A tenant-based voucher is provided to an eligible family or individual, which allows them to locate housing of their choice, including single-family homes, townhouses, apartments, and mobile homes. The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and where the landlord is willing to accept the voucher payment. Initially, housing must be located in Spokane County, but after one year, participants may move anywhere in the country where there is a voucher program and the assistance follows the household.
There is a separate waiting list for Tenant-Based Vouchers.
The HCV Tenant-Based waiting list is currently closed.
Payment Standards and Utility Estimates
Spokane Housing Authority’s voucher payment standards set the maximum amount the agency pays for tenant’s rent and utilities. Voucher payment standards are not the maximum rent that can be charged or the subsidy that tenants receive; however, the tenant’s rent burden (tenant rent plus utilities) may not exceed 40% of their adjusted annual income. Access to Voucher Payment Standards and Utility Charts.
Requesting a Voucher Extension
Under the Tenant-Based HCV Program, clients have an initial period of 90 days to find a suitable unit. After 90 days the voucher will expire, unless a written request for voucher extension and justification for the request are received. Voucher extension requests should be submitted in writing at least one week prior to the voucher expiration date. SHA will review requests, and at its discretion may grant the extension for an additional 30 days. Further extensions are permissible at the discretion of the SHA primarily for two reasons, as follows:
- Extenuating Circumstance: Extenuating circumstances such as hospitalization of a family member or family emergency over an extended period of time that has affected the family’s ability to find a unit within the initial one hundred twenty (120) day term. SHA may grant an extension to assist families whose size or special requirements make finding a unit difficult.
- Reasonable Accommodation for an accessible unit: As a reasonable accommodation to make the program accessible to a family member who is a person with disabilities.
Renting with a Voucher
If you receive voucher assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher program, the initial term of your lease will generally be 12 months. If you want to start using a voucher for a unit in which you have already been living, a new lease will be required.
Landlords use the same lease for voucher-assisted tenants that they use for other renters, as long as the lease includes:
- The names of the landlord and tenant
- The address of the unit, including apartment number
- The start and end dates of the lease
- The monthly rent paid to the landlord
- A list of utilities and appliances supplied by the landlord
- A list of utilities and appliances supplied by the tenant
After you are given a voucher and educated about how to use it, you can begin the leasing process:
- Find a suitable unit
It is your responsibility to find a suitable unit and explain to the landlord that you have rental assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher program. You can find rental listings at www.gosection8.com. If you have any questions regarding registering or viewing property listings, please contact the GoSection8 toll free help line at 1-866-466-7328.
Your Voucher will expire after 90 days and the Housing Choice Voucher Program must receive your Request for Tenancy Approval prior to the expiration date. Spokane Housing Authority may only grant extensions upon written request submitted before the voucher expiration date.
- Give the required documents to the landlord
When you are issued a voucher you will receive a Request for Tenancy Approval that you will need to give to the landlord once they have approved your application.
- The landlord completes the required documents and sends them to Spokane Housing Authority
- The landlord should complete, sign, and date the Request for Tenancy Approval as soon as possible.
- You will also sign and date the Request for Tenancy Approval.
- The Request for Tenancy Approval must be returned to the SHA Inspection Team. They may be faxed to 509-323-2364, walked in, emailed or mailed to:
Spokane Housing Authority
Attn: Inspection Team
25 W Nora Avenue
Spokane, WA 99205
- Spokane Housing Authority reviews the documents and approves the proposed rent
- Once the agency receives all required forms, they will be checked to make sure the information provided is complete and accurate. The unit must be affordable for you as well as be rent reasonable for the neighborhood it is located in.
- If the proposed rent does not pass both of these tests, the landlord will be asked to negotiate a lower rent. Landlords are never required to lower rent, however, if they do not agree to a rent that meets both of the requirements, you will have to find another unit.
- Spokane Housing Authority inspects the unit
- If the proposed rent is affordable and reasonable, Spokane Housing Authority contacts the landlord to schedule a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection of the unit. These inspections make sure that housing is decent, safe, and sanitary. The inspector may find items that must be fixed before the unit is approved for the program. In that case, the landlord will be given a reasonable amount of time to fix the problems, and the unit will be inspected again.
- You should not move in before the unit passes inspection. If you do, you will be responsible for paying the entire rent amount due for that period.
- The unit passes inspection, and the contract and Tenancy Addendum are mailed to the landlord
- Once the unit passes the HQS inspection, you may sign your 12-month lease and move in.
- SHA must have a signed copy of your lease before the Tenancy Addendum and contract can be mailed to the landlord.
Spokane Housing Authority will continue to manage your voucher if you move within Spokane County. We recommend you start the moving process 30 to 45 days before you plan to move. The moving process takes seven steps:
- Decide whether you want to move. If you’re thinking about moving, review our current voucher payment standards first. This will show the highest amount Spokane Housing Authority will pay each month to help you with rent and utilities. SHA will only allow you to move with your voucher one time each year.
- Notify your landlord. Give your landlord plenty of notice of your intention to move. You are required by Washington State tenant landlord law to give notice to your landlord at least 20 days in advance of moving out of your unit. SHA encourages you to provide 30-60 days notice if at all possible. SHA has a Tenant Move Notice form for you to use here.
- Provide SHA with a copy of the move notice you have given to your landlord.
- Complete any required moving forms. If you have had any recent changes in your household circumstances, you must provide information about those changes to SHA in advance. Failure to report these changes could result in delays to your voucher issuance. SHA will be in touch with you after you have submitted your Request to Move if any additional paperwork is required. SHA will also notify you if you are not eligible for a move voucher.
- Collect your voucher. SHA will schedule a voucher issuance orientation for you. You must attend to receive your voucher to move.
- Have the new landlord fill out the Request for Tenancy Approval form. Send the completed form to SHA. If the rent is reasonable, a housing inspector will set up a time to go through the home with your new landlord. Do not move into the home until it passes inspection.
- Move out of your current home by the date you listed in Step 1 (above). Conduct a move out inspection and return the keys to your landlord. Ask for a receipt from your landlord that lists that date you returned the keys.
If you need to delay or change your move, notify SHA by filling out a new Tenant Move Notice and indicating “Delay” or “Cancel”.
Moving Out of Spokane (Porting Out)
You may take your tenant-based voucher outside of Spokane only if you have already leased a unit with your voucher in Spokane for at least one year, you are in good standing with SHA, and you are in good standing with your landlord.
If eligible, you can move anywhere in the United States that has a Housing Choice Voucher program. However, different rules may apply once you leave Spokane. Other housing authorities may have different payment standards. You may not be able to rent a home with the same number of bedrooms. Both of these affect the type of home you can rent. Make sure you ask the new housing authority about their rules before you make your final choice. If you need assistance in locating a housing authority in the area you wish to move to, please contact SHA’s customer service representatives.
Once you know where you want to move, fill out a Tenant Move Notice form. You must notify SHA of your planned move-out date.
Moving To Spokane (Porting In)
If your voucher is currently being managed by another housing authority and you would like to move to Spokane, you can begin the move process here.
The move process takes four steps:
- Contact the housing authority that currently manages your voucher. Tell them you would like to port to Spokane. They will forward all documents to SHA to begin the move process.
- Contact SHA’s Gold Team to complete any additional forms from SHA. You can reach the Gold Team by email at [email protected].
- Attend an orientation and collect your voucher. We cannot schedule an orientation until we have received information listed in step 1 (above). You must meet SHA’s eligibility criteria in order to be issued a voucher.
- Have the new landlord fill out the Request for Tenancy Approval form. Send the completed form to SHA. If the rent is reasonable, a housing inspector will set up a time to go through the home with your new landlord. Do not move into the home until it passes inspection. Confirmation of moving from your previous unit may be required. SHA must confirm that the original housing authority has processed your move before SHA can make payments to your new landlord.
Note for originating Housing Authorities: SHA is currently billing for all port-ins. Documents can be sent by mail or emailed with encryption to [email protected].
A Project-Based Voucher is attached to a housing unit in a specific property. PBV’s may be attached to a limited number of units at a property or to all of the units at the property. Eligible tenants only receive housing assistance if they live in a unit that has a PBV.
- PBV Waiting Lists
There is a separate property-specific waiting list for each property that has PBV’s.
All PBV waiting lists are currently closed.
- Moving from a PBV Unit
PBV regulations give households that have resided in project-based units for at least one year the right to move without losing HCV assistance, by requesting a tenant-based voucher. In order to be eligible for a tenant-based voucher, you must be in compliance with your lease and HCV program requirements. If you want to move from a PBV unit but still need assistance, please contact your Eligibility Team to request a tenant-based voucher.
Do not move from a PBV unit before you are issued a tenant-based voucher as you will lose your eligibility for tenant-based voucher assistance.
After at least 12 months of assistance with a tenant-based voucher, qualified households may be eligible to use their voucher to assist with mortgage payments. The mortgage payment and housing assistance payments are based on household income.
The Homeownership Waiting List is currently closed.
All Spokane Housing Authority offices will continue to be closed to the public until further notice as a proactive measure to decrease the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 disease.