Rules for Tenants in Public and Subsidized Housing

Categories :: Housing > Landlord/Tenant

Below is a brief comparison of the types of rules (down) that apply to tenants based on the type of government subsidy (across) received. The first column describes tenants who do not receive a subsidized rent, that is those who pay "market rate." Also see the detailed definitions about each type of tenancy.

  Market-Rate Public Housing Tenant-based Section 8 Project-based Section 8 Rental Allowance Program (RAP)
Property Owner Private owner. PHA. Private owner. Private owner. Private owner.
Contractual Relationship(s) Lease between owner/agent and tenant. Written lease between PHA and tenant. Written lease between owner/agent and tenant AND HAP contract between owner and PHA. Written lease between owner/agent and tenant AND HAP contract between owner and PHA/HUD. Written lease between owner/agent and tenant AND RAP contract between owner and local program.
Property Management Private owner or agent/mgmt company hired by owner. PHA, generally, but agent/mgmt company in certain circumstances (HOPE VI). Private owner or agent/mgmt company, but PHA makes initial, annual, and emergency inspections. Private owner or agent/mgmt company, but HUD makes annual and emergency inspections.

Private owner or agent/mgmt company, but local program makes initial and emergency inspections.
Subsidized Housing? No. Yes. Yes.  Owner receives HAP from PHA Yes.  Owner receives HAP from PHA or HUD Yes.  Owner receives RAP from MD DHCD, through local program.
Tenant’s Portion of Rent Rent set forth in lease. Less than market-rate rent for unit.  Rent amount is either a portion of tenant’s net income or flat rent set by PHA. Less than market-rate rent for unit.  Rent amount is a portion of tenant’s net income. Less than market-rate rent for unit.  Rent amount is a portion of tenant’s net income. Less than market-rate rent for unit.  Rental subsidies vary in amount from $180 to $530/month.
Can Tenancy be Ended w/o Cause? Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes.
Applicable Regulations
24 C.F.R. § 960

24 C.F.R. § 966
24 C.F.R. § 982 24 C.F.R. § 983

24 C.F.R. § 247, Subpart A
COMAR 05.05.03

Definitions

HAP:  Housing assistance payment. The monthly assistance payment by a PHA to the owner under the Section 8 programs.

Lease:  Means either an oral or a written lease.

PHA:  Public Housing Agency. Can administer both public housing and Section 8 programs.

Public housing tenant: the Housing Authority owns the property where you, the tenant, resides. Most often, the Housing Authority also manages the property as landlord.

  • At certain public housing developments and in some scattered site/rehabilitated public housing (e.g., HOPE VI mixed-income redevelopments), a private management company manages the property for Housing Authority.

Section 8 tenant: the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), makes housing assistance payments on your behalf to a private owner of the property. The payment may be made either directly or through the Housing Authority (It is different from public housing. Under the Section 8 programs, the Housing Authority does not own or manage the property where you reside.) There are two basic types of Section 8 tenancies:

  • Tenant-based assistance: you are given a Section 8 voucher to use in finding a place to live. You can use the voucher anywhere. The subsidy is called "portable."
  • Project-based assistance: the unit where you live, (not you, the tenant), "receives" the subsidy. (As a result, if you move, or are evicted, you will lose the subsidy. In other words, the subsidy is not portable and does not "follow" you; the subsidy "stays" with the unit.)

Rental Allowance Program (RAP): : The rental allowance program ("RAP") is a State rental assistance program for those who are homeless or have a critical or emergency housing need. It provides a 12-month subsidy to low-income persons to help them attain self-sufficiency within a 12-month time frame. The rental subsidy will vary in amount from $180 to $730 per month, depending on the region and size of the person’s family.

  • The subsidy you can use for a room, a boarding house, single room occupancy, apartment, group home, or single family house. For monthly RAP payments to begin, you and the landlord must sign the RAP contract and the subsidized property must pass an initial housing inspection. The RAP payment may only be used for rent and not for any utility bills, security deposits, late charges or any other non-rent items. The RAP contract will be terminated when you vacate the unit before the contract expires, the landlord legally evicts you, or when the RAP contract expires.

Learn more

Renting and HUD rental assistance programs

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in Maryland

Source: 

Legal Aid Bureau, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development
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