My tenant is not paying rent and/or damaging my property—What can I do?
You should enforce your lease the same way you would with a market rate tenant. It is a good idea to document any issues with tenants through written notices sent to the tenant and a copy sent to the Lafayette Housing Authority. If the tenant’s violations are serious or repeated, you may want to consider evicting the tenant.
Does the Lafayette Housing Authority screen families to see if they would be good tenants?
No. This kind of screening is the landlord’s responsibility. We strongly urge you to use the same diligence in screening applicants with Section 8 Assistance as you would all other applicants for your units.
Can I charge the tenant a security deposit?
Yes, as long as it’s reasonable and not more than you charge unassisted tenants. HUD regulations state that the security deposit has to be refundable. You cannot collect a last month’s rent. The family is responsible for paying their security deposit. The Lafayette Housing Authority does not help families with this expense. If the family damages the unit beyond normal wear and tear, you will need to take payment for those damages from the security deposit.
When I’m leasing to a new tenant, when can I expect to get my money from the Lafayette Housing Authority?
The Lafayette Housing Authority begins assistance on the 1st and 15th of every month for families. The unit must pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection and the family must have possession (keys and the ability to move in) of the unit. It usually takes our office five to ten working days to process the paperwork that includes the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) contract and the lease agreement. Once all parties sign the paperwork, your payment will be made. If assistance began on the 15th, the first month’s payment will be prorated. Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) are required to be direct deposited.
How do I get my monthly Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) breakdown?
If you have access to the landlord portal on our website, this will give the details of the HAP payments made to you by Lafayette Housing Authority. If you need access to the landlord portal, contact Kerry Landon at firstname.lastname@example.org for initial set up.
If my daughter has Section 8 Rental Assistance, can I rent to her and her children?
Effective June 17, 1998, the Lafayette Housing Authority is prohibited from entering into a contract on behalf of a family if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister or brother of any member of the family. The only exception is if the Lafayette Housing Authority determines that the unit would provide a reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities.
Is there a time limit that families can received Section 8 rental assistance?
Currently, there is no time limit for receiving assistance. If a family is able to pay their entire rent for 180 days, the contract will automatically terminate and the family will no longer have rental assistance.
If a family with small children leases my unit, what happens when the children grow up and move out?
Just because there are no small children in the household does not mean that the family is not eligible to receive rental assistance. If there is a change in family size and the family is now living in a unit that is too large for their family size, they may have to move.
How can families lose their eligibility to receive rental assistance?
Families have to meet certain obligations to continue to receive rental assistance. These include but are not limited to attending scheduled appointments, not being involved in drug-related or violent criminal activity and not damaging their unit beyond normal wear and tear. If the Lafayette Housing Authority receives documentation that the family has violated a “family obligation” we can terminate the family’s eligibility. You will generally receive a 30 day notice if the contract is terminated because the family is no longer eligible; however, some exceptions are if the family moves out without notice or if you evict.
Will the Lafayette Housing Authority help me evict a problem tenant?
You signed a contract with the Lafayette Housing Authority and a lease with the tenant family. The Lafayette Housing Authority is not a party to the lease. This means our office cannot help you enforce the lease. This is your responsibility just as it would be for other non-assisted tenants. If your tenant is violating the lease, you can evict them at any time. If you contact our office and report that you think the family is violating a program rule, we will investigate. This doesn’t mean that you can’t and shouldn’t take action as their landlord. For example, if you suspect there are more people living in the unit than stated on the lease, you should call us and give us that information. Allowing persons not on the lease to live in the assisted unit is a violation of the family obligation and it is also a lease violation. You can take action as the landlord because the family is violation the lease. Keep in mind that if the Lafayette Housing Authority terminates a family’s eligibility, that does not mean they will automatically vacate your unit.
Can the Lafayette Housing Authority give me advice concerning what to do about a problem tenant?
No. Law prohibits us from giving legal advice. Again, you need to deal with assisted tenants in the same way you would those who do not have rental assistance. You should be familiar with the Indiana Landlord/Tenant Laws and keep current with any changes. In some cases, you may need to seek legal help.
What should I do if a tenant damages the unit beyond normal wear and tear?
You can evict a tenant if they are damaging your unit. In addition, if a tenant damages a unit beyond normal wear and tear, they can lose their rental assistance. If this happens, you need to contact our office and discuss this with us.
When should I let the Lafayette Housing Authority know what actions I’ve taken toward my tenant?
You need to give the Lafayette Housing Authority a copy of all written notices, warnings or evictions you give an assisted family. You must also notify the Lafayette Housing Authority if your tenant vacates the unit in violation of the lease.
Do I have a right to inspect my rental property?
We encourage you to inspect your property with proper notice to the family. This will insure regular maintenance and encourage proper tenant up-keep. You shouldn’t rely on the biennial HQS inspection conducted by the Lafayette Housing Authority to keep you up-to-date on the condition of your unit.
What if I want to stop paying for the water or another utility that I am responsible for or if I decide to start paying for the trash collection?
Because the family is given “credit” for paying utilities, it’s important that we know who is paying for what utilities. If you want to change what is stated on the lease, you will need to contact our office.