Section 8 Participant Information

PARTICIPANT INFORMATION

What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
Section 8 is a free-choice approach to assisted housing. You are free to choose any type dwelling unit as long as it meets certain requirements for rent limits, rent reasonableness and Housing Quality Standards (HQS). The landlord retains private property rights, including management, tenant selection and maintenance. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines the rules and regulations for the Section 8 Program.

Choosing a Dwelling Unit: In choosing a unit you should consider the following:

  • Condition of the unit;

  • Cost of utilities and whether the unit is energy efficiency;

  • Location of unit in proximity to schools, public transportation, employment, shopping, etc.; and

  • Whether the rent is reasonable.

In your packet you will find a list of owners/landlords with available units. This list also includes landlords with units designed to meet the needs of disabled tenants.

Bedroom Size Requirements: Vouchers for a given bedroom size are assigned according to the following requirements:

  • No more than two persons are required to occupy a bedroom;

  • Persons of different generations, the opposite sex (other than spouse), and unrelated adults are not required to share a bedroom;

  • Children, with the exception of infants (under twelve (12) months of age), are not required to share a bedroom with persons of different generations including their parents;

  • A child is not required to share a bedroom with another child five (5) years of age or older who is of the opposite sex; however, children of the same sex and generation are required to share a bedroom regardless of age;

  • A voucher for a one-bedroom unit will be assigned to a single-person household only when there are no zero-bedroom units available.

Exceptions to these standards are considered on a case-by-case basis upon written request by the participant.

The term of the voucher, or initial amount of time you have to find a unit, is 60 calendar days. OCHA may grant you an extension for up to a maximum of 120 days. However, it is your responsibility to contact your representative and submit a written request.

After you are approved by the owner/landlord, you and landlord complete the Request for Tenancy Approval (Form HUD-52517) included in your briefing packet. It must be completed in entirety and signed. The Request for Tenancy Approval and the lease (if applicable) must be returned to OCHA immediately. We will review the signed Request for Tenancy Approval and determine if the rent is affordable based on your family’s income and if the rent is reasonable when compared to units in the private market (Rent Reasonableness).

How do we figure your rent? Your portion of rent is calculated as…

  • The greater of 30% of monthly adjusted income, or

  • 10% of monthly unadjusted gross income, or

  • a minimum rent of $50.00, whichever is greater, minus any applicable utility allowance plus any amount that Gross Rent exceeds the applicable payment standard.

Your portion of rent plus any applicable utility allowance equals the Total Tenant Payment. You cannot rent a unit if your Total Tenant Payment exceeds 40% of your monthly-adjusted income. If the unit is not determined affordable or the unit does not meet Rent Reasonableness requirements, you and the landlord will be notified in writing.

OCHA encourages families to seek housing in low-poverty, non-minority areas. OCHA has agreements for Housing Counseling Services for participants interested in seeking low-poverty or non-minority areas. If you are interested in housing counseling services, please contact Neighborhood Housing Services at (405) 524-4148 or Community Counseling Center at (405) 272-0660.

Responsibilities of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority

  • Verify and review family composition and income to determine eligibility;

  • Explain the rules of the program to the family and owner/landlord;

  • Issue a Voucher to the family;

  • Perform HQS inspection to ensure unit meets minimum standards (initially, annually and interim);

  • Sign contract with owner/landlord on behalf of the family when the selected unit meets HQS requirements;

  • Make housing assistance payments to the owner/landlord in a timely manner;

  • Ensure owner/landlord and family continue to comply with program rules;

  • Provide family and owner/landlord with prompt, courteous, accurate and professional service.

Responsibilities of the Owner/Landlord

  • Comply with fair housing laws and equal opportunity requirements;

  • Comply with the terms of the Housing Assistance Payments Contract (Form HUD-52641),

  • Ensure the unit continues to meet HQS requirements;

  • Cooperate with the tenant by responding promptly to request for needed repairs;

  • Notify OCHA of any program violations;

  • Enforce the lease, collect the rent due, any security deposit and charges for damages to unit by the family;

  • Screen families for suitability as renters;

  • Provisions of modification to a dwelling unit occupied or to be occupied by a disabled person. (OCHA can help with referrals to agencies that make funds available for modifications to units for disabled persons.)

  • Notify OCHA in writing of any address or telephone number change; and

  • Notify OCHA in writing of changes in ownership (selling property) or agents.

OCHA must provide your current and previous landlord name and address to a prospective landlord upon request.

The owner/landlord determines whether to require a Security Deposit and the amount of the deposit. If the owner/landlord collects a deposit, the amount collected may not be in excess of private market practice, or in excess of amounts charged to unassisted tenants.

Responsibilities of the Family

  • Provide OCHA with complete and accurate information;

  • Comply with the Family Obligations listed on the Voucher;

  • Cooperate in attending all appointments scheduled by OCHA;

  • Locate a unit that is suitable for the family, meets HQS requirements, and meets rent reasonable requirements (as determined by OCHA when compared to similar unassisted units in immediate vicinity)

  • Keep the unit safe and sanitary;

  • Comply with the terms of the lease with the owner/landlord;

  • Notify OCHA of any changes in income or family composition within 30 days of change;

  • Cooperate with the owner/landlord by informing him/her in writing of any necessary repairs;

  • Notify OCHA of any known program violations.

Grounds for Termination: OCHA may, at any time, deny/terminate program assistance for the following reasons:

  • Violation of family obligations under the program;

  • If any member has been evicted from Public Housing;

  • If any member of the family has been terminated from any federal housing program;

  • If any member of the family commits drug-related criminal activity, or violent criminal activity;

  • If any member of the family commits fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program;

  • If the family owes an amount to OCHA or another federal housing program;

  • If the family has not reimbursed OCHA for amount paid to an owner under the HAP contract;

  • If the family breaches an agreement to repay amounts owed to OCHA;

  • If a family participating in the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program fails to comply, without good cause, with the FSS Contract; and

  • If the family has engaged in or threatened abusive or violent behavior toward housing agency personnel.

Your Right to Appeal: If OCHA denies or terminates your assistance for any of the above reasons, you have the right to request an informal hearing. The family will be notified in writing of the denial or termination with reason(s), and must call the designated OCHA Representative within ten (10) calendar days to request an informal hearing.

Portability: Is the ability of the family to move from the current housing agency's jurisdiction to another housing agency's jurisdiction. Voucher families who are eligible may move anywhere in the United States where a housing agency is administering the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. In order to "port" to another housing agency you must have been a resident of Oklahoma City at least one (1) year. If you decide you would like to move to another jurisdiction outside the Oklahoma City limits, you should contact your OCHA Representative and they will provide the necessary information and procedures. The following is the responsibility of the family requesting a portable move:

  • Sign and date a statement requesting to relocate outside OCHA's jurisdiction stating the receiving housing agency's name and address;

  • Issue the current landlord a proper notice to vacate the unit (applies to current participants only);

  • Submit a Request for Tenancy Approval with the receiving housing agency by the established deadline. The receiving housing agency's payment and occupancy standards will apply when the family chooses to relocate which may change the bedroom size of the voucher.

The following are housing agencies bordering Oklahoma City:

Norman Housing Authority Del City Housing Authority Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency
700 North Berry Road
Norman, OK 73069
(405) 329-0933
4613 Tinker Diagonal
Del City, OK 73115
(405) 672-1412
1140 Northwest 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73126
(405) 848-1144

Click here to apply for Section 8 Assistance.

Need more information?
Click here to email questions or comments.  leasing@ochanet.org
Or call (405) 239-7551 ext. 264