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Landlord’s Section 8 Responsilbilities for HUD’s HAP Contract

Landlords, after you complete the process of becoming a Section 8 partner, you must learn HUD's Housing Assistance Payments HAP Contract mandates for landlords and tenants.

This posting will discuss the landlord’s responsibilities only. The tenant’s obligations will be discussed on a future posting.

Landlords or Property Owner Responsibilities

The landlord or owner is responsible for performing all the obligations specified by HUD’s Housing Assistance Payment HAP contract and the rental lease agreement.

Below are some bullet points specifying the landlord's responsibilities while managing a single family home or a large commercial property:



  1. Complying with all the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity requirements.
    • You better have a good reason to turn down a tenant’s application. The FED doesn’t play when it comes to discrimination.
    • Try using a point system. Be able to explain the system to a court of law.
  2. Maintain the apartment unit or property in accordance with the Housing Quality Standards HQS for your state and county.
  3. Performing all management and rental duties for the Section 8 rental unit or property, including finding, selecting and determining rental compatibility of the voucher holder.
  4. Preparing and providing all the required documentation require by the Housing Authority HAP contract.
  5. Enforcing the tenant obligations specified under the rental lease.
  6. Lease the unit only to the family specified by the lease for use as their principal place of residence.
    • You will find this clause abused the most by Section 8 tenants.
      • New family members appear that were not specified on the original lease.
      • New children appear.
      • Pets are added without permission from landlord.
  7. Collecting monies from the voucher holder.
    1. Getting and maintaining the Security Deposit.
    2. Receiving the tenant’s portion of the monthly rental payment.
    3. Charges for damages to rental property and unpaid utility bills.
  8. Paying and maintaining utility services unless paid for by the tenant.
    • Must be specified in the HAP contract that the tenant pays for the utilities.
  9. That the landlord does not commit fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program.
    • This is where landlords mess up. Section 8 specifies the exact amount they are going to pay every month. The landlord can take or leave it. Some landlords try to cut a deal with the tenant to give additional monies under the table to make up the difference in rent. This is illegal and you will be caught. A one way ticket to Club FED.
    • If you get into an argument with your tenant, the tenant will report you to HUD.
    • It is a losing proposition. Just for a few extra bucks?
  10. Do not engage in drug trafficking! Need I say more?
  11. Follow HUD and State guidelines for Security Deposit procedures for:
    1. Security Deposit reimbursement.
    2. Termination of Lease Agreement.
    3. Allow official representatives from HUD and the local public housing authority PHA access to your property and documents.
    4. Do not transfer the HAP contract without permission from the local public housing authority PHA.
    5. If you need to cancel the lease you need to provide the tenant with 90 day written notice to vacate.

HUD or the local public housing authority PHA does not want to be in the landlord business. The landlord runs the property as he/she sees fit. There are a few extra guidelines you must follow but in the long run, the government leaves you alone unless you are a slumlord and they are receiving negative reports about the property.


HUD sends out an inspector once a year to inspect the property to see if it has been maintained by both the landlord and tenant.

Landlord Photo of a Section Eight Duplex I leased to the Miami Dade Housing Authority Plan Ocho program.
A former Section 8 Duplex I owned in Miami Florida.

Written by Bob Burns

About Bob Burns
Bob Burns profile picture at Women's Council of Realtors.
Bob Burns

Bob Burns is an international technology executive with years of experience stimulating growth and increasing revenue through the design and implementation of marketing strategies and product applications for various markets. Adept at forming strategic business alliances, introducing new products and maintaining superior customer satisfaction.

Skilled at blending technological expertise with business acumen to drive growth and operating efficiencies. Proficient in a variety of data structures using various content management systems CMS.

An effective communicator and trainer in both English and Spanish, experienced in bringing together people, processes and technology.

For more information go to Bob Burns LinkedIn Profile.
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May 18, 2012 · Bob Burns · No Comments
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