[The Section 8 Waiting List is currently closed.]
What are Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers?
The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families/households, the elderly, and the disabled to rent decent, safe and sanitary housing in the open market as opposed to subsidized housing developments. Since the rental assistance is provided on behalf of the family/household or individual, participants are able to find and lease privately owned housing, including single-family homes, apartments and mobile homes. The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program. A family/household’s portion of the rent is based on adjusted household income and is the greater of:
- 30% of adjusted monthly income
- 10% of gross monthly income
- A minimum rent of $50.00
After the family/household selects a home and the authority has inspected and approved it for reasonable rent, the family/household will sign a lease with the owner of the selected property and will be required to pay any security deposit as designated by the lease. Any tenant provided utilities will have to be on in the head of households name prior to the lease being signed.
Am I eligible?
Eligibility for a rental voucher is determined by MHA based on your total annual gross income and family/household size. Your family/household income may not exceed the “very low income level” for the Knoxville Metropolitan Area which can be found at http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/il.html on HUD’s Web site.
All persons 18 or older will be subject to a criminal background check. Any criminal history may result in denial of your application.
How do I apply?
The Section 8 Waiting List is currently closed. When the waiting list is reopened you may download an application to be faxed or mailed to us or apply in person at our Parkside office at 311 Atlantic Avenue Maryville, TN 37801. Currently we do not expect the Section 8 waiting list to reopen before summer of 2014.
When will I be notified?
After reviewing your application, if it appears that your family/household is eligible, your name will be placed on a waiting list. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, MHA will contact you by phone and/or by letter. If your family/household does not appear to be eligible when your application is reviewed, you will be notified by letter. You may speak with a housing authority representative regarding your application status in person (photo I.D. required) Monday through Friday from 8 am until 4 pm Eastern Standard Time. We do not provide applicant information over the phone.
Roles of the Tenant, the Landlord, the Housing Authority
Once MHA approves an eligible family/household’s lease and housing unit, the family/household and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and MHA sign a housing assistance contract which runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone – tenant, landlord and the Housing Authority – has obligations and responsibilities within the voucher program.
- Tenant's Role: When a family/household selects a housing unit, and MHA approves it and the lease, the family/household signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year the landlord may initiate a new lease or allow the tenant to remain in the unit on a month to month lease. When the family/household is settled in a new home, the family/household is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition, and notify MHA of any changes in income or family composition.
- Landlord's Role: The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program’s housing standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with MHA.
- MHA's Role: MHA provides a family/household with the rental assistance that enables the family/household to seek out suitable housing and enters into a contract with the landlord to provide rental assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the family or the landlord fails to meet his/her obligations, MHA has the right to terminate assistance payments.
Tenants are responsible for paying landlord security and Utility Deposits before the initial lease can be approved. The total deposits can exceed $1,000 depending on the bedroom size and type of utilities not included in the contract rent.
MHA offers a preference for qualified applicants who serve low income households as an AmeriCorps Member in Blount County.
Payment Standards Effective 7/1/2011 - Jurisdiction - Blount county
Portable voucher holders who are interested in moving into Blount County should have the issuing agency contact the Section 8 department at 865-983-4958 ext. 114.