Information for Current and Prospective Landlords

 

Message to Prospective Landlords

Beginning on April 1, 2018, the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program in the Fort Worth area will be undergoing important changes. The program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and managed locally by Fort Worth Housing Solutions (FWHS), provides rental assistance to help more than 4,000 individuals and families in our area afford safe, stable housing.

Formerly, the payment standard that FWHS used to determine the maximum amount of rental assistance was based on rent estimates for the entire metropolitan area. This approach often meant that families with HCVs could not afford rent in neighborhoods with high rents. Going forward, payment standards will be based on rent estimates determined at the ZIP code level, which means that they will be more responsive to variations in local rents. The purpose of this change is to promote a more effective system that allows HCV-assisted families to access higher-cost housing in low-poverty areas.

These changes will open up new opportunities for HCV-assisted renters to access better schools and safer neighborhoods, but only if owners accept them as tenants. We encourage you to consider renting to families with vouchers. As an owner who participates in the program, you may continue to screen and accept your own tenants and enforce your own lease agreement. Advantages of participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program include:

  • Guaranteed steady monthly rent payments, including protections in case of decreases in tenant income
  • FWHS support with advertising and marketing of units to voucher families
  • FWHS support throughout the renter’s tenancy

If you would like to learn more about the HCV program, please contact RaVonda Thompson at 817-333-3667 or attend our landlord briefing every second Tuesday of every month at 9:00 am, located at 1201 E 13th St, 2nd Floor Board Room. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have. FWHS hopes that you will seriously consider opening your doors to qualified families.

Message to Current Landlords

On April 1, 2018 Fort Worth Housing Solutions (FWHS) will begin using Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) to calculate rental assistance in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Here are the answers to some basic questions that you may have about SAFMRs. Please contact our landlord liaison RaVonda Thompson at 817-333-3667 for any additional questions.

What are SAFMRs?

SAFMR stands for “Small Area Fair Market Rent.” SAFMRs are estimates of the typical rent for different unit sizes in a specific ZIP code. They are determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) each year, based on the distribution of all rents for standard quality housing within that ZIP code.

What are payment standards?                                                                                                                                                 

Payment standards are used to calculate the maximum subsidy FWHS will pay toward rent and utilities for rental units leased to families with HCVs. Under the HCV program, families are generally required to pay 30 percent of their adjusted monthly income toward rent and utilities. FWHS then pays the difference between the family’s required contribution and the lower of (a) the payment standard and (b) the gross rent (rent plus estimated utilizes) of the unit. HCV families may choose to pay more to live in unit whose rent and utilities exceed the payment standard, but may not pay more than 40 percent of their adjusted income for rent and utilities when initially signing a lease. Effective April 1, FWHS will use different payment standards for different ZIP codes in its jurisdiction. The payment standard will be set as a percent of the SAFMRs for that ZIP code. Owners and tenants can use the Payment Standard schedule to determine the payment standard in a particular location.

What’s new about this approach?

Up until this year, HUD required FWHS to base payment standards on Fair Market Rents calculated for the entire metropolitan area, rather than for specific ZIP codes. This meant that payment standards may have been too low to enable HCV families to rent units in higher-cost areas and may have been higher than market rents in lower-cost areas. Under the new approach, the payment standard is based on the localized rent for each ZIP code. If your property is located in a high-cost neighborhood, it is likely that the share of the rent and utilities we will pay on behalf of the tenant will increase under the new approach. At the same time, the payment standards in many low-cost areas will likely be reduced, meaning tenants may be responsible for a greater share of rent and utility payments, depending on the amount of rent.

How will I be impacted?

The degree to which you will be impacted by the switch to SAFMRs depends on the location of the properties that you own. The change in methodology used to calculate payment standards means that families with vouchers may now be able to afford units in high-cost parts of town. If you own units in these areas, please consider opening your doors to HCV families. If you currently rent to individuals and families with HCVs, you will receive information from FWHS with details about how your properties will be impacted by changing payment standards. As annual recertifications of income and eligibility for current HCV tenants are conducted, the housing assistance payments provided by FWHS will be determined using the new payment standards. At that time, you will be given additional information about impacts on tenants who rent units in your properties.

What else do I need to know?                                                                     

Please be aware that all Housing Assistance Payment contracts will remain subject to rent reasonableness determinations, including in areas where payment standards increase.