Information for Voucher Holders
Using Your Voucher
- Your voucher is an agreement between you and MCHA. When you sign your voucher, you are agreeing to abide by the Statement of Family Obligations. In exchange, MCHA will assist you with your rent, provided that you find an approved place within the time limit.
- Your voucher is valid anywhere in MCHA’s Jurisdiction. After you have fulfilled your initial lease, you may be able to transfer your voucher to anywhere in the United States utilizing the portability process, providing you are in good standing with MCHA.
- You must find a rental unit and submit a Request for Tenancy Approval before your voucher expires. If you don't, the voucher will be issued to someone else from the waiting list, and you will be required to re-apply when the list opens again.
Finding a Home
- You may choose to use your voucher in your present unit. This is called "leasing in place."
- You may also search public listings for available apartments.
- Remember that you will be signing a lease with the owner. Make sure that the unit is in good condition and that you will be able to afford your portion of the rent.
- Consider the neighborhood. Talk to the neighbors. Is it safe? What schools will your children be going to? Check out nearby shopping and access to public transportation.
- If you select a unit built before 1978, it may contain lead. Read the brochure with the Section 8 briefing packet and follow the steps listed on the back to protect your family from lead. HUD Lead Based Paint.pdf with logo.pdf
Applying for an Apartment
- Most landlords will require you to complete an application. Be sure you are prepared to complete the form by having the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your references with you. Many landlords will charge you a fee with the application to cover the expense of having your references checked.
- The landlord may check with MCHA to verify your current and prior addresses and landlords. If known, MCHA is required to provide this information.
- The landlord may charge you a deposit. The Section 8 program does not pay the deposit or limit the amount a landlord can charge.
- Most landlords have established standards for accepting or denying an applicant. Standards may include things such as a minimum number of past landlord references, sufficient income to pay rent, good credit history, no felony convictions, no prior evictions, etc. If you believe that you have been denied housing for a reason other than a reasonable standard, you may be a victim of unlawful housing discrimination. The Section 8 briefing packet contains information about Fair Housing laws and a copy of HUD's Housing Discrimination Complaint form. See HUD Housing Discrimination.pdf
Completing the Approval Process
- Once you have found your apartment and you and the landlord have agreed to enter into a lease, have your landlord complete the Request for Tenancy Approval form (RFTA). Mail or deliver the completed forms to us at 101 W. Sheridan Rd., P.O. Box 168, Petersburg, IL. 62675. You may also fax the form to (217) 632-7255.
- The completed paperwork will be evaluated for rent reasonableness and affordability. An inspection will be scheduled with the landlord. If the residence needs repairs, the landlord will be given a list of what needs to be done. The landlord must call for another inspection when the repairs are completed. You should not move into the unit until the inspection passes and the rent is agreed upon. Please do not sign a lease until your unit has passed inspection.
- After the unit passes the inspection and the rent the landlord requests is approved, the Section 8 office will determine your portion of the rent and the portion we will pay and send a contract to your landlord for signature. Once we receive the signed contract and a copy of the lease, Section 8 staff will enter the information into MCHA's computer system. MCHA will not pay rent until the start date of the Housing Assistance Payments contract.
- Click HERE for a PowerPoint presentation of Voucher Orientation