipated to be incurred during the coming year that are not covered by insurance. Medical expenses can include such items as:
- Services of a physician or other health care professional;
- Services of a hospital or other health care facility;
- Medical insurance premiums;
- Prescription and nonprescription medicines;
- Dental expenses;
- Eyeglasses and eye examinations;
- Live-in or periodic medical care assistance (such as visiting nurses or care attendants);
- Medical or health products or apparatus (such as hearing aids or batteries);and
- Periodic payments on accumulated medical bills.
- Although medical expenses are permitted only for elderly or disabled households, once a household qualifies as an elderly or disabled household the medical expenses of all household members are considered.
- Some anticipated medical expenses can be easily documented, such as:
- Medicare and other medical insurance premiums,
- The cost of ongoing prescriptions, and
- Payment agreements for accumulated medical bills.
- Using the previous year’s medical expenses is not generally appropriate. The family may have had medical expenses last year that will not be repeated this year (such as an appendectomy) or the family may have new medical problems that were not reflected in last year’s costs (such as a family member being recently diagnosed as having diabetes).
Our agency HCV program covers all the municipalities in Bergen County except for the following towns:
- Fort Lee
- Cliffside Park