Tenants

 

Across the United States, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program helps low-income families afford decent housing in the private rental market.  The Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) provides rental assistance to over 23,000 low-income families throughout Los Angeles County.  The program helps eligible families afford safe, decent, high-quality rental housing.  Participants rent housing from private landlords and pay a portion of their income towards rent.  The LACDA subsidizes the difference in monthly payments directly to the owner, through funding received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Owners, participants, and the LACDA share in making this three-way-partnership a success.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The rent amount paid by most Section 8 participants is between 30% - 40% of their monthly income.

The LACDA determines a participant's income in compliance with regulations at 24 CFR Part 5.  Income from all sources is included, unless specifically excluded by program regulations.  Income is any amount, monetary or not, that go to or are on behalf of the family head or spouse or to any other family member, or all amounts anticipated to be received from a source outside the family.
The LACDA payments start on the effective date of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract, which is not until:

- The LACDA approves the unit rent
- The unit passes inspection
- You and the owner sign the lease
- You take possession of the unit and get the keys from the owner

If you move into a unit before the HAP contract effective date, you are responsible for the full amount of rent.
The LACDA has access to a Federal Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System to look at reported and unreported income.  EIV is a system provided by HUD that allows the LACDA to verify employment information, wages, unemployment compensation, and social security benefit information.  The EIV system also compares this information to the income you have already reported to the LACDA.
 
The LACDA also has an agreement with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services to use their LRS System to verify CalWORKs, General Relief benefits, and food stamps information.
The unit size on your voucher is the size that the LACDA will subsidize.  It is based on household size, and set at two people per bedroom, including all approved household members.  

Number of Household Members
1-2
3-4
5-6
7-8
9-10
11-12

Number of Bedrooms
1-bedroom
2-bedroom
3-bedroom
4-bedroom
5-bedroom
6-bedroom

You may live in a bigger unit if it is affordable, but the subsidy is still based on the unit size on the voucher.  The subsidy is based on the actual unit size only when it's smaller than the size on the voucher.

If a person is added to the household, the family may stay in the unit so long as it is not overcrowded.  If the family moves, a voucher will be issued based on the current household composition.

The LACDA may approve another bedroom that accommodates the needs of a disabled person, as a reasonable accommodation.

At your Annual Reexamination, you must report all income, received from all sources, for all family members. Additionally, throughout the year, participants are required to report changes to the LACDA within 10 days after the changed has occurred. The participant must submit to the LACDA the Interim Reexamination Request form along with supporting documentation for the change.

A good rule of thumb to follow is if you are not sure, report it. The LACDA has the tools to check and verify that you are reporting your income appropriately. Your assistance may be terminated, and you may be required to repay any rent the LACDA overpaid on your behalf.

What happens when I report a change in income?

When you report a change income, the LACDA determines how much rent you pay.

If you report a decrease in income, the contract is adjusted for the first day of the month following the month in which you provide all required documentation of the decrease.

If you report an increase in income, the contract is adjusted for the first day of the month following a 30-day notice. If a family fails to report a change within the required time frame or fails to provide all required information within the required time frames, the increase will be applied retroactively, to the date it would have been effective had the information been provided in a timely matter.

California State law and program regulations require owners to give their tenant and the LACDA a 60-day advanced notice of intent to increase the rent.  The LACDA will review all rent increase requests and follow any State and local Rent Stabilization Ordinances adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and conduct a rent reasonableness test. If the rent increase or a partial is justified, the LACDA will determine your portion of the rent and will notify you in writing of any approved changes to your rent payment.

Section 8 participants must pay only the amount of rent authorized by the LACDA.  Any additional amount of rent other than what is authorized by the LACDA is considered a "side payment."  Unauthorized side payments are grounds for program termination.

For more information on Rent Stabilization and City Rent Control guidelines, visit  www.dcba.lacounty.gov or contact the Housing Rights Center at  (800) 477-5977. 

The only people allowed to live in the unit are those included in your family composition according to the LACDA records and in your lease agreement with the owner.

Guests
Anyone who stays in the unit for more than 30 consecutive days, or a total of 60 days in a 12-month period, is considered to be living in the unit as an unauthorized household member.  This is a program violation that may result in the termination of your assistance.

New Family Members
You must report changes to family composition due to birth, adoption, or court awarded custody in writing within 10 calendar days after the changed occurred by completing the Interim Reexamination Request form along with supporting documentation for the change and submitting the completed form to the LACDA. You should also notify the owner and comply with any lease requirements to obtain owner approval.

Reporting Absences
When a family member leaves the household, the absence must be reported to the LACDA within 10 calendar days by completing the Interim Reexamination Request form along with supporting documentation for the change and submitting the completed form to the LACDA.

You can report suspected Section 8 crime or fraud to the LACDA Fraud Unit.  The tip line is confidential, and you can remain anonymous. 

E-mail:
 fraudhotline@lacda.org
Crime/Fraud Tip Line: (877) 881-7233. 

If you prefer, you may send a letter anonymously to:

Los Angeles County Development Authority
Attention: Fraud Unit
P.O. Box 1503
Alhambra, CA 91802

NOTE: Even if you provide your name, we will never disclose it to the person you are reporting.  Also, because of confidentiality, we cannot update an informant or provide outcomes of any investigations.

When making a report, please provide as much information as possible about the suspect (name, address, social security number) and the activity.  LACDA looks into all reports of suspected crime/fraud in its programs.

Please call 911 for emergencies or crimes in progress, and contact the local Law enforcement agency of any illegal activity.

Failure to comply with the family obligations is grounds for termination of housing assistance.

If you or any family member violates the family obligations, you may be terminated.  You may also be terminated if your family owes money, and/or breaches an agreement to pay amounts owed, to the LACDA (or any other housing agency).

The LACDA is required to terminate your assistance if any family member fails to sign and submit required consent forms for obtaining information.

Lease Violations
If you or any family member violate the lease, it is the owner's responsibility to enforce your lease obligations, which may include evicting you from the unit.  Also, serious and repeated lease violations are a violation of your family obligations and grounds for termination of your assistance. 
Landlords and owners cannot discriminate against you because of your race, color, national origin, sex, religion, handicap or disability, or family status (households with children under 18 years old).

Also, in California, landlords and owners cannot discriminate based on age, medical condition, marital status, source of income, or sexual orientation.

If you believe you are a victim of illegal discrimination or harassment, you should write down as much information as possible about the situation or incident, and file a complaint within one year, with either:

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
Website: www.dfeh.ca.gov
Phone: (800) 233-3212

HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Website: www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp
Phone: (800) 347-3739
During the first year of the lease, the owner may only terminate your tenancy for reasons such as serious or repeated lease violations, violations of tenant laws, criminal activity or alcohol abuse, or other good cause such as disturbance of neighbors, destruction of property, or habits that damage the unit or property.  In these cases, the owner is responsible for giving you a 30-day notice.  Under your family obligations, you are responsible for making sure that the LACDA receives a copy of this notice.

After the initial lease term, the owner can terminate your tenancy for reasons other than lease violations by giving you a proper 90-day notice.  You should make sure the LACDA gets a copy of any such notice.

If you are served with an unlawful detainer/eviction notice, you should get legal advice or assistance immediately.  Tenant organizations, tenant landlord programs, housing clinics, legal aid organizations, or private attorneys can provide you with advice and assistance if you need it.

You must promptly give the LACDA a copy of any owner eviction notice.

If the reason for the eviction notice is also a violation of your family obligations, the LACDA may terminate your assistance.