The Housing Choice Voucher program is a vital resource to low-income families looking to find housing in the private rental market. With rental prices skyrocketing nationwide, having enough dependable landlords in the program to meet community demands is more important than ever.
Quadel Managing Director, Cheiktha Dowers, discusses common reasons landlords hesitate to join the HCV program and strategies to increase participation.
Host Housing Fairs to Educate Landlords
Housing fairs effectively connect landlords with potential tenants and can expedite the leasing process. Fairs can be utilized as lease-up events by having tenants complete and submit their Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) to lease a potential unit. In addition, interested property owners can learn more about the program’s purpose, the requirements of owners within the program from staff members, and have any questions answered quickly in a one-stop shop.
“TNQ in Memphis and our other HCV offices work to host housing fairs twice a year. Hosting these events creates a casual space to gain an understanding of important information and dispel any program misconceptions such as rental payments and unit requirements,” Dowers said. “Real-time answers are invaluable to potential landlords and participants. By opening the doors to the community, people can see what a housing agency does, why it’s important, and how they can get involved in improving affordable housing opportunities in their neighborhoods.”
Evaluate and Increase Fair Market Rates to Remain Competitive
Some landlords may be reluctant to rent to voucher holders because of the potential for higher rental income in the private market. Housing authorities should periodically evaluate their Fair Market Rates (FMR) regularly to ensure they are comparable to private market rates.It’s also important address this common misconception with potential landlords. Under the HCV program, property owners are guarenteed the rent payments, which are equivalent to local private market rates.
“TNQ increased its payment standards to 120% of FMR, which represents the maximum subsidy the housing authority can provide for a rental unit,” Dowers said. “It’s important housing authority leadership monitors any changes or increases in the local rental market to make the program more attractive to landlords.”
Ensure Transparent Communication
The HCV program requires understanding and compliance of many regulations, including unit condition and Housing Quality Standards Inspections (HQS). It is imperative landlords, no matter how long they have been involved in the program, are aware of any regulatory changes and authority operations.
“Clear communication channels help address concerns promptly and ensure stability during times of unexpected challenges or change. Regular communication with landlords helps maintain a collaborative leasing relationship,” Dowers said. “One of the most successful ways we’ve done this is through online landlord portals, which give landlords access to their program information 24/7 and the ability to communicate with housing staff as needed.”
Interested in seeing how Quadel can help increase the amount of landlords in your HCV program? Request a proposal.