310 S. Roosevelt ST
Aberdeen, SD 57401

+605 226 2321
fax +605 225 8220

Mon - Thu 10:00 - 5:00
Friday - 10:00 - 2:30

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

HOW DOES AN OWNER GET INVOLVED IN THE PROGRAM?

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a tenant-based voucher program. AHA issues vouchers to tenants, who then can choose from the full spectrum of private-market rental units.

An owner becomes involved in the program through a family who has Housing Choice Voucher from AHA. The family looking for a rental unit will ask the owner if he/she is willing to participate in the program.

IS AN OWNER REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SECTION 8 PROGRAM?

An owner has the same right to select Section 8 HCV tenants as any other tenants. Federal, State, and Local Laws, however, prohibit housing discrimination based on race, color, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, and/or disability.

DOES AHA SCREEN FAMILIES FOR THE OWNER?

AHA screens applicants for program eligibility not for tenancy approval. Tenant screening is the responsibility of the owner.

AHA recommends that owners utilize a professional screening service for all rental applicants (both assisted and non-assisted).

CAN THE OWNER OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT THE FAMILY FROM AHA?

AHA will disclose the following information to potential owners if requested in writing:

  •  The family’s current address.
  • The name and address of the most recent and prior owner if known by AHA.

HOW MUCH RENT CAN AN OWNER CHARGE FOR HIS/HER UNIT?

With the Housing Choice Voucher Program a unit’s contract must be within the bounds of being both reasonable and affordable. Rent Reasonableness is based on HUD guidelines and is documented by comparable rents for units of same size, type and location.

AHA is not allowed to pay more than 110% or less than 90% of HUD’s Fair Market Rents for the Aberdeen Housing Authority jurisdiction, which is known as a payment standard. The payment standard is used to calculate the maximum subsidy amount that AHA will pay.

HOW IS THE TENANT RENT PORTION AND THE AHA RENT SUBSIDY AMOUNT DETERMINED?

A maximum AHA subsidy is calculated and the family is responsible for the remainder of the rent. The maximum subsidy is the difference between the Payments Standard set by AHA (by unit type and bedroom size) and an amount equal to 30% of the family’s adjusted monthly income. However, there is a rent limitation that varies with tenant income. The tenant’s portion of the monthly rent may not exceed 40% of adjusted monthly income at the initial lease up.

Staff will complete the affordability calculation when a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) is submitted. The family’s portion of the rent is affected by their income and the rent charged. Some units may not be affordable for a particular family, but could be affordable by another, with both families having Section 8 assistance.

WHAT IS A "REQUEST FOR TENANCY APPROVAL (RTA)?"

The Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) is a required HUD form that the family provides to the owner. The owner completes it with information about the unit regarding unit size, rent, address, and utility responsibilities. The family returns it to AHA. The RTA provides AHA with information necessary for the preparation of lease and/or contract documents. The RTA is not a lease; however, it’s required that a landlord complete the RTA when he/she has determined he/she is willing to enter into an assisted lease with the family.

If the owner wants to expedite preparation of the contract documents an unsigned copy of the unsigned lease should be attached to the RTA form.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE MOVE IN PAPERWORK IS RETURNED TO AHA?

AHA Program Specialists will contact the owner to schedule an initial inspection of the unit if the unit meets affordability. When the unit passes the inspection, the lease is executed and submitted to AHA. AHA will determine rent calculation and will draft and mail the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract to the Owner for signature. The owner will sign contract and return contract to AHA. The tenant may also direct the HAP contract between the Owner and AHA.

WHAT IS THE HOUSING ASSISTANCE PAYMENT (HAP) CONTRACT?

This is a contract between the owner and AHA. Essentially, it guarantees that AHA will pay a portion of the rent provided the owner performs his/her responsibilities under the lease. AHA strongly recommends that the owner read the contract completely, and be familiar with all of its provisions.

WHOSE LEASE DOCUMENT IS USED?

The owner provides his/her own lease, signed and dated by both parties, to the AHA for approval. Every lease is required to include the address of unit, the rent amount, which utilities the landlord and tenant are each responsible for paying, and the initial lease date with a term of one year. The initial lease date must coincide with the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract date. Initial housing assistance begins only on the 1st or 15th of each month, after the inspection has passed and all final paperwork has been completed. The tenant is not eligible for housing assistance if the utilities that the tenant is responsible for are not in that tenant’s name at the utility company. HUD requires that all leases subsidized under the Housing Choice Voucher program attach the Tenancy Addendum.

WHAT IS THE REQUIRED LEASE TERM?

Section 8 requires an initial lease term of no less than 1 year. A lease may end by:

  • Termination of lease by owner at end of lease with the required written notice.
  • Termination of lease by tenant at end of lease with the required written notice.
  • Termination for HQS violations.
  • The owner may terminate the lease for serious and/or repeated violation of the terms of the lease, violations of Federal, State, or local Laws regarding the occupancy or use of the unit.

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM SECURITY DEPOSIT AMOUNT A FAMILY IS ALLOWED TO PAY?

The family may pay a security deposit that equals the security deposit charged to unassisted families. The Section 8 families cannot pay a security deposit greater than what is charged to unassisted families. Full and timely payment and collection of the Security Deposit is the owner’s responsibility.

DOES SECTION 8 ASSISTANCE PROVIDE SECURITY DEPOSITS?

AHA does not loan money or help families pay their deposits. If damages to the unit exceed the security deposit collected the owner must pursue the debt from family to resolve any outstanding accounts.

HOW IS THE UTILITY ALLOWANCE FOR TENANT PAID UTILITIES DETERMINED?

The utility allowance for tenant paid utilities (excluding telephone and cable) is calculated by using average consumption data by bedroom size, structure type, energy source and current utility rate information. This data is updated annually.

WHEN WILL I KNOW WHAT THE TENANT IS SUPPOSED TO PAY TOWARDS THE RENT?

Each participant attends a program briefing upon initial approval of participation in the program and each time they transfer units. At the briefing, Section 8 staff determines the income affordability for each participating family. The participating family is provided a S8 Worksheet which identifies 30%of the family’s income. The family’s estimated rent portion is calculated based on gross rent of the unit (rent plus utilities) and family income, not to exceed 40%.

WHAT WILL CAUSE THE FAMILY’S OR AHA’S RENT PORTION TO CHANGE?

Rent portions may change at the family’s annual re-examination or mid year due to a change in the family’s income, expenses, composition and/or a change in the contract rent. The owner and the family will be notified in writing of any change in the rent portions.

WHEN WILL I RECEVE THE SUBSIDY PAYMENTS?

The FIRST payment for a tenant moving in to your unit will come to you within a week after the 1st or 15th depending on the Housing Assistance Payment date. Subsequent payments will be mailed approximately the 1st of each month.

CAN I RAISE THE RENT?

Contract rent increases are allowed after the 1st year initial lease, with a 60 day notice. AHA will subject the increase to a rent reasonableness and affordability calculation.

WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF FRAUD INVOLVING OWNERS/MANAGERS?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Aberdeen Housing Authority are seriously concerned about fraud in the Section 8 Programs. Incidence of fraud, willful misrepresentations, or intent to deceive with regard to the Section 8 Program is a criminal act and will lead to cancellation of program participation and legal actions.

The following are some examples of fraud:

  • Requiring tenant to have his/her name on utility accounts and/or pay for utilities and services that are the responsibility of the Owner in accordance with the lease.
  • Collecting assistance payments for units not occupied by Section 8 tenants.
  • Collecting extra amounts for tenant rent.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SUSPECT TENANT FRAUD?

Please contact the AHA at (605) 226-2321.

WHAT SHOULD AN OWNER DO IF A TENANT SERIOUSLY AND/OR REPEATEDLY VIOLATES THE PROVISIONS OF THE LEASE?

Landlords have property rights as do tenants. If the tenant fails to pay the rent or otherwise violates the terms of the lease, the landlord may demand that the default be cured. If it is not, the landlord has the right to terminate the lease.

Lease violations by Section 8 tenants must be handled in the same manner as those with unassisted tenants and in accordance with applicable laws. The lease is between the tenant and the owner.

Three Day Notice to Quit and Vacate: This is an informal notice and can be taped to the tenant’s door, mailed or delivered in any way that would reasonably reach the tenant. This notice should state why the tenant is being evicted. The tenant has until midnight on the third day to completely vacate the property. The three day timeframe does not include the day the notice was delivered. A copy of a Three Day Notice to Quit and Vacate is in the Landlord Packet. A form may also be picked up at the Brown County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department will present your tenant with the Three Notice to Quit and Vacate for a fee. If you decide to do it yourself and cannot present it to the tenant in person, be sure to have a third party witness you taping it on their door in case you would need this witness in court.

Summons and Complaint: This is a formal notice to vacate which is served by an officer of the court. Typically, this summons will follow a three day notice if the property owner or manager has not achieved the desired results. This notice allows the tenant four days to vacate the property or respond to the notice. If the tenant chooses to vacate, the four day evacuation timeframe does not include date of delivery of the Summons and Complaint.

Judgment of Eviction: This is a circuit court action ordering the tenant to vacate the property. If the tenant has responded to the Summons and Complaint, this is their opportunity to make their case in front of the judge. If the tenant fails to appear in court, judgment by default will be issued. With a judgment, the landlord, accompanied by the sheriff or a representative of the courts, can enter the property, escort the tenant and their necessary belongings out, and change the locks. However, this does not allow the landlord to seize the tenant’s personal belongings. Those belongings would have to be treated as personal property.

Personal Property: The landlord may keep any property that is left in a dwelling if the tenant has failed to notify the landlord of intent to move, has been evicted, or has already moved a substantial portion of belongings out of the unit, and if the value of the property remaining is less than or equal to $500.00. If the value of the property is greater than $500.00, the landlord is required to hold the tenant’s property for a period of thirty (30) days. If the property is not claimed within that timeframe, the landlord may consider the property abandoned and dispose of it. A landlord cannot hold the property for payment or back rent or damages to the unit. The landlord must sue the tenant in Small Claims or Circuit Court and obtain a money judgment before the landlord attempts to collect for anything not already covered by the security deposit.

Retaliatory Evictions: According to South Dakota law, it is unlawful for a landlord to force a tenant into moving by raising the rent, decreasing services, or starting an eviction because of any of the following:

  • Complaints to the landlord because needed repairs are not being made.
  • Having your rental unit inspected by governmental agency and/or complaining to a governmental agency who can force the landlord to make repairs.
  • Becoming active in a tenant organization.