How To Become a Participating Landlord in St. Petersburg’s Housing Authority Section 8 Housing Choice Program

Becoming a Participating Landlord in St. Petersburg’s Housing Authority

A participating landlord in St. Petersburg’s Housing Authority (SPHA) enjoys income from people thoroughly screened into the Section 8 program.

It’s more than using your property for rental income.  You’re providing an opportunity for a person or a family to establish a home, creditworthiness, and a chance for a better future.  Which also makes the community better in the long term.

Partnering with the St. Petersburg Housing Authority to People in the Community Safe and Affordable Places to Live

City officials report there’s a shortage of housing available in St. Pete that’s both affordable and in good condition.

Contracting with homeowners is a way SPHA can use Section 8 funding and help the elderly, disabled, and low-income residents into safe and clean homes.

The program is called the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and the city authority, renters, and participating landlords all work cooperatively to make it successful for everyone involved.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides the maximum amount the SPHA will pay is the standard rental amount minus 30% to 40% of the tenant’s adjusted monthly income.  If the contract rental amount is lower, that will be the amount paid to the landlord or property manager.

The 5 Step Process to Becoming a St. Pete Participating Landlord

Any homeowner who’d like to be a part of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program can contact the SPHA at (727) 323-3137.

Here’s a look at how the program is laid out and the responsibilities the government, individuals, and landlords have to each other.

1. Finding a tenant –

No need to advertise with signs or online.  The SPHA will add you and your property to their list of suggested participating landlords.  A tenant may come to you with a voucher in hand.  It’s similar to getting pre-approved to get a loan; they’ve already completed a lot of the checklist and are ready to pick a place.

2.  Owner approves tenant –

The SPHA first confirms the person or family is eligible for the program.  As the owner, you get a say in who rents your property.  There’s a Housing and Urban Development form the landlord completes and submits when the homeowner and renters both agree.  The necessary form is called the Request for Tenancy Approval.  The Housing Authority still has to sign off on the arrangement.

3. SPHA approves the lease and unit –

At this stage, the SPHA will determine whether the home qualifies for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. A Housing Quality Standards inspection and the Rent Reasonability Test must be followed.

If repairs are needed to bring the unit up to requirements, additional time will be granted to do the work.

An inspector will review ten areas in and around the home to ensure it is compliant:

  • Living Room
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Other Rooms Used for Living
  • Secondary Rooms (Not Used for Living)
  • Building Exterior
  • Heating and Plumbing
  • General Health and Safety
  • Storage building
  • Garage
  • All areas covered by Lease

All of the inspection points will receive a pass or fail rating.  Any items that fail to meet proper Housing Quality Standards (HQS) must be fixed before occupancy. In addition, all SPHA Section 8 houses must be inspected in the same areas annually. 

Before scheduling the HQS inspection, homeowners can remediate common issues that lead to a fail rating:

  • Inoperable bathroom fan or no ventilation
  • Leaking faucets or plumbing
  • No temperature/pressure relief valve on water heaters  
  • Cracked or broken window panes
  • Inoperable burners on stoves or inoperable range hoods
  • Missing burner control knobs
  • Missing or broken smoke detectors
  • Missing or cracked electrical outlet cover plates
  • Railings not present where required
  • Peeling exterior and interior paint
  • Tripping hazards caused by permanently installed floor coverings (carpets/vinyl)

4. Contract and Lease Signed –

Once the SPHA approves both the lease details and inspections showing the house is up to snuff, it’s time to enter into a contract.  It’s called a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract.  It will spell out what SPHA will pay the landlord monthly toward subsidizing the person or family’s rent, along with the renters’ responsibilities regarding payment.

5. Housing Assistance Payments –

Once the HAP Contract and lease are signed, the landlord receives their first payment from SPHA.  Those payments continue monthly as long as the renters stay.  Renters must continue to meet all eligibility criteria to be in the program, and the home must remain in compliance with program requirements.

Final Details

The St. Pete Housing Authority, renters, and landlords must all comply with local, state, and federal laws.

No forms of discrimination will be tolerated.

The lease must be for at least one year.  A primary focus of the program is to relieve low-income residents of the high costs associated with having to move regularly.   The lease may be terminated for cause at any time during the lease. 

Homes in every neighborhood in the city may qualify for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

The SPHA’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program guidebook is available online.

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