Housing Choice Voucher Program – Section 8

Columbia SC’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, as supported by Section 8, exists to give rental help to people in the low-income bracket who want to live in homes on the private rental market but can’t afford private market rent.

Housing Choice Voucher, HCV participants are able to spend 30% of their adjusted gross income on rent and utilities and the rest is subsidized by the Housing Authority Assistance Payments Program, which pays the difference directly to the property’s landlord.

The Columbia Housing Authority gives out around 3,100 Vouchers and Moderate Rehabilitation Certificates. Using Certificate or Voucher, a family can choose a home they want to rent in the private rental market. The family is not obligated to stay there forever and if they choose to move, their assistance is transferable. The housing must meet CHA Housing Quality standards and is inspected to make sure it does.

For more information about Columbia Housing Authority’s HCV8 program, you can call (803) 254-3886, ext. 235.

More information on the HCV program can be found on the official HUD website here.

Other Housing Choice Voucher Resources:

2012 Section 8 Administrative Plan

You can search for Section 8 and/or affordable Columbia housing on the GoSection8 site here.

The CHA uses SCHousingSearch.com to list the Section 8 Voucher available units.

The Section 8 program closes and goes on a waiting list often, so it may not be available when you wish to use it.

Section 8 Program

Moderate Rehabilitation Program (Mod Rehab)

The Mod Rehab program housing units are both apartments and homes owned by private market landlords that have been renovated in a moderate manner. Assistance for these is tied to the unit.

When vacancies happen, families are taken off the Mod Rehab waiting list.

Selected families are responsible for paying 30% of their adjusted gross monthly income for rent and utilities.

Section 8 Waiting List

The waiting list status changes, and can be monitored and checked on the Columbia HA site here.

Common Landlord Questions:

Q: What are the requirements for my unit to be rented to an assisted family?
A: The unit has to meet HUD Housing Quality Standards and the rent has to fall in HUD Fair Market Rents and market rate averages.

Q: How do I make a unit available to certificate and voucher holders?
A: Call the Section 8 office at 254-3886 ext. 235 to have the unit posted the list. You can also place ads in newspapers or online saying “will accept Section 8.”

Q: Who pays the rent?
A: The tenant pays 30% of their monthly income minus utilities towards rent. You collect the tenant’s portion of the rent from the tenant. The CHA pays the difference directly to you.

Q: Can I collect a security deposit?
A: Yes, you can collect whatever you would like up to a full month’s rent. However you can’t charge an assisted tenant more than what you charge an unassisted tenant.

Q: What is the term of the lease and contract?
A: After one year, the term is open-ended as long as the tenant remains eligible and the unit is still at to Housing Quality Standards. The tenant can vacate with 30-day notice after the first year for any reason but the landlord must have good cause to end the lease and evict the tenant.

Q: What do I do when a certificate or voucher holder is interested in my unit?
A:

Step 1: Screen the tenants and certify their income.
Step 2: Request for Tenancy Approval – Complete “Request for Tenancy Approval” form. When the tenant submits the form to our office, with a copy of your proposed lease, an inspector will schedule an inspection. Note that the utilities need to be on for the inspection.
Step 3: Inspection and rent – The unit will be inspected to insure that it meets HUD Quality Standards. Required repairs and rent amount will be discussed with you by the inspector.
Step 4: Lease and contract – The CHA and the landlord sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract which includes the assisted rent agreement.