Chester Housing Authority

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How do I become a HCVP landlord and how do I list a vacant unit?

Many investors begin their relationship with the CHA and Housing Choice Voucher Program when they acquire a property or have a unit turnover. The CHA has a listing service, free of charge for owners with vacancies or projected vacancies. Owners may complete the Available Property Listing form in our office or telephone the CHA and list the unit with the receptionist at 610-904-1111, Ext. 100. In addition, owners may e-mail pictures and descriptions of their available unit to [email protected] The unit pictures will be posted in our lobby and shared with Occupancy Specialists to share with their clients. The owner may post pictures of the vacant unit online at his or her own discretion. CHA has refrained from posting vacant units online to prevent vandalism and to ensure that the owner is only contacted by program participants that are certified and eligible to lease a new unit.

Eligible households that are looking for a place to live will contact you directly if they are interested in seeing your unit. An eligible family is one that has been issued a voucher or extension in the last 60 days and has received a subsidy estimator worksheet to help them look for units within their budget. The CHA will record your unit on the "Available Property Listing" for 60 days unless you notify us sooner that the unit has been rented.

If the unit has not been rented in 60 days and you want to continue to list the unit, please notify the CHA receptionist at 610-904-1111, Ext. 100 to retain the unit listing. If we do not hear from you, the listing will be removed after 60 days.

Owners are required to adhere to fair housing laws in the offer, screening, and selection of tenants. The CHA will not accept listing from owners who fail to comply with fair housing laws.

How do I decide if I want to rent to a HCVP household?

In accordance with HUD program rules, the CHA screens initial applicants and new adults joining participant households for criminal histories for drug-related and violent crimes, sex offenders, evictions from public housing, and debts owed to the CHA or other housing agencies.

However, owners have the responsibility to conduct reference checks to determine tenant suitability based on rental payment history, housekeeping, damages above normal wear and tear, disturbances to neighbors, etc. Owners may ask the CHA for prior landlord contact information, unit inspection information, and documented problems with prior tenancies to assist them in making informed tenant selections. You may have several tenants in the program interested in your unit. It is your job to decide who is the most qualified candidate based on renter history and references.

How will I know if the prospective tenant who calls me or comes to see my unit is a Housing Choice Voucher Program participant?

To verify if a prospective tenant is an actual program participant and eligible to move to your unit, please ask the family to show you a copy of their Housing Voucher. The Housing Voucher would have been issued within the last 60 days from the Chester Housing Authority, or have an approved extension period.

How will I know if the prospective tenant can afford the unit?

A family with a current voucher will also have a calculation worksheet that will have an estimated voucher subsidy for the family and the maximum rental the family would be permitted to lease. Prior to searching for a unit, the CHA provides the family with an estimate based on their reported income and their current rental unit and utility costs. Families are not permitted to lease units where their share of the rent to the owner and the average cost of utilities for the unit exceed 40% of their monthly adjusted income.

To meet the affordability requirement, families are advised to lease units with the number of bedrooms that they actually need based on their family size, as larger units generally rent at a higher rate and have higher utility costs. When a family selects a unit, a final determination is made based on the proposed rent and utility costs for the prospective unit.

How much rent can I charge?

In addition to meeting the affordability test for the family, proposed rents must be reasonable for the location, size, and number of bedrooms, age, condition, services and amenities of comparable, unassisted units. The CHA has a database of recently leased units in various neighborhoods throughout Chester and Delaware County to make this determination. If comparable unit information does not support the proposed rent, owners are welcome to submit comparable unit information for leased, unassisted units to support their proposed rent. Local realtors also provide comparable unit information for privately rented units.

What happens after I select the tenant?

Once you have made your tenant selection, you are required to have a Certificate of Occupancy inspection from the City of Chester or other local municipality. A Certificate of Occupancy is required prior to submitting the Request for Tenancy Approval to the Chester Housing Authority. The local building Inspector establishes the number of bedrooms and approves the maximum number of occupants per dwelling unit. Once you receive the Certificate of Occupancy from the local municipality, you must submit your Request for Tenancy Approval documents to the Chester Housing Authority for the Housing Quality Standards inspection. McCright and Associates is the contract inspector for the Chester Housing Authority and the McCright Call Center will contact you directly to schedule the inspection.

When do payments begin?

The initial payment is issued approximately two (2) weeks from the date the HAP Contract is executed and monthly thereafter on or about the first of the month. Please note that the CHA does not receive its funds from HUD until the first business day of the month therefore payments from the CHA to the owner cannot transfer until that time. If the first of the month falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the CHA will not issue payments until Monday at the earliest and upon confirmation of receipt of funds. Owners are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit and to use the landlord access portal on the CHAs' website to monitor issuance of payments. A registration key for the portal is required and is provided at the owner's request.