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The Section 8 Rental Assistance Program

Our Purpose:

Tuscarawas Metropolitan Housing Authority strives to improve the lives of low income families by providing housing assistance and opportunities to achieve self sufficiency. This is achieved through a number of programs, the primary one being the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

What is Section 8 Housing?

A HUD funded Federal program, which is named for a section  of the Housing & Community Development Act of 1974. Established the use of  privately–owned  rental housing for public assistance. The program is governed by acts of Congress. HUD writes the regulations. TMHA is the local program administrator.

Goal of the Section 8 Program:

To provide decent, safe and sanitary rental units to eligible families, through the use of privately owned housing anywhere in Tuscarawas County. All types of housing will be utilized including single family homes, duplexes, apartments & manufactured homes. Program is structured to offer housing considered as average in the local market.

Who is eligible for the program?

Very low income households of any size, with income levels defined by Federal guidelines. We assist many families, and  also single person households many of whom are elderly and / or disabled. The current income eligibility guidelines are as follows:

Persons in Household           Annual Income Limit

           1                                                $27,800

            2                                               $31,750

            3                                               $35,700

            4                                               $39,650 

            5                                               $42,850

            6                                               $46,000

            7                                               $49,200

            8                                               $52,350

How do you decide how much rent a tenant pays?

We verify income and take off allowable deductions including (Medical, Elderly/Disabled, Dependent Allowance). Then, the family pays about 30% to 40% of their monthly adjusted income toward rent and tenant utilities.

Housing Choice Voucher Program

Governed by a Payment Standard, (see explanation below) The gross rent can exceed the Payment Standard. The tenant contributes 30% to 40% of adjusted income to rent and utilities;  TMHA pays remainder of rent directly to the owner. If the tenant contribution on a unit is over 40%, TMHA must disallow the unit as being too expensive for the tenant family, even with assistance.

Gross Rent

A figure that includes the rent to owner amount, plus an estimate of utilities (electric, heating, water, sewer, trash) not included in the rent, that will have to be paid by the tenant.

What is The Payment Standard?

The Payment Standard is a figure that represents the gross rent (rent & utility estimate) that has to be paid for average housing in our local market. Payment Standards are based on Fair Market Rents (FMR’s) that are set by HUD for every section of the country, based on census and market data. These figures are usually updated for inflation every year, generally October 1st at the start of the Federal Fiscal Year.

A different Payment Standard is set for each bedroom size. The Payment Standard is used to calculate the amount of subsidy TMHA will pay for each family by subtracting 30% of the family’s monthly income from the Payment Standard. Based on this formula, families with very low incomes get more subsidy, and families with higher incomes get less. The actual gross rent for a unit may exceed the Payment Standard if the family has enough income to cover the excess rent over the Payment Standard (up to 40% of their income), and so long as the rent is “reasonable” (in line with other comparable area rents). As of December 1st, 2008, the Payment Standard for a 2 bedroom unit, for example, is $610.00

Does the rental unit have to meet certain inspection standards?

Yes. Before being leased-up on the program, the rental unit must pass an inspection utilizing Housing Quality Standards adopted by HUD. Once on the program, the unit must be re-inspected annually.

What happens if the unit fails the inspection?

The landlord is given the opportunity to make the necessary repairs that will result in a passing inspection. If the landlord chooses not to make the necessary repairs, the unit cannot be leased up on the program.

How do I sign up for the program?

Since our program is not an entitlement program (meaning we only have a limited amount of Vouchers available for use at any one time), you can only be assisted when program funds are available for you. In order to be assisted in the future, you must stop in and sign up on the waiting list. See the Waiting List link for more information.

What about security deposits?

Landlords have a  right to collect a security deposit on the Section 8 program. However, TMHA does not have funds to assist with security deposits. Sometimes families can get rental deposit assistance from the Department of Job & Family Services through their Prevention, Retention & Contingency program. In some cases, we know landlords have allowed a family to make payments on the deposit, but that is strictly up to the landlord.

Once I am on the rental assistance program, what do I have to do to maintain my eligibility?

In order to maintain eligibility, you are required to inform us about changes to your family composition and/or income wherever they occur. In addition, each year HUD requires TMHA to re-verify your family composition and income, even if you have reported no changes. This is known as Re-certification. Clients will be mailed a packet of information prior to an assigned Re-certification appointment time here at the TMHA office. Clients are required to complete or obtain this information and then come to the TMHA office with this completed information at their assigned time. Clients will be granted a limited number of appointment times in order to complete this essential process. Failure to complete this Re-certification will result in your rental assistance being terminated.

Obligations of the Family

The following conditions are grounds on which Tuscarawas Metropolitan Housing Authority may deny or terminate assistance because of a family's action or failure to act:

ALL family members 18 years and older must initial each line and must comply with the following:

  1. Supply any information that TMHA or HUD determines necessary, including evidence of citizenship or eligible immigration status, birth certificates, social security cards and sign and submit consent forms for obtaining information. Sign and complete documentation as requested by TMHA to complete and/or update your file.
  2. Supply information and documentation requested by TMHA or HUD for use in yearly scheduled re-certification examinations or for any other requested reasons.
  3. Report ANY changes in income, IN OUR OFFICE IN PERSON within 10 days. (This includes cash assistance, SSI, SSDI, VA, pension, child support, alimony, unemployment, workers compensation, job changes, babysitting, wage increases or decreases, etc.)
    **You will be financial responsible to repay TMHA for any fraudulent unreported income that results in overpayment in your rental subsidy to your landlord.**
  4. Promptly notify TMHA in person in our office of the birth, adoption, or court-awarded custody of a child. You MUST provide documentation such as birth certificate, social security card, and any supporting court documentation requested.
  5. Provide a WRITTEN statement from your Landlord giving permission to add anyone as an occupant to the unit. TMHA requires adults to complete the application and approval process before moving in.
  6. If a household member no longer lives in the unit and wants to be removed from the lease, BOTH the head of household and the individual leaving the unit MUST come into our office to complete a self-certification stating when the member has left the unit and the address of where they are living now.
  7. Notify TMHA in writing (within 10 calendar days) when the family is away from the unit for 2 weeks or more, as stated in TMHA policy.
  8. Supply any information requested by TMHA to verify that the family is living in the unit or information related to family absence from the unit.
  9. Use the assisted unit for residence by the family. The unit must be the family's ONLY residence.
  10. Allow TMHA to inspect the unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice.
  11. Give a WRITTEN 30 day notice to the Landlord and TMHA before moving out of the unit. Moves during the first year of the lease can only occur with a Mutual Recession.
  12. Give TMHA a copy of any Eviction Notice the family receives.
  13. Pay utility bills and maintain any appliance that is the tenants responsible as stated in lease agreement. Failure to do this can result in termination.

ALL members of the family MUST NOT:

  1. Engage in threatening, abusive or violent behavior toward TMHA personnel.
  2. Commit any serious or repeated violation of the lease, including utility shut off.
  3. Commit fraud, forgery, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with the program.
  4. MUST NOT permit anyone who is not on the lease to live with or establish a pattern of staying in the assisted unit. NO UNAUTHORIZED LIVE-INS.
  5. Engage in illegal use of a controlled substance or abuse of alcohol that threatens the health and safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.
  6. Participate in illegal drug or violent criminal activity.
  7. Own or have any interest in the unit (other than in a cooperative or as the owner of a manufactured home space). TMHA Home Ownership Program participation excluded.
  8. Sublease or let the unit or assign the lease or transfer the unit
  9. Receive Section 8 tenant-based program housing assistance while receiving another housing subsidy for the same unit or a different unit under any other Federal, State or local housing assistance program.
  10. Receive Section 8 tenant-based housing assistance while residing in a unit owned by a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister or brother of any member of the family, unless TMHA has determined (and notified that owner and the family of such determination) that approving rental of the unit, notwithstanding such relationship, would provide reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities.
  11. Violate an agreement with TMHA to repay amounts owed to the Housing Authority for unreported income or any other reason which resulted in an overpayment in your rent subsidy to your landlord.
  12. Damage the unit or premises (other than damage from ordinary wear and tear) or permit any guest to damage the unit or premises.
  13. CANNOT move if you owe your landlord amounts for rent, damages or other amounts due under the lease or if in arrears with TMHA Repayment Agreement.
  14. According to TMHA policy, tenants must NOT agree to pay your Landlord additional rent in excess of the stated amount of the lease. (Exception would include monthly pet fees.)

TMHA tenants are required to sign off on receiving and understanding these obligations.


TMHA Resident Advisory Board

The TMHA Resident Advisory Board needs your participation. The purpose of the (R.A.B.) is to advise the housing authority on ways in which to make the program more effective for all participating families. TMHA would like to give participating families an active voice in the administration of our PHA.  We are very interested in hearing your opinions regarding assisted housing. All current TMHA Section 8 clients are eligible to participate on the R.A. B.

This group meets at the TMHA office six times yearly (every other month) to discuss issues involving the administration of the TMHA Section 8 Program. Some of this groups discussions include:

  • TMHA Operating Procedures
  • TMHA Annual Plan Submitted to HUD
  • Utility Costs and TMHA Utility
  • Allowance Process
  • Family Self– Sufficiency efforts at TMHA
  • TMHA Tenant Integrity Policies & Fraud
  • New Initiatives at TMHA

     Refreshments are provided at each meeting. Call to find out the time and date of the next meeting.