The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV, formerly known as Section 8 rental assistance program) is one of the federal government's major programs for helping very low income families obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing. In the public housing program, LRHA is the landlord. In the HCV Program, LRHA provides families with financial assistance so that the family can afford a unit owned by a private landlord.
HCV families represent thousands of persons seeking affordable housing. LRHA HCV funding currently represents over 2000 families. Our goal is to expand housing opportunities for HCV families in areas that have not traditionally participated in the rental assistance program. This goal also includes improving rental assistance in other quality, well-maintained residential and multi-unit neighborhoods.
Applications for Section 8 are taken only periodically. At this time, based on current turnover, we are estimating our waiting list for Section 8 to be approximately 2-3 years. Public service announcements and newspaper notices alert prospective participants when applications are being accepted.
Information for Current Rental Assistance Voucher Holders
Available Unit Listing
- The LRHA provides a free unit listing for voucher holders who are searching for housing. Voucher holders must contact each owner to inquire about their application and tenant screening process.
- The list is updated weekly on Fridays.
Tenant screening policies
LRHA will screen Section 8 applicants for drug, violent criminal and sexual offender convictions. We will be accessing public information from various public sources as part of the application eligibility process. Please note that screening for this type of behavior does not guarantee the suitability of an applicant for a prospective tenancy. Owners are strongly encouraged to screen prospective tenants on their own behalf for criminal behavior and rental history by obtaining landlord references and other relevant personal information. Landlords may also request a current and previous address of a prospective Section 8 Tenant (if available) from LRHA by written request.
EIV -- Earned Income Verification
LRHA is participating with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to improve the accuracy of earned income and other benefits information for Public Housing and Section 8 assisted families.
Why is EIV necessary?
LRHA and HUD have been concerned about the accuracy of housing benefits. To assure better accuracy, HUD has been given authority to develop and operate a data match system that will report to local Housing Authorities income by household member from the Arkansas State Wage Information Collection Agencies (SWICA) and the Social Security Administration. This means LRHA will get reports on earned income, Social Security and Supplemental Security benefits coming to all members in your household.
What must I do?
When the time comes for your appointment to report your income and family composition, you should report all earned income and benefits for all family members. You will be asked to sign a form HUD 9886 -- Authorization for Release of Information and Privacy Act Notice. You are required to sign this form by federal law if you want to maintain your eligibility for federally assisted housing
By signing this form, you are giving us permission to verify your household's income in order to ensure your eligibility for assisted housing benefits.
Your housing counselor will access available information about earned income and/or benefits that has been collected. You may be asked to provide additional information about your sources of income if there are discrepancies between the information that you have reported and the information obtained by HUD and LRHA.
What may happen if there is conflicting information?
You will be given an opportunity to dispute or provide additional information to correct HUD's records in the vent of data errors. Your housing counselor is required to set a deadline for your response.
If LRHA determines that there has been a deliberate attempt to hide income, the family may be evicted from Public Housing or be terminated from the Section 8 Program and referred to law enforcement for prosecution. Prior to any final action, the family may appeal LRHA's decision.
Information for Landlords / Owners / Property Managers
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8 Housing Program), is a rental assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Little Rock Housing Authority (LRHA) administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program in the City of Little Rock. There are two other housing authorities in Pulaski County. We are independent of one another.
The LRHA's Housing Choice Voucher Program assists low-income families to live in decent, safe and sanitary housing by paying a portion of their rent directly to their landlord. The families have the same rights and responsibilities as unassisted families. Property owners have all the rights and responsibilities of landlords renting to unassisted families. As with market tenants, you have the responsibility as an owner to screen and select tenants, collect the rent, maintain the property, and terminate the lease, if appropriate.
How can I participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
You may contact the LRHA when you have a unit available for rent. We will advertise your unit on this website. If you are interested in listing a vacant unit with the LRHA, please contact us at 501-340-4821. You can also fax us at 501-340-4714.
How will I benefit from renting to a family with a Section 8 Voucher?
The guaranteed, on time, monthly subsidy payment from the LRHA is your biggest benefit. In addition, if the family leaves the apartment in violation of the lease, you may keep the subsidy payment for the month in which the family leaves. You are also protected from financial loss if your tenant suffers unexpected financial hardship - when this happens, the subsidy payment is increased to compensate for your tenant's lower income. The LRHA can help prevent your vacant units from remaining empty for too long, since the LRHA assists a large number of prospective tenants who are qualified for housing subsidy assistance look for housing. Finally, even if you attempt to evict a tenant for good cause, you will continue to receive the LRHA's portion of the rent until the tenant leaves the apartment.
Does the LRHA screen applicants for tenancy?
The LRHA selects applicants for rental assistance from a waiting list. The LRHA reviews the applicant for program eligibility only. As in the private market, the owner is responsible to screen applicants for suitability as tenants. The selection of an acceptable tenant, whether assisted or not, is limited only by fair housing requirements and the prohibition of discrimination as established by federal and state law.
Are there unusual responsibilities placed on owners when participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Voucher program requires little beyond that which is required by law. Annually, the LRHA will inspect the apartment and make sure that is in compliance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and any other applicable laws. A checklist of common items checked during LRHA inspection of units is listed below.
What steps are involved in renting to a family with a Voucher?
If you choose to rent to a family in the program, complete the "Request for Tenancy Approval" (RFTA) form, and have the family hand deliver the form back to the LRHA. Usually, the inspection can be scheduled within 5 business days from the time the RFTA is received. If the inspector finds any problems, you will be given time to correct them. If you have any questions about the inspection process, please contact Diana Williams at (501) 340-4821.
When the apartment has been approved, and the rent has been agreed upon, an appointment will be made to sign a Lease with the family at the LRHA's central office.
You may take a security deposit equal to one month's rent. The lease is between you and the family. The LRHA will ask that you sign a "Housing Assistance Payments Contract" (HAP) with the housing authority, which guarantees you the subsidy payment and other benefits as long as the family remains in the unit and the unit remains in compliance with HQS.
The LRHA will also ask that each owner certify that he/she is legally responsible for the property. We require documentation to support the certification.
Federal law does not allow the LRHA to approve a unit for rental when the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of the Voucher holder or of any member of the Voucher holder's family, except when to do so would provide reasonable accommodation for a member of the Voucher holder's family who is a person with a disability. LRHA must approve the arrangement.
How much can the LRHA pay?
You have the right to ask for a rent that is reasonable and comparable to similar unassisted private market units in the same building and neighborhood. The LRHA may not approve a higher rent for a unit if similar units in the building are charged lower rents or if similar units in the neighborhood have established lower rents.
All families assisted by the Housing Choice Voucher Program must pay a minimum of 30% of the household's monthly adjusted income (with a few exceptions) as tenant share of monthly rent to the owner. The amount the LRHA will pay toward the rent is determined by subtracting 30% of the family's adjusted income from the appropriate LRHA payment standard. In most cases, no two families will pay the same rent. It is an individualized program based upon household income, family composition and allowable deductions.
When a family with a voucher is entering into a lease with you for the first time, the family cannot pay more than 40% of their income for rent. Some families with a Voucher can afford more expensive units than other Voucher holders.
What other requirements are there?
You have all the rights and responsibilities you have when renting to unassisted tenants. The only additional responsibility you have is to allow the apartment to be inspected every year.
What rights do Voucher program tenants have?
Voucher program tenants have all rights and responsibilities of unassisted tenants, except that they are responsible only for paying a portion of the rent. As with unassisted tenants, irreconcilable differences between the owner and the tenant must be settled by the Housing Authority.
What happens after I rent to the family?
Every year the LRHA will determine whether the family is still eligible for the program and whether the apartment is still in compliance with HQS. If the unit is no longer in compliance with HQS we will notify you in writing, and provide an opportunity to make the repairs. A change in the family's income or size may result in a change in their share of the rent and subsidy payment.
Can the lease be terminated, if necessary?
Whether you use your own lease or a model lease provided by the LRHA, the lease spells out how much notice you must give your tenant if you want to terminate the tenancy. The procedure for evicting a voucher family is the same as evicting a family that does not have a voucher. You may consult an attorney or bring the matter to us with questions about evictions. Although you should send the LRHA copies of the eviction notice, you do not need our permission to evict a tenant who is in violation of the lease.
- Smoke detectors must be operational in the unit and common areas including hallways and basements.
- Windows that open and shut without being propped up. Broken and cracked glass must be replaced.
- Handrails in the interior and exterior of building where there are more than 3 steps.
- All plumbing must be in good working condition and free of leaks.
- Bathroom must have an exterior window OR a working venting fan.
- Stove needs to work properly and be clean.
- Keyed locks on interior doors are NOT allowed.
- Peeling or chipping paint must be scraped. Letter of Lead Paint Compliance is required for units which will be rented by families with children under the age of six.
- Doors and windows must be weather tight.
- Missing or loose electrical plates and switch plates must be tightened or replaced.
- Excessive garbage either in the apartment, hallway, or on the property is not allowed.
- All hallways are fire exits and must be kept free of debris, such as bikes or trash.
- All flooring must be free of trip hazards.
- All kitchen and bathroom floors must be water tight, free of defects and easily cleanable.
- Tub and shower walls must be waterproof with no loose or missing tiles and must be free of mold or mildew.
- All trash is required to be stored in proper containers with lids.
- All utilities, gas or electric, whether landlord or tenant supplied, are required to be maintained at all times.
- Common areas such as the basement, exterior and hallways are inspected.
The above list is not all inclusive. It is some common items that will cause an apartment to fail an inspection. If you ever have questions give us a call to discuss the matter.