The Housing Authority of the County of Monterey (HACM)
Thank you for your interest in the Housing Choice Voucher Program! At the Housing Authority of the County of Monterey, we deeply appreciate your commitment to this initiative. We value our owner partners immensely and warmly welcome you to join us in our shared mission to offer high-quality, affordable housing opportunities in Monterey County. It's important to recognize that the success of this program hinges on your active participation and dedication. Together, we can make a meaningful impact on our community.
What is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program?
The HCV program, commonly referred to as Section 8, is a federal housing initiative designed to assist individuals and families in securing affordable housing within the private rental market. It achieves this by offering monthly rental assistance. Participants contribute a portion of their income towards rent, with public housing authorities directly covering some or all the remaining balance, providing critical support to property owners.
How do I rent to HCV participants?
Renting to HCV participants is like renting to any other tenant, and you have the flexibility to utilize your preferred advertising methods. However, the Housing Authority suggests the option of listing your property at no cost on AffordableHousing.com. This platform allows interested participants to reach out to you directly, streamlining the rental process.
What should I do if someone with a voucher applies to my unit?
When an HCV participant expresses interest in your rental, they will provide you with a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) packet. If you're interested in renting to them, simply complete the RTA and submit it to the Housing Authority.
*Please note that an estimated tenant rent portion is provided to each applicant in writing during the voucher briefing. During the process of unit approval, the exact tenant portions cannot be provided and thus all landlords should refer to the estimated tenant portion.
You have several options for submitting the completed RTA:
You can drop it off or mail it to the Housing Authority office located at 123 Rico Street, Salinas, CA 93907.
Alternatively, you can email the RTA to firstname.lastname@example.org
When the Housing Quality Standards inspection passes, the Housing Authority will notify the landlord and the applicant.
The applicant can sign the lease the same day the Housing Quality Standards inception passes.
The Housing Authority will need a copy of the executed lease agreement immediately after both parties sign the document.
Please send this document to email@example.com
After the lease has been received, the Housing Authority will send the landlord the HAP Contract via email for signatures.
Thereafter, the landlord will begin to receive payment.
Once you've submitted the RTA, the Housing Authority's staff will typically review it within three to five business days. They may reach out to you if any adjustments are required. If your application is approved, you'll be contacted to arrange a Housing Quality Standards inspection shortly thereafter.
What is the value of a voucher?
A housing choice voucher doesn't have a fixed monetary value. Instead, it grants the holder access to rental assistance from the Housing Authority, and the level of assistance it offers can vary. For detailed information on rental assistance amounts, please refer to the Rent Information & Payment Standard page, accessible here.
How much can I charge for rent?
The HCV program does not impose a fixed limit on rent; however, it aims to ensure that the initial rent is affordable for the participant. The Housing Authority pays market rates to landlords renting to tenants with a Housing Choice Voucher. To determine how much we can approve for your unit, we will compare your unit to similar
non-assisted units that have recently been rented in your neighborhood.
Who is responsible for the security deposit?
HCV participants are responsible for covering the security deposit.
Can I raise the rent?
Yes, but this requires approval from the Housing Authority. To request a rent increase, owners must first serve a 60-day notice to their tenant and provide a copy of that notice to the Housing Authority. Approved rent increases will take effect on the first day of the month following 60 calendar days after the Housing Authority’s receipt of the owner’s request or on the date specified by the owner, whichever is later. Please note that all rent increases must comply with Rent Reasonableness. Additionally, it's important to be aware that state or local laws may place limitations on the extent to which you can increase rent. The Housing Authority recommends consulting with an attorney or legal entity for more details regarding these limitations on rent increases.
Ownership and Finances
How will I be paid by the Housing Authority?
The Housing Authority offers two payment options: direct deposit and physical checks, depending on your preference.
For direct deposit enrollment, please complete the Direct Deposit Authorization form, available direct deposit.
You can submit the completed form to the Housing Authority office at 123 Rico Street, Salinas, CA, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I report a change in property ownership?
The completed change in property ownership form can be submitted to the Housing Authority office at 123 Rico Street, Salinas, CA, or emailed to email@example.com
How can I report a change in property ownership?
You can submit changes to the Housing Authority office located at 123 Rico Street, Salinas, CA, or send them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a copy of the Grant Deed and the IRS W-9 form to initiate the change of ownership. Kindly anticipate some processing time as our staff reviews and processes your change request.
When will I receive payments from the Housing Authority?
Upon signing the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract and processing of the required paperwork by our staff, you can expect to start receiving HAP. Please allow a processing period of two to eight weeks for your initial payment. Following this initial phase, HAP will be disbursed promptly on the first business day of each month.
How can I update my direct deposit information?
Rent Approval Process
Gross Rent Explanation:
The gross rent encompasses the total cost of housing and is calculated by adding the rent charged by the owner to an estimated average monthly amount for utilities, assuming normal consumption. It's broken down as follows:
Gross rent = Contract rent + Utility allowance
Contract rent = The rent set by the owner
Utility allowance = Estimated monthly cost of utilities paid by the tenant
Please note that if all utilities are included in the rent, the rent to the owner and the gross rent will be the same.
The tenant’s contribution is determined as 30% of their monthly adjusted income.
Housing Assistance Payment (HAP):
The housing assistance payment is calculated by subtracting the tenant’s contribution from the lesser of:
The gross rent
The applicable payment standard
The housing assistance payment represents the rental assistance provided by the Housing Authority to the owner on behalf of the tenant. If the gross rent exceeds the applicable payment standard, the tenant’s contribution is adjusted to cover the remaining balance.
It's important to note that the tenant is responsible for any amount over the payment standard, in addition to 30% of their monthly adjusted income.
Maximum Rent Burden at Initial Occupancy:
At the beginning of the lease, the tenant’s contribution is assessed against the maximum rent burden, often referred to as the 40% affordability rule. This rule states that tenants may not pay more than 40% of their monthly income toward the gross rent. If the tenant’s contribution exceeds 40% of their monthly adjusted income, the Housing Authority will request a lower contract rent from the owner. Please keep in mind that the 40% affordability rule applies only to the initial lease term.
The Housing Authority is responsible for determining the rent reasonableness of unassisted units. Rent reasonableness ensures that the contract rent for unassisted units is comparable to that of at least three similar unassisted units. Factors considered include unit type, location, size, amenities, and utilities. It's important to note that, during this process, the Housing Authority may request a lower contract rent if necessary.
FAQ Payment Standards
What is the purpose of Payment Standards?
Payment Standards denote the maximum monthly rental assistance available to families participating in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs, covering both rent and utilities. It's important to note that Payment Standards do not determine the highest allowable monthly rent an owner can charge.
How are Payment Standards established?
Payment Standards are determined by the Housing Authority and are based on a percentage of the local Fair Market Rents (FMR), which are updated annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
How are Payment Standards applied?
Payment Standards play a critical role in calculating the housing assistance payment provided by the Housing Authority to the owner on behalf of the family occupying the unit. The tenant contributes a portion of their income towards rent, while the Housing Authority covers the remaining balance, up to the lesser of the contract rent or the applicable payment standard.
What does "Rent Reasonableness" mean?
Rent reasonableness is a process designed to verify that the rental rate proposed by the owner is fair and justifiable. The Housing Authority evaluates rent reasonableness by comparing the contract rent to the rates charged for a minimum of three comparable unassisted units. Factors considered during this assessment include unit type, location, size, amenities, and included utilities.
Should the contract rent be deemed unreasonable, it will not receive approval, prompting the Housing Authority to request a lower rent amount from the owner.
It's important to note that the concept of rent reasonableness applies not only to the initial lease term but also to any subsequent rent increases.
Utility allowances may be updated without prior notice. To access the most up-to-date utility allowance information for Monterey County here.