The Section 8 Program provides assistance for low-income individuals and families in the private rental market through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Auburn Housing Authority administers 394 Section 8 Vouchers. Preference is given to applicants who reside in the City of Auburn.
Families are issued Tenant-Based Vouchers (TBV). Voucher holders then select a unit from the private rental market, and rental assistance makes market rate housing affordable. While voucher holders are free to search for an apartment anywhere within the City of Auburn, they can apply to live at Melone Village or Brogan Manor. Program participants normally pay between 30% and 40% of their monthly adjusted income towards rent and utilities. The Housing Assistance Payment covers the balance of the rent through a direct payment to the property owner.
Eligibility for a rental voucher is determined by the AHA based on total annual gross income and family size. Eligible families cannot exceed 50% of the area median income for Cayuga County. During the application process, we will collect income, asset, and family verifications to determine eligibility. If you are approved, you will be added to the wait list and when your name reaches the top of the waiting list, we will meet with you and provide you with a rental voucher.
After your family has been issued a Housing Choice Voucher, you can search for an apartment that is decent, safe, and sanitary according to Housing Quality Standards (HQS) established by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When you have found a suitable unit and the owner has agreed to lease the unit to you under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, we will inspect the unit to make sure that it meets the HQS guidelines. After the unit passes HQS inspection and the rent has been approved, the landlord and the tenant will enter into a lease for an initial term of one year.
New voucher holders must lease a unit for at least twelve months before becoming eligible to move to another unit or location. If you wish to move and maintain your rental assistance, you must notify the Auburn Housing Authority and your landlord at least one calendar month in advance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you accepting Housing Choice Voucher applications?
Not at this time. We currently have a waiting list. When we resume taking applications, we will advertise in The Citizen (newspaper), as well as on our website at www.auburnha.org.
Who is eligible for a voucher? What are the requirements?
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by AHA based on the total annual gross income and family size. You do not have to be a citizen; however, you must have eligible immigration status. Non-citizens with eligible immigration status will be required to provide proof of eligible immigration status.
The family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income for Cayuga County. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The income limits for Cayuga County can be found on this page.
During the application process, the AHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. AHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment.
I have received a voucher. How do I find a house or apartment? How long do I have to find a place to live?
A landlord list will be provided, and you can search the newspaper (The Citizen), Craig’s List, realtors, and any other place or publication that has housing for rent. You cannot rent an apartment from a relative. You have 60 days from the date your Voucher is issued to locate a unit and turn in a Request for Inspection. You may request one 30-day extension.
I want to live in Syracuse (or Union Springs, etc.) near my mother (or job). Is this possible?
When you receive your initial voucher, you must find a rental unit within AHA’s jurisdiction and remain in that unit for a minimum of one year. After the end of the initial lease period (one year), a person may exercise the ‘portability’ option and move to another location.
How is the unit size (number of bedrooms) determined?
AHA generally one bedroom for every two persons within the household. Persons of the opposite sex (other than spouses or significant others) may be allocated separate bedrooms.
I have found a nice rental unit. What do I need to do? Is there an inspection? When can I move in?
Submit a completed and signed (by you and the owner) Request for Tenancy Approval form. If approved, the unit will be inspected in a timely manner. You will be able to move in on the 1st of a month, and only after the unit passes inspection and all necessary paperwork is completed and submitted to AHA.
*Important: DO NOT sign a lease or pay a security deposit before contacting AHA. The AHA may not be able to approve the unit, and you could have serious problems (liable for a signed lease, loss of your security deposit, etc.). AHA must also have proof of property ownership before approving a contract. The lease should not be signed until the unit has been inspected and approved by AHA.
How much of the rent would I have to pay?
That depends on a number of factors including your income, the deductions to which you are entitled, the number of people in your household (which determines your voucher size), the applicable payment standard and the utility allowance for the unit you have chosen. Generally speaking, you will pay between 30% and 40% of your monthly adjusted income for rent. There is a required minimum rent of $50.00. If you get a job or a pay raise, or lose a job, you do not lose your voucher. You MUST report any changes in household income or composition within 10 days of the change on an AHA Income and Family Composition Report form. The tenant portion of the rent will be adjusted to reflect the new income.
Do I need to pay a deposit?
Yes. Your landlord can require a security deposit.
Do I pay for utilities?
Discuss this with the potential landlord. Read your Lease Agreement. If you are responsible for a utility payment, you must keep those payments current.
I have (e.g., gotten married, had a baby, adopted a child, divorced, lost my job, gotten a raise, etc.) since I submitted my application. How will this affect me?
While on the waiting list, if your family size has changed in any way, you must notify the AHA in writing. The addition or removal of family members may change the unit size (number of bedrooms) you qualify for. Changes in your income must also be reported as this may affect your eligibility for the program.
Once you are on the S8 HCV program, you are required to report any changes in household income and composition within 10 days of the change on an AHA Income and Family Composition Report form. Your rent portion will be adjusted accordingly.
*Important: You CANNOT allow anyone to move into your unit without permission from AHA. The person must be an immediate family member (child, parent, brother, sister, spouse, or significant other), and if they are over 18 years of age, they must complete an application and be approved prior to moving into the household.
*You are required to report any changes in household income and composition within 10 days of the change on an AHA Income and Family Composition Report form. Your rent portion will be adjusted accordingly.
My landlord wants to raise my rent. What do I do?
Your landlord must give you and AHA a 60-day written notice prior to the effective date of the proposed rent increase. AHA will review the request for rent increase and advise your landlord if it can be granted. If your landlord is raising the rent to an amount that is not affordable, it’s probably time to look for another unit.
My landlord is asking for an additional payment that is not in the contract? Is this ok?
Any payments not specified in the rental contract are not allowed. Monthly “side payments” are prohibited and will result in legal sanctions against the owner. If the participant has any questions about any charges demanded by the owner, he/she should contact proper AHA staff.
I can’t pay my portion of the rent. What do I do?
Your rent portion is calculated based on household income, deductions, utility allowances, and unit/voucher size. If you cannot pay your rent portion for some reason, you can contact the local Department of Social Services to see if they can assist you. If you do not pay your portion of the rent as calculated, you may be evicted by your landlord and could lose your housing assistance.
What happens if I get a big raise? Can I lose my voucher assistance? What is a “Zero HAP”?
If, when a tenant family is re-certified and their income has risen to the point that the total tenant payment exceeds the rent amount plus the utility allowance for the unit, AHA does not make any payment to the landlord and the tenant family is responsible for the full rent. This situation is called a Zero HAP.
However, the tenant family remains on the voucher program for six months. This way, the tenant is protected in case of a job loss, illness, or some other problem. “Zero HAP” tenants must continue to comply with all Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program rules. If the “Zero HAP” period ends and the tenant family’s income is still intact, the family will transition off of the HCV program.
I don’t like where I am living, can I move? Who do I have to notify?
In most cases, you can only move when the Lease Agreement expires. If you have resided in the unit more than one-year, you may be able to move with a proper notice, but you will need to comply with the lease provisions and Section 8 HCV regulations regarding a proper notice. Generally, a written 30-day notice must be provided to your landlord and a copy must be provided to AHA (some landlords require a 60-day notice – please refer to your lease agreement).
My landlord is not doing maintenance and does not repair problems in my unit. What do I do?
Refer to your lease regarding who is responsible for the repairs. Contact the person or agency listed in your lease for repairs. If issues are not addressed, contact AHA for assistance.
What are some of the reasons that could prevent me from getting housing assistance?
Failed criminal background screening, previous evictions, over income limits, failure to appear for scheduled appointments, and failure to provide necessary documents to determine eligibility are examples of reasons for denial of eligibility. All denials are based on the HUD regulations. The AHA is prohibited by federal law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, and disability.
If I have moved since the time I submitted my application, do I need to notify AHA?
It is very important that you keep your address information up to date. If your address has changed, you must notify AHA in writing or by phone, or visit our Office located at:
7 Merriman Street
Auburn, NY 13021
Phone: (315) 253-6249
*Important: All income declared by a tenant is subject to verification. Unreported income will result in overpaid assistance that must be repaid by the participant and could lead to termination of housing assistance.
I am moving out. My lease has expired. What should I do? Who do I notify?
You must give 30 day written notice to your landlord and give a copy to AHA. If you are staying on the voucher program, your voucher will be reissued and you will need to find a new unit within 60 days from the issue date of the voucher. If you are moving out of the area, you must notify AHA in writing and follow the process for “portability”.
Can I have a pet?
Ask the landlord. A ‘pet deposit’ may be required.
I rented a house with my voucher. Do I have to cut the grass or take care of the lawn?
Your lease may contain provisions for lawn maintenance and snow removal. Make sure you read the entire lease agreement and can abide by all conditions before you sign it.
What are my responsibilities when I rent a unit?
In general, your responsibilities are to pay a security deposit, pay your portion of the rent on time, pay any utilities you ae responsible for, follow your lease agreement rules and S8 HCV program rules, maintain the unit in a safe and sanitary condition and notify AHA of any income or family size changes.
What happens when I move but cannot find another unit? Can I lose my voucher?
When you issued a voucher to move, your voucher is initially good for 60 days from the date of issue. You may request a 30-day extension. If you have not located a new unit within 90 days and the voucher expires, your voucher is no longer available.
Can the owner enter my unit?
In general, owners may enter a tenant’s unit for three reasons: 1) emergency repairs, 2) non-emergency repairs or improvements, and 3) apartment inspections. Emergency repairs require no advance notice to the tenant. Access for all other reasons requires a “reasonable” advance notice (24-48 hours).
The landlord/owner isn’t complying with the lease agreement. What can I do?
Make sure the lease contains the following information: lessee (tenant), lessor (landlord/owner), unit address, rent, term of the lease (starting and ending dates, must be for at least one year), who pays what utilities, and what appliances are provided with the unit. Be sure that the procedures for repairs and maintenance are clear. Make sure you understand the rules and regulations posted for the property or specified in the lease. If you have doubts or questions, ask the landlord or his/her representative to provide answers in writing. Tenants and the owners (landlords) should cooperate with each other and attempt to work out any differences. But if there are disputes, AHA may be able to help and/or advocate for you in some instances. Nevertheless, AHA does not have the power to force a tenant or owner to take any desired action. In some cases, tenant and owner disputes must be settled through the court system.
I have received a letter from the AHA stating that they have detected unreported income and I owe money? What is this?
AHA has discovered that you have unreported or under-reported income and has calculated the back payments you owe according to this information. You will be given the opportunity to appeal and /or clarify this information. If you continue to not report income, you will be subject to legal action, including the termination of housing assistance. Abuse of AHA staff in the performance of their duties and/or disregard of family obligations listed in the voucher will result in the termination of housing assistance.
A family member has criminal history. How does this affect my voucher?
Per HUD regulations, no family member may engage in drug-related criminal activity, violent criminal activity, or other criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents or persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises. AHA reviews criminal history on a case by case basis and determines if the history rises to level of the application being denied or the participation being terminated. If it is determined that, the application is denied, or participation must be terminated AHA will notify you and you will have the opportunity to appeal the decision.
After the end of the initial lease period (one year), a person may exercise the ‘portability’ option and move to another location?
Families receiving voucher assistance may not move during the initial term of their lease. After 12 months, a family may move anywhere in the United States where a Section 8 voucher program is administered. This is called portability.
What is the “Housing Quality Standard” (HQS) Inspection?
HUD requires AHA to perform an HQS inspection of all Section 8 units before entering into a Housing Assistance Payment contract with an owner, and at least annually thereafter. The inspection confirms whether an apartment meets minimum physical standards established by HUD. All voucher holders are required to provide access to AHA staff to allow them to perform the inspection. A family that fails to provide access may be terminated from the program.
What is an Annual Re-certification?
AHA is required to recertify the income and composition of all households at least once a year. The annual re-examination determines the continued eligibility of a Section 8 participant and establishes the Housing Assistance Payment to be made on behalf of the family. The move-in date is used to determine the time of the annual re-exam.
My sister is coming to live with me. Is that OK? How long can she stay? Will it affect my voucher payment?
The voucher is designated specifically for the family members assigned to the voucher. Any immediate family member that wants to reside with you must go through the application process to be added to your household. They must also be approved by the landlord/owner. Continued residence by other persons in the unit that are not approved, is a violation of the contract and assistance may be terminated. Also, a voucher holder may not sublet or loan the use of the unit to any other person.
I found out that the owner has lost the house (foreclosure). What do I do? Will I have to move? What about my payments?
Notify AHA immediately of any notices you have received, and they will proceed on a case-by-case basis.
Are “Homsite” and Section 8 the same thing?
Cayuga County Homsite Development Corporation is another agency in Auburn that provides Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) assistance. Section 8 HCV is the actual program assistance that you will receive to help subsidize your housing.
If the AHA determines that the rent that the Landlord requests is unaffordable, can I pay the difference?
No. You can only pay a contract rent that AHA staff states you can afford.
What documents should I bring to my first appointment?
You should bring proof of income, birth certificates, Social Security cards, photo identification, and any documents that pertain to you and your household income and expenses.