Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions 2017-06-16T21:41:16+00:00
Which areas are eligible for section 8? 2015-04-20T19:08:58+00:00

MPHA only administers Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers within the city limits of Minneapolis. Suburban areas are covered by other housing agencies. Program rules may vary for other housing agencies. Visit www.Housinglink.org  for a listing of Housing Authorities within the 7 County Metro area.

What happens when a property is sold? 2015-04-20T19:08:35+00:00

MPHA will not know about a property sale unless notified. Documentation will be requested of the new owner, including MPHA‟s Owner Change form, an IRS W-9 form, a copy of the Warranty Deed, and a signed copy of the city rental license.

If you would like to notify MPHA of an ownership change, please call 612-342-1211. All owner documentation is required before checks are released to the new owner.

Can owners raise the rent? 2015-04-20T19:08:16+00:00

Contract rent increases are allowed in accordance with the lease terms. Rent increases are allowed at the annual renewal of the lease and HAP Contract.  Property owners must notify MPHA of any increase in rent at least 60-days prior to the effective date.  MPHA requires a new 1 year lease term for any Rent increase.

When will the owner receive the subsidy payments? 2015-04-20T19:07:36+00:00

The FIRST payment for a tenant moving into your unit will be released  within  45-60 days after the start date of the lease agreement.   Payments will be retroactive to the rental subsidy start date.

What will cause the rent portions to change? 2015-04-20T19:07:16+00:00

Rent portions may change at the family’s annual re-examination, or with a change in the Contract Rent.  Changes that occur mid year are due to a change in the family’s income or the  family’s  composition. The owner and the family will be notified in writing of any change in the rent portions.

What should an owner do if a tenant violates the lease? 2015-04-20T19:06:56+00:00

Lease violations by Section 8 HCV tenants must be managed in the same manner as you would with unassisted tenants and in accordance with applicable laws. The lease is between the tenant and the owner. MPHA is not a party to the lease. MPHA advises the owner to notify the family “in writing”, of any lease violations, request the necessary change(s), and state a deadline for the correction of the violations. A copy of this correspondence MUST be forwarded to MPHA. If the family does not comply with the written correspondence, the owner must initiate a legal court eviction by contacting the Clerk of Court and filing an Unlawful Detainer Action.

The owner must notify MPHA, in writing, of the commencement of termination procedures. This can be done by furnishing MPHA with a copy of the Unlawful Detainer. The owner must notify MPHA of the outcome of the Unlawful Detainer action and the actual court ordered date of eviction.

Who is responsible for utilities? 2015-04-20T19:06:33+00:00

The Section 8 HCV Program does not have rules about which party is responsible for utilities.  Utility responsibility is based upon the terms of the lease agreement.

Does section 8 provide security deposits? 2015-04-20T19:06:02+00:00

MPHA does not assist families with security deposits.

What is the maximum security deposit amount a family is allowed to pay? 2015-04-20T19:05:40+00:00

The family may pay a security deposit that equals the security deposit charged to unassisted families. The Section 8 families cannot pay a security deposit greater than what is charged to unassisted families. Full and timely payment and collection of the Security Deposit is the owner’s responsibility.

What is the tenancy addendum? 2015-04-20T19:05:21+00:00

HUD requires that all property owners attach Form 52641-A (commonly known as the Tenancy Addendum) to their lease with any participant in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (24 CFR 982.162(a)(3)). The tenancy addendum is Part C of the Housing Assistance Payment Contract and if and when there is a conflict between the contract and the lease agreement, the tenancy addendum takes precedence.  See Form for a copy.

What is the required lease term? 2015-04-20T19:05:04+00:00

Section 8 requires an initial lease term of no less than 1 year. A lease may end by:

  • Termination of lease by owner at end of lease with the required written notice.
  • Termination of lease by tenant at end of lease with the required written notice.
  • MPHA termination of HAP Contract for HQS or program violations which terminates the lease.
  • The owner may terminate the lease for serious and/or repeated violation of the terms of the lease, violations of Federal, State, or local Laws regarding the occupancy or use of the unit.
Whose lease document is used? 2015-04-20T19:04:44+00:00

The owner has the option to use his/her own lease document or a standard lease issued by the Minnesota Multi-Housing Association. Call (952) 854-8500 if you wish to use the Minnesota MultiHousing Association lease.  MPHA requires all leases to contain the following information –

  • List of all family members
  • Utility responsibility
  • Contract Rent/Rent to Owner
  • Maximum Late fee (in compliance with state law) is 8% of tenant rent portion
  • Term of Lease
  • Unit rental address

The owner may incorporate building/property rules and/or policies by adding additional provisions and attaching a copy of the provisions, signed and dated by both parties, to the lease for MPHA approval.

HUD requires that all leases subsidized under the Housing Choice Voucher program contain the Tenancy Addendum (Part C of the Housing Assistance Payment Contract)

What will MPHA approve for use as a bedroom? 2017-06-16T21:41:27+00:00

MPHA follows City of Minneapolis code, which states that bedrooms must be at least 70 sq. feet for one person and 90 sq. ft for two persons occupying the room, and not less than 7 ft in any one direction. The ceiling height in all bedrooms must be at least seven (7) feet high to qualify as a bedroom.  A bedroom is not required to have a closet but is required to have a heat source.   All bedrooms must have  a  safe method of escape (egress) in case of fire.

What is an abatement? 2017-06-16T21:41:27+00:00

HUD Regulations states that the PHA shall not make any housing assistance payments if the contract unit does not meet the HQS, unless the owner corrects the defect within the period specified by the PHA and the PHA verifies the correction. If a defect is life threatening, the owner must correct the defect within no more than 24 hours. For other defects, the owner must correct the defect within the period specified by the PHA.

This means that the rent will be prorated for the period of time from the failed inspection until MPHA receives verifiable documentation of the completion of the needed repairs.  This may require an additional physical inspection. No payment will be made for the abated period.

If the PHA determines that the owner is not entitled to the housing assistance payment or any part of it, the PHA, in addition to other remedies, may deduct the amount of the overpayment from any amounts due the owner (including amounts due under any other Section 8 assistance contract).

When will the owner know what the tenant portion of the rent is? 2015-04-20T19:02:54+00:00

As soon as you ask your tenant. Each participant attends a program briefing upon initial approval of participation in the program and each time they transfer units.

Each participating family is provided a Worksheet which determines that the unit is affordable for the family and provides an estimated tenant rent portion.

The HCV Program will notify, in writing, both you and your tenant of the final rent portions. The calculation of the final rent portions and the drafting of the Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP) may take up to 45 days for completion.  Upon receipt of the executed HAP contract MPHA will release payments.

Participant families are instructed to pay the estimated rent portion to the owner until the final calculations are completed.  If there is a balance owed/due, it is expected that the tenant and the property owner will reconcile any balances.

When can a tenant move in? 2015-04-20T19:02:13+00:00

If a tenant moves in before the assistance starts, the tenant is responsible for the full rent until  rental subsidy is authorized.  MPHA will only begin rental assistance as of the 1st or the 15th of the month after a unit passes inspection and the family, property owner and lease agreement have been approved.

For example, if a unit fails an inspection on May 26th, and the required repairs aren’t complete until June 5th, the tenant can move in on June 1st, but MPHA will make rental assistance payments effective June 15th. In this example, the tenant would be responsible for the whole rent amount from June 1st until June 14th.

What are some common reasons for an inspection to fail? 2015-04-20T19:01:50+00:00

Link to Commonly Failed Items

What if the unit fails‟ the inspection? 2015-04-20T19:01:02+00:00

If the unit does not pass the HQS Initial inspection, the property owner may elect to make the repairs or withdraw the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA).  If MPHA does not receive a request for a re-inspection within 30 days of the initial failed inspection, MPHA will with draw the RFTA.   If the owner elects not to make the repairs, the family must choose another unit to receive assistance. MPHA cannot enter into the Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP) until the unit passes the HQS inspection, a 1year executed lease agreement has been submitted and approved, and the participant has possession of the unit.

If the participant is in possession of the unit prior to the assistance start date, the FULL contract rent is the responsibility of the participant family.

If the unit fails the Annual HQS inspection due to property’s owner failure to repair or participant’s violations of HQS standards, both parties will receive a copy of the failed inspection report.

What is the purpose of the inspection? 2015-04-20T19:00:33+00:00

The Housing Quality Standards (HQS) is the federally mandated inspection requirements designed for all types of housing throughout the nation.  HQS was developed to ensure that housing assisted through the HCV program is “affordable, decent, safe and sanitary”.

Units are inspected at initial move-in; annually and as needed or requested by property owner or program participant.

How do owners schedule a move -in inspection? 2015-04-20T19:00:01+00:00

Once the participant returns the Moving Packet (including the Request for Tenancy Approval) MPHA Inspections will contact the owner via e-mail to schedule an initial inspection of the unit. The property owner must confirm this inspection date/time and either the owner or the owner’s representative must be present at the inspection.  Once the unit passes the inspection, the lease can be executed and submitted to MPHA. (Assistance starts on the 1st or 15th of the month following the passed inspection date).   MPHA will calculate the rent portions and will draft and email/fax the Housing Assistance Payment contract to the Owner for signature. The owner must sign the contract and return it to MPHA before payments can be released.

When do i get paid? 2015-04-20T18:52:43+00:00

There is an initial 45-60 day delay of the first check sent to owners on a new lease. The subsequent Housing Assistance Payments to Owners are mailed timely. Usually payments are received on the 1st day of the month; there are occasional occurrences when the 1st of the month delivery is not possible. We will make every effort to deliver quickly.

What is the housing assistance payment (HAP) contract? 2015-04-20T18:52:05+00:00

The HAP contract is entered to provide assistance for the family under the Section 8 voucher program. (see HUD program regulations at 24 Code of Federal Regulations Part 982) The HAP Contract outlines the compliance,   rights and responsibilities of the property owner for program participation. MPHA strongly recommends that the owner read the contract completely, and be familiar with all of its provisions. (link to contract)

What is a “request for tenancy approval (rfta)?” 2015-04-20T18:51:30+00:00

The Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) is a required HUD form that the family provides to the owner. The owner completes it with information about the unit regarding unit size, rent, address, and utility responsibilities. The family returns it to MPHA. The RFTA provides MPHA with information necessary for the calculation of rent portions  and the drafting of the Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP) . The RFTA is not a lease; however, it’s required that a landlord complete the RFTA when he/she has determined he/she is willing to enter into an assisted lease with the family.

The participant submits the RFTA to MPHA staff who must determine affordability for the family and calculate HUD’s Rent Reasonableness of the unit cost.  Rent Reasonableness requires staff being able to locate 3 comparable units of similar size, type and locations that have a gross rent (rent plus tenant paid utilities) that is equal to or greater than the rent requested.

Can the owner obtain information about the family from MPHA? 2015-04-20T18:51:05+00:00

MPHA will disclose the following information to potential owners:

  • The family’s current address.
  • The name and address of the most recent and prior owner if known by MPHA.
  • All other information about the tenant is protected by Minnesota’s Government Data Practices Act.
What about background check ? 2017-06-16T21:41:27+00:00

MPHA determines program eligibility based on income levels; citizenship status and all adult family members passing a criminal background check.  MPHA does not screen for tenancy or rental history. Tenant background checks, to determine suitability as a renter, is the responsibility of the owner.

Is an owner required to participate in the section 8 program? 2015-04-20T18:50:02+00:00

An owner has the same right and responsibility to select Section 8 HCV tenants as any other tenants. Federal, state, and local laws, however, prohibit housing discrimination based on Protected classes: race, age, marital status, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation & public assistance status

How does an owner find a Section 8 HCV Program participant to rent his or her unit? 2015-04-20T18:48:49+00:00

MPHA does not maintain a list of vacant rental units. Instead, MPHA refers program participants to Housing Link, a private non-profit organization that compiles a weekly listing of vacant affordable rental property in the Twin Cities metro area. Houisnglink.org

How does an owner get involved in the program? 2015-04-20T18:37:09+00:00

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a tenant-based voucher program. MPHA issues vouchers to tenants, who then can choose any private-market rental unit (subject to affordability, rent reasonableness, housing quality standards, and other stipulations). Property owners become involved with the Section 8 HCV department when a tenant applies to lease their property.

What should I do if there is an infestation in my unit? 2015-06-23T20:59:09+00:00

If you suspect that you have any cockroaches, bed bugs, or mice in your unit, you should report it to your management office immediately. They will inspect your unit and make a decision as to what course of action needs to be taken. Click here for a contact list.

Are there any job programs available to residents? 2017-06-16T21:41:27+00:00

The MPHA Self-Help Program offers its residents an opportunity to earn a stipend in return for accomplishing short-term assignments. Contact your Property Manager for more information. Click here for a contact list.

Through Section 3 Employment, MPHA and its contractors adhere to HUD Section 3 requirements, meaning that 30% of employees hired should be current MPHA residents or HCV Section 8 participants, HUD Youth Build Program participants, or other low income persons who live in the Twin Cities Metro Area.

How do I transfer from my current unit? 2015-06-24T16:07:48+00:00

There are eight different categories for a transfer. Tenants must contact your management office staff to request a transfer and complete the necessary paper work. You can review the transfer policy and process by going to the Statement of Policies.

What do I do if I need grab bars in the shower, a shower stool, etc.? 2015-01-12T17:24:57+00:00

If you need a reasonable accommodation for your unit such as a grab bar in the shower, you should contact your management office and complete the required forms. Your request will be reviewed and a decision made as to your request.

What do I do if I lose my unit key or my key badge? 2015-06-23T21:02:57+00:00

If you lose any keys to your unit, please immediately call in a work order at 612-342-1585. If you lose your key badge notify your management office immediately. Staff will then issue you a new unit key and key badge. There will be a charge to replace them. Click here for contact information for your management office.

How do I request a repair to my unit? 2017-06-16T21:41:27+00:00

High-rise tenants should call 612-342-1585 and Family tenants call 612-342-1515 for repairs. Let the Work Order Coordinator know the nature of your needed repair and a staff person will be assigned to fix it. The Work Order Department is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. During the non-work day, weekends, and holidays your call will be taken by an answering service that will direct your call to an MPHA staff member on-call who will address your concern.

How do I pay my rent? 2017-06-16T21:41:28+00:00

You will receive a rent statement and a payment envelope for the next month’s rent at the end of each month. Rent is due the first of each month. Your rent must be mailed to the following address: Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, P.O. Box 77034, Minneapolis, MN 55480-7734. Your payment should be in the form of a cashier’s check, money order or personal check made out to “Minneapolis Public Housing Authority” or “MPHA.” Cash is not accepted. If you are past due in your rent you should pay your rent at the Rent Collections window at 1001 Washington Avenue North. The Rent Collections office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; except holidays.

Am I allowed to have a pet? 2015-01-12T17:22:55+00:00

Residents are permitted to have pets. The Statement of Policies sets forth the guidelines for both high-rise and scattered site tenants. Generally residents may have, “only one cat or one dog weighing not more than 25 lbs; or two caged birds; or an aquarium of thirty gallons or less for fish only; or two cages gerbils or hamsters…” The policy does set forth which pets are prohibited.

Can MPHA deny housing assistance? 2015-01-05T23:48:11+00:00

Yes.  Even if you can prove that you need housing, MPHA is required by federal law and regulations to deny assistance if you do not qualify.

Do I have to move into a MPHA unit?   Can I stay where I am currently living? 2015-01-05T23:48:11+00:00

Low Income Public Housing (LIPH) is not the same as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.  If approved for LIPH you will have to live in a LIPH unit. Click here for more information on the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

How many offers will I receive for a housing unit? 2015-01-05T23:48:11+00:00

For High-rise you will be provided up to four offers.  If you do not accept the first unit offered you will then have up to three additional units offered to you.  If you do not accept any of the four units offered you will be taken off the wait list.

For a Family unit you will be provided up to two offers.  If you do not accept the first unit offered you will then have one additional unit offered to you.  If you do not accept any of these units you will be taken off the wait list.

How long will it take for me to be housed? 2015-01-05T23:48:11+00:00

The wait for housing varies, depending on the size of your family and the length of the waiting list.  It may take up to a year from the approval date of your application before an offer of housing is made to you.  The time however varies and the wait can be shorter or longer.

Who is the Eligibility Technician assigned to my application? 2015-01-05T23:48:11+00:00

You can call 612-342-1400 and use our automated phone system to find out who is your ET.

What is the status of my application? 2015-01-05T23:48:11+00:00

You can call 612-342-1400 and use our automated phone system to determine the status of your application.

Where are Low Income Public Housing buildings located? 2015-01-05T23:48:11+00:00

Buildings are located throughout Minneapolis.  The Housing Programs section includes a listing of all highrise buildings and information about scattered site and senior highrise buildings; with information about each of them, including pictures of the buildings, locations, layout, nearby bus routes and information on the surrounding neighborhood.

How do I update my application? 2015-06-24T16:34:20+00:00

If you need to provide an update on the application you have completed you will need to complete the Updates for Pre-application form and submit it the Leasing Department. This form can be found in the How to Apply section of the website.

How do I apply for Low Income Public Housing (LIPH)? 2017-06-16T21:41:28+00:00

The How to Apply section explains the steps you should take to apply to the Low Income Public Housing program and for what categories applications are currently being taken.

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