Rent Reasonable Procedure
WHA determines rent reasonableness using a third-party vendor, AffordableHousing.com.
AffordableHousing.com is the largest rental-listing service for the Section 8 housing market. They service families, landlords, and public-housing agencies across the United States.
They provide free information about current housing options under HUD's Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program in every market in the country.
The services they provide are as follows:
Their comprehensive database lets families locate and compare affordable rental homes currently available in their area. AffordableHousing.com's listings are available online. There's never a charge for family members to access the rental listings.
They afford landlords the largest national platform for reaching Section-8 eligible families. AffordableHousing.com provides a free listing option for all landlords and property managers. They also offer Premium services to landlords, such as cost-effective options for enhanced listing exposure and ongoing tenant placement services.
40% rule - Affordability process
When a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) is submitted to WHA, it is forwarded to the Program Specialist, where they then process the affordability for the Request for Tenancy Approval. This is the process where rent qualification for the family (cannot pay more than 40% of their gross monthly adjusted income toward rent and utilities) is determined. The Program Specialist will calculate affordability based on the participants' subsidy (voucher) size, verified household income, requested rent amount, and the HUD utility allowance schedule. Should the participants' rent and utility be more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income, the Program Specialist will determine the rent amount approvable and complete a rent reasonableness determination. If either amount is less than the requested rent amount submitted on the Request for Tenancy Approval form, the Program Specialist will contact the owner or agent to negotiate the requested rent.
What are the HCV Rent Guidelines?
WHA is required to perform assessments to ensure that HCV rents are comparable to current unassisted market rents. Three comparable unassisted units are used to determine the area's market rate based on comparability and similarity criteria. The maximum allowable rent can't be more than the affordable rate, nor can it be more than the highest comparable unit. The amount offered will be lesser of the requested rent, affordability calculation, or the average rent amount of the comparable unassisted units. (WHICHEVER IS SMALLER)
If the requested rent amount is not approvable, the owner or agent will be contacted to discuss and negotiate the rent amount. If an agreement is made, the owner or agent must agree in writing to any rent changes prior to the book being sent to inspection. If an agreement on the rent is not achieved, the rent and RFTA will be denied, and the participant will be instructed to locate another unit.
Other events may trigger Rent reasonableness to be re-determined. Should the owner ask for an increase in the rent, a rent reasonableness determination is performed again to see if the request is supported by current market conditions. Also, the rent reasonableness will also have to be re-determined if there is a change in who provides utility services in the contract.