The Housing Choice Voucher Program places the choice of housing in the hands of the individual family.
A very low-income family is selected by TVRHA from the waiting list and advised of the Voucher size for which it is eligible based on the family size and composition.
The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before TVRHA can approve the unit. When the Voucher holder finds a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the owner regarding lease terms, TVRHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that it meets Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and that the rent requested is reasonable.
TVRHA determines a Payment Standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive. However, the Payment Standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of rent an owner may charge or the family may pay. A family, which receives a Housing Choice Voucher, may select a unit with a rent that is below or above the Payment Standard. The Housing Voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly-adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the Payment Standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the Payment Standard, the family may not pay more than 40% of its adjusted monthly income for rent.
Once TVRHA approves an eligible family’s housing unit, the family and the owner sign a Lease and, at the same time, the owner and TVRHA sign a Housing Assistance Payments contract (HAP) that runs for the same term as the Lease. That means that everyone – tenant, owner and TVRHA – has obligations and responsibilities under the Housing Choice Voucher Program.