Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) FAQ
How can I obtain a voucher or apply for the HCV Program?
Currently, our waiting list is closed and we are not accepting any applications.
We encourage you to register for posting notifications with www.cthcvp.org to receive an email notification of when this list opens.
In order to be eligible to participate in the HCV Program, you must first apply. Vouchers are given to eligible applicants on the waiting list based on application date, time, and preference.
To be considered an eligible applicant, you must meet HUD-established income limits and pass a criminal background check.
For additional program information, please call 203-977-1400 ext. 3304.
What are my responsibilities as a voucher holder?
What changes must I report to the HCV Department between annual reexaminations?
Increase in Income
- Families must report all increases in income and assets, including income from new sources. (This includes but is not limited to seasonal, temporary, part-time work and earnings during training/probation work.)
- Increased tenant rent is effective on the first of the month, following a 30 day notice.
- If the family does not report an increase in income and/or fails to schedule an interim reexamination and provide our office with the necessary documents, reimbursement to COC may be required and/or participation may be terminated.
Decrease in Income
- Families may report a decrease in income and other changes which would reduce the amount of tenant rent, such as an increase in allowances or deductions.
- COC must calculate the change if a decrease in income is reported.
- Decreased tenant rent is effective the first month, following from when the change is reported.
- If the family does not report the decrease in income and/or fails to schedule an interim reexamination and provide our office with the necessary documents, the decrease will not be retroactive.
Family Composition Changes
- Families must report all changes in household composition to COC, including additions in household composition due to birth, adoption and court-awarded custody.
- The family must obtain COC approval prior to all other additions to the household.
- When removing someone from the lease, the family must provide proof of their new address.
Absence from the Household
- Household members must notify COC if they are going to be absent from the unit for more than 30 consecutive days.
- Any member of the household will be considered permanently absent if he/she is away from the unit for 3 consecutive months or 90 calendar days in a 12 month period.
When should I report the changes to the Section 8 Department?
All changes must be reported to COC, in writing, within 10 calendar days of when the change occurs. The family must also schedule an interim reexamination appointment and provide COC with any information, documents, or signatures needed from all household members which are needed to verify the changes within 30 days of the change.
Who do I contact in the HCV office to report changes, schedule an appointment, or receive general information regarding my participation in the program?
If you are a current participant in the HCV program whose voucher is administered by COC or if you are a property owner of a current program participant, you may contact the specialist assigned to your case using this directory. Each HCV Specialist is assigned an alphabetical caseload by participant’s last name.
How much does HCV pay for each unit?
The amount of subsidy HCV pays per unit varies and is determined by several factors including the payment standards, families’ income, the families’ allowable deductions, contract rent, and utility allowances.
Annually, COC establishes new payment standards which are used to determine rental subsidy based on the Fair Market Rents (FMRs).
What are the current COC payment standards?
Effective 10/2021 the current payment standards are:
- 0 Bedroom-$1,672
- 1 Bedroom-$2,040
- 2 Bedrooms-$2,453
- 3 Bedrooms-$3,032
- 4 Bedrooms-$3,361
Payment standards are not used to determine rent, instead they are used to determine subsidy. Rents must be reasonable as determined by COC, and may be higher or lower than, or equal to the payment standards.
Payment standards are updated annually.
Will the family have to move out of the unit if the contract rent exceeds the payment standard?
No, the family will not have to move during their annual recertification if the contract rent exceeds the payment standard. However, if the contract rent and utility expenses exceed the payment standards, there may be an increase in the tenant rental portion.
What are Fair Market Rents (FMRs) and how are they used to set payment standards in the HCV program?
Each year, HUD surveys rents and units to determine the value of rental units by bedroom size and amenities. This data is used to create guidance for voucher administrators on how much they can spend on rental units in their cities called Fair Market Rents (FMRs).
FMRs are gross rent estimates, which include the cost of rent plus the cost of all utilities. FMRs are used to establish the payment standard, which is the maximum allowable subsidy amount to calculate Housing Assistance Payments (HAP). Payment standards may be set at any level between 90% and 110% of the published FMR for that unit size (24 CFR 982.503(b)). COCs’ payment standards are set at 110% of the FMRs.
Can a landlord increase or decrease the contract rent?
After the initial 12 month HAP contract ends, a landlord may request a rent increase. All rent increases must be submitted to the tenant with a copy to the HCV office and a 60-day written notice of the proposed rental increase date. All rental increases are subject to rental reasonableness. Landlords may also decrease the contract rent to prevent the family from paying a higher tenant rental portion as a result of the decreased payment standards or to prevent the family from moving as a result of the decreased payment standards.
How is rent approved or determined “reasonable”?
HUD mandates that property owners not charge more for subsidized units than they would for comparable unsubsidized units.
Rent reasonableness is determined on a case-by-case basis. COC compares proposed rents to the unsubsidized rents currently charged for similar sized units within the same building, or by other landlords for comparable units within the vicinity. COC will take into consideration size, location, quality, amenities, housing services, age of unit, unit type, maintenance, and utilities.
COC utilizes https://affordablehousing.com/, a web-based tool, to complete rent reasonableness determinations in compliance with HUD regulations.
Does Section 8 provide assistance with moving expenses and security deposit?
The HCV program does not provide assistance with moving expenses and security deposit.