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HCV Landlords FAQ

See some of the frequently asked questions by our CMHA landlords.


The landlord has to be willing to participate in the HCV program and have a unit that can pass HQS inspection. Owners further qualify by attesting they are not related to the assisted family, that they have not been debarred by HUD and that they are the rightful owner of the property. This does not occur until the landlord selects a HCV tenant. There is nothing an owner must do to pre-qualify or register as a landlord.  Upon acceptance of the HQS passed inspection, CMHA Landlords will complete Direct Deposit banking forms.  Landlords can email CMHA with questions at

Landlords can contact CMHA and request that their information be made available to HCV tenants via telephone and email. CMHA asks that Landlords post available units on

  • When a family finds a unit, they ask the owner/landlord if they will accept the voucher holder as a tenant and if they are willing to accept the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) from CMHA.
  • The owner and family sign a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) and submit with it verification of paid taxes for the previous year. This is to verify legal ownership of the property.
  • If the owner’s request for rent amount is acceptable and affordable for the family, the CMHA Inspector will conduct a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection. Inspectors are scheduled after the RFTA and all tax documents are received.

Yes, Landlords may charge the tenant a security deposit, but CMHA does not fund security deposits unless the tenant is apart of the Continuum of Care, Shelter + Care Program with the Counseling Center partnership grant. The amount of the security deposit cannot be higher than the unassisted tenant is charged. It is recommended that you put the return policy in writing, should the tenant not rent your unit.  Security deposits are not the responsibility of CMHA.


CMHA has established payment standards by bedroom size and location within Columbiana County that are guidelines for determining the maximum subsidy we can pay for a family. This payment standard is generally a gauge of the current rental market. However, each unit is evaluated by the inspector on a case-by-case basis. Each unit’s rent must be reasonable and comparable to unassisted private market rental units of similar size, location, amenities, quality, unit type, maintenance, utilities and services. In no case can the rent be more than comparable available unassisted units. Current payment standards can be obtained through the CMHA main office.

Yes, unless the landlord includes utilities in the rent. The landlord decides which utilities they will provide as a part of the rent and which utilities the family will be responsible to pay.

  • Utility service, including water, must be on at the time of the initial inspection.
  • Utilities that the HCV participant pays for cannot be master metered or shared with another unit or common area and must be billed directly by the utility service provider.
  • If the family is responsible for paying a utility, CMHA generally will credit the family with a utility allowance that lowers their tenant rental share portion and leaves them with the necessary money to assist with the utility cost.
  • Utility allowances by unit type are available on the CMHA Landlord website page.

No, Housing Choice Voucher holders cannot rent from their immediate relatives. This includes the participant’s mother, father, brother, sister, grandparents, grandchildren, step-family, in-laws or any member of his or her household.

Housing Choice Vouchers can be used to rent houses, mobile homes, duplexes. triplexes, apartments, condominiums and townhouses. Other housing types, such as group homes and shared rentals are only available as a reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities.

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) are the HUD minimum quality standards for housing assisted under the rental assistance program. HQS have been developed for program use nationwide and help to ensure your home will be safe, decent and sanitary. These standards are applied by the Housing Inspector during the inspection. A list of commonly failed HQS inspection items is located on the CMHA Landlord website.

Yes. Inspections will be completed prior to the unit being places under Housing Assistance Payment contract and annually. A special inspection may be requested by tenants or landlords under different circumstances.

How can I help my unit to pass the inspection the first time?  A list of common fail items is available on the CMHA Landlord website page

No. There must be a responsible adult (age 18 or over) present to let the inspector into the unit. We advise that landlords be present for inspections. This is an opportunity for you to find out first hand why the unit did not pass inspection.

No. CMHA determines the tenant’s portion of the rent based upon the HUD guidelines. The owner, cannot under any circumstances, charge or accept additional payments from the family for their share of the rent that has not been approved by CMHA.

If it is a new contract, you will be paid in the next scheduled check run after we have received both signed copies of the contract and the lease that matches the occupancy dates on the contract. CMHA will not pay subsidy before the contract terms have been agreed upon. If the owner permits the tenant to move into the unit before the contract begins, the tenant will be responsible for the full amount of the rent and CMHA will not pay the back amount retroactively.

No. All landlords are required to have ACH direct deposit or receive their money on a debit card. The CMHA will not mail checks to landlords. The direct deposit form can be found on our CMHA Landlord website.

There are various reasons you may not have gotten a check:

  • The main reason is for HQS failure. Rent is abated (stopped) when the repairs are not completed by the re-inspection deadline date. The unit will be taken out of abatement if it passes inspection and payments will resume the day after the unit passes inspection. You will not be back paid when the unit is under failure.
  • Any time your rent payment is stopped, you will receive a letter (or copy of a termination notice) that advises the rent will not be paid until such time the infraction has been corrected.
  • If your banking information has changed, please complete a CMHA Direct Deposit form located on the CMHA Landlord website page.
  • If you are not sure why your rent check was stopped, please contact the HCV Manager at or by calling CMHA directly at 330-386-5970.

If the first inspection is missed, the unit will automatically be rescheduled for a second inspection within the next 30 days. If a second appointment is missed, the family will be recommended for termination of assistance. In addition, the HAP and utility allowance (UAP), if received, will be placed on hold and the check will not be released until an inspection is done. If possible, it is recommended you are present at the inspection so you can learn first-hand any repairs need to be made.

As soon as you know that you are closing with the new landlord, please inform the Housing Counselor that ownership will change. We can then stop payment to you and issue the rent check to the new owner. Once the rent check has gone to you, and you no longer own this unit, you will need to forward the funds to the new owner.

On or after the first year, CMHA will accept a request for a rent increase which after approved, would go into effect sixty (60) days later. Every rent increase will be reviewed to ensure it is a reasonable rent. If your request places your rental amount above the payment standard, please note that CMHA cannot accept rent amounts above the HUD payment standard.  Landlords may only request a rent increase once per year in writing to or by fax 330-368-1325

Landlords have the same rights and responsibilities in the Housing Choice Voucher Program as they have with any open market renter, including:

  • Maintain your property in good condition.
  • Complete all necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time upon request by the Housing Authority and/or tenant.  The amount of time that is considered reasonable depends upon the nature of the problem.  All life and safety repairs must be completed within 24 hours .
  • Set reasonable rules about the use of the unit and common areas.
  • Collect appropriate security deposits in accordance with the state and local law.
  • Comply with equal housing opportunity requirements.
  • Enforce tenant obligations under the terms of your lease.
  • Take action through the court system to evict a tenant when they violate the lease.  CMHA is not responsible for evictions of HCV tenants.  Landlords are responsible to enforce the lease and report tenant issues and evictions to CMHA.
  • Pay their portion of the rent on time.
  • Keep the unit clean.
  • Maintain exterior of residence and yard.
  • Avoid illegal activities by household members and guests.
  • Allow CMHA inspectors access to the unit to conduct HQS inspections.
  • Permit landlord and designated repairmen access to the unit for repairs.
  • Avoid damage to the property by household members and guests.
  • Refrain from disturbing neighbors.
  • Allow only those occupants on the lease to reside in the unit.
  • Comply with terms and conditions of the dwelling lease and tenancy addendum.

The initial HAP agreement contract is for one year. After the initial 1-year term, the HAP payment continues on a month-to-month basis indefinitely as long as there are available funds and the unit, family and landlord are in compliance with program requirements, including family income.  Landlords will provide CMHA and their tenant with updated lease agreements.


No. Only CMHA can cancel the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract. A landlord is free to terminate a lease agreement pursuant to state and local laws. Once a lease agreement ends, the HAP contract terminates automatically.

If your question isn’t answered in this list, please contact CMHA at or call us at 330.386.5970