What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program offers rent assistance that enables low-income families and individuals to rent from a private landlord with monthly rental assistance administered by the Housing Authority.
It is common to have questions. We've collected many of our most asked questions with detailed answers in our Frequently Asked Questions page here.
Who participates in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Section 8 Program assists low-income households who meet income and eligibility guidelines. In general, the family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the area (see below) in which the family chooses to live. By law, the Housing Authority must provide 75% of its vouchers to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30% of the area median income.
|Median||1 Person||2 Person||3 Person||4 Person||5 Person||6 Person||7 Person||8 Person|
|30% of Median||$15,800||$18,050||$21,720||$26,200||$30,680||$35,160||$39,640||$44,120|
|50% of Median||$26,350||$30,100||$33,850||$37,600||$40,650||$43,650||$46,650||$49,650|
Current Payment Standards were updated April 2020.
What are the payment standards for Section 8?
|Bedroom Size||0 Bedroom||1 Bedroom||2 Bedroom||3 Bedroom||4 Bedroom||5 Bedroom||6 Bedroom|
|Fair Market Rent||$1,026||$1,062||$1,315||$1,712||$2,058||$2,367||$2,675|
Current Payment Standards were updated October 2, 2020.
What are the eligibility requirements?
To be eligible, one must:
- Meet income guidelines by earning no more than 50% of AMI
- All adults must pass a criminal background check
- Have at least one family member who is a U.S. Citizen or has eligible Immigration status
How is rental assistance provided?
The level of assistance a household receives is based upon family size and income. A household is expected to pay 30% of its total monthly adjusted income toward the monthly rent. Each month, the Housing Authority makes housing assistance payments directly to the landlord to make up the difference.
What are the tenants' responsibilities?
The renter must pay all rent and utilities that are not covered by the lease. Because the family is receiving assistance, the rent burden is reduced, enabling the family to pay rent more easily and on time. Renters must pay their rent on time according to the terms of their lease.
Commonly Used Forms and Resources
- Annual Inspection Checklist (PDF)
- Annual Re-Certification Packet (PDF)
- Apartment, Condo, and Townhome Utility Allowance (PDF)
- Change Report Form (PDF)
- Form to Voluntarily Surrender (PDF)
- How to Use Your Section 8 Voucher (PDF)
- Mobile Home Utility Allowance (PDF)
- Portability Packet (PDF)
- Section 8 Housing Directory (PDF)
- Payment Standards, Effective 10/02/2020 (PDF)
- Single Family Dwelling Utility Allowance (PDF)
- VAWA Notice (PDF)
- Voucher (PDF)
- Housing Choice Voucher Extension Request (PDF)
- Rental Inquiry Log Packet (PDF)
Applying for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
When can I apply?
The Section 8 wait list closed April 9, 2020 when our waiting list reached 1,500 applicants. We will publicize when the waiting list re-opens.
How long is the waiting list?
The current wait time to receive Section 8 assistance is 18 to 36 months. However, this could vary depending on a variety of factors. Households with an adult who lives or who works in Flagstaff will be processed ahead of those without an adult who lives or works in Flagstaff.
Applicants who do not have an adult who lives or works in Flagstaff may experience an indefinite wait time as we work with applicants who do.
How can I update my file and check on the status of my Section 8 application?
Status updates cannot be given out over the phone. You can check on your status on the waiting list by:
- Signing into the Applicant Portal;
- Coming into the office at 3481 N Fanning Drive, Flagstaff, during typical business hours (currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions);
- By submitting a request for a status update via email to email@example.com; or
- By submitting a written request for a status update to the CFHA at 3481 N Fanning Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86004.
While on the waiting list, we do ask that you report all changes in household composition, address, and employment/income using the MyHousing portal. If you are unable to update your file online, email firstname.lastname@example.org, write to the housing authority (address above), or come to the Housing Authority office (which is currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions).
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Participant Info
Section 8 Team
- Section 8 Program Manager Tracey French, email@example.com, (928) 213-2743, Fax: (928) 526-3734
- Section 8 Housing and VASH Specialist Cherise Barreto-Aguilar, firstname.lastname@example.org, (928) 779-2741, Fax: (928) 526-3734
- Section 8 Administrative Specialist Danita Ryan, email@example.com, (928) 213-2742, Fax: (928) 526-3734
- Physical and Mailing Address: 3481 N Fanning Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, firstname.lastname@example.org, (928) 213-2730
As a Section 8 program participant, you must report all changes within ten (10) days that pertain to:
- Contact information
- Household composition
- Income, or
The change must be reported in writing, including email. Changes cannot be made over the phone.
You can fill out a change report form in the office, email your case worker, or fax your change. Change reports are available outside the office at 3481 North Fanning Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, and can be deposited through the drop slot at any time. If you wish to fax the change, our fax number is (928) 526-3734; please notify your case worker of the fax as this is a general, unsecured fax line. Once the change has been reported, your caseworker will contact you to set up an appointment if necessary.
One feature of the Section 8 Housing program is that you are able to "port" (relocate) to another location where the Section 8 program is being administered. In order to port with your voucher, you need to discuss your intentions with your case worker and fill out the necessary portability paperwork.
If you are interested in porting to Flagstaff, start by contacting your originating housing authority. They will likely ask these questions:
- Is the CFHA billing or absorbing? We are billing, not absorbing.
- What is the CFHA payment standard? See the "What is Section 8" tab for our chart.
- Who is the portability specialist? Cherise Barreto-Aguilar is our Section 8 Portability Specialist and her contact information is above.
If you are interested in porting out of Flagstaff, the family must be in compliance with all program rules and regulations and is required to give proper notice to vacate and provide the Housing Authority a copy of this notice. The process of moving with your voucher can take time, so please plan ahead.
Federal HUD Regulations require all Section 8 participants to be re-examined annually, which is based on your anniversary date. It is your responsibility to take all steps to help us accurately determine and verify your income, assets, household composition and deductible expenses. Remember: You are given adequate time to schedule time for your recertification. The Housing Authority notifies the family two months in advance. All household members 18 or over must attend the recertification appointment.
Information for Section 8 Landlords
What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher?
Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers are issued to eligible families and individuals. Families and individuals receive instructions on how to locate suitable rental housing in the private rental marketplace within the greater Flagstaff area. The family has up to sixty (60) days to locate and enter into a lease agreement with a prospective landlord as described below. A portion of tenant rent is paid directly to the landlord by the CFHA each month.
Pros & Cons to Section 8
The Section 8 program has its benefits. You get free advertising, a range of potential tenants to choose from, and guaranteed rent every month. Deciding on whether to accept housing vouchers is really a matter of rental location, how popular it is, and owner/landlord willingness to deal with the process and paperwork. Many owners/landlords think the better aspects of the program outweigh the bad, but it is up to you to decide.
Pros to Section 8
- Guaranteed Rent. One of the biggest problems landlords face is getting the rent on time every month. With Section 8, landlords receive a guaranteed monthly payment on the first of every month via direct deposit. Section 8 tenants pay their portion on time, as well. Failure to comply to the lease can cost them their housing voucher. Section 8 tenants can be even more reliable than conventional tenants.
- Rent Control. The CFHA will not tell you what to charge for your unit, but you will need to keep the rent within the allotted amount given to the CFHA for the area. The CFHA will determine the payment standard or the maximum amount it is willing to pay for each number of bedrooms. This payment standard is between 90% and 110% of the Fair Market Rent. See "What is Section 8" tab for current payment standards.
- Pre-Screened Tenants. The CFHA reviews every case before approving a Section 8 Voucher Holder. The CFHA examines income levels and reviews for patterns of serious criminal activity. This screening process may provide extra protection for your rental; however, landlords need to do their own tenant screening as well, screening tenants to their own suitability criteria.
- Wider Access. Section 8 is a popular program and most urban areas have hundreds of tenants on a wait list. By accepting Section 8, units become marketable to a wider pool of tenants which improves chances of renting a unit. The CFHA maintains a separate list of Section 8 landlords in the area.
Cons to Section 8
- Routine Inspections. Section 8 Program properties must pass an initial inspection and thereafter routine inspection that can take place annually or biennially (as determined by the CFHA) to ensure property upkeep.
- Routine Paperwork. Once a year the Section 8 participant is required to recertify. The CFHA will notify both the participant and owner/landlord in writing.
- Potential for Difficult Tenants. Many landlords are wary of Section 8 tenants. It is the landlord's responsibility to do the homework and keep an eye on the property. There is no reason you can't find a great tenant and enjoy the experience.
- No Decrease in Workload for Landlord. Despite the belief by many that the Section 8 Program will assist landlords throughout the rental process, owners still need to screen the tenant, create a lease, and police the property just like with a private tenant. While owners/landlords can report tenants to the housing authority if they commit a major lease violation, the day-to-day responsibilities remain. Moreover, the CFHA will not help with finding tenants, making repairs, collecting rent, or keeping the property safe.
What is the process for Section 8 Landlords?
The Section 8 process is straightforward. In order to operate a Section 8 rental, the local housing authority must approve both the landlord and the property itself. Different housing authorities may have their own requirements, but typically any landlord can use the Section 8 program, including private owners and property managers. Roles and responsibilities are set forth in a contract between the CFHA, landlord and tenant. The Landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to under the lease signed by the tenant and the contract with the Housing Agency.
- Listing - If you would like to become a Section 8 landlord, you should inform the City of Flagstaff Housing Authority (CFHA) that your property is available. Indicate in your advertisement that you welcome Section 8 Voucher Holders. The CFHA offers this form, which can be completed to show current voucher holders that your unit is available.
- Contact - The Section 8 Voucher Holder contacts landlords and selects the unit with a landlord that will accept the voucher.
- RFTA - The Section 8 Voucher Holder gives the landlord the Request for Tenancy Approval Packet (RFTA) to complete. The RFTA is completed and signed by the owner and prospective tenant when the owner agrees to rent the unit to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Participant. The RFTA is submitted to the CFHA by the HCV Participant or landlord/owner for approval. The CFHA staff will review the RFTA to ensure it is completed correctly and in its entirety, including owner and participant signatures. The landlord/owner should include an email address under the signature.
- If the RFTA is complete it is accepted and the file moves to Review and Approval.
- If the RFTA is unsigned, incorrect, or incomplete it will be returned to the landlord/owner or participant.
- Review and Approval - Once the RFTA is accepted the approval process begins. This takes about fifteen (15) days depending on the availability of the unit. The Housing Specialist will determine if the requested rent is reasonable and process the RFTA by entering the applicable unit information into our CFHAGo Section 8 database,
- If the rent is reasonable, the RFTA is forwarded to the Housing Inspector for Inspection.
- If the rent is not reasonable, the Housing Specialist will apprise the tenant and the owner of the amount CFHA will pay for the unit. The owner may accept or refuse the amount CFHA has determined to be reasonable. If the owner refuses to accept the reasonable amount, the family must contact the Housing Specialist and request a new RFTA in writing.
- Inspection - The Inspector contacts the owner/landlord and HCV Participant within fifteen (15) days to schedule the initial UPCSV inspection. Both the HCV Participant and owner/landlord must be present for the inspection to take place. The inspection must pass before the lease can be signed and Section 8 assistance begins. Click here for more information regarding the UPCSV Inspection.The unit is inspected on the scheduled date.
- If the unit passes, move to Lease Up.
- If the unit fails, the owner will have the opportunity to make the repairs and notify the Inspector that the unit is ready for a follow-up inspection. If the deficiencies are not corrected, the RFTA is voided and a new RFTA is issued to the family.
- Lease Up - When the unit passes inspection, the owner/landlord and the HCV Participant can sign a lease agreement. It's the HCV Participant's responsibility to provide the executed lease signed by the owner and tenant to CFHA for review and approval. The effective date of the lease agreement cannot be earlier than the pass inspection date. For unit transfers the effective date of the lease agreement cannot be earlier than the issuance date of the voucher, which in most cases is the last ten days of the month, indicated on the Notice to Vacate or move-out extension from their previous unit.
- Ensuring Voucher Payment - The CFHAis not responsible for any payments on a unit until the following has been completed or submitted:
- The CFHA has determined that the requested rent is reasonable.
- The unit has passed UPCS inspection.
- The landlord/owner and tenant have executed a lease
- The final move-in appointment with the CFHA has been completed.
- The landlord has signed and returned the Housing Assistance Payment contract (HAP) to the CFHA.
- Monthly Payments - Housing assistance payments are deposited directly into the designated account during the first of each month. The family pays its portion of the rent to the owner.
How much can you charge for rent?
The rent requested by a participating landlord for a rental unit must be "reasonable." HUD regulations require that the gross rent charged by the owner to Section 8 program participants must be reasonable when compared to other unassisted units in the private rental housing market.
This means that the total rent and allowances for tenant-paid utilities (gross rent) cannot be more than rent for similar units based on number of bedrooms in the same general area or neighborhood. Other criteria the Housing Authority may consider to determine the rent includes, but is not limited to:
- Unit Type, Square Footage and Date Built
- Overall condition of the unit
- Amenities and Facilities in the unit and on the development properties
- Housing Services - On site management and maintenance
- Emergency Maintenance, Landscaping
What can you charge for the security deposit?
The landlord is encouraged to collect a security deposit from the tenant. However, the Flagstaff Housing Authority will prohibit security deposits that are in excess of private market practice or in excess of amounts owners charge to unassisted tenants. Security deposits must be held in compliance with State and Local laws regarding interest payments and disposition of deposits. It is the tenant's responsibility to pay the security deposit. The housing authority does not provide security deposit assistance to its clients.
When can you start the lease, & start receiving payments from the Housing Authority?
The effective date of the lease and Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP) will be determined based on the date the unit passes the housing quality standards inspection and/or the actual date the tenant takes possession per the Lease Agreement.
Can you increase the rent?
The owner may request an annual rent increase once a year. Rent increases are not automatic and must be requested in writing 60 days prior to the expiration of the existing lease. Any increases in rent are subject to "rent reasonableness" requirements and Housing Authority approval. In addition, the annual inspection for the unit must be current with no outstanding housing quality standards violation prior to approval of the housing assistance payment contract renewal and any rent increase. When a rent increase has been approved, the housing authority will send both the owner and the tenant a notice of the change in rent with the new effective date.
How can you make your unit available to Section 8 participants?
If you wish to advertise to Section 8 Participants that your property is available to be rented, you can fill out an "Available Rental" form and return it to the Flagstaff Housing Authority office. You can also view a listing of properties that currently accept Section 8.