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HUD Focuses on Landlord Participation in the Voucher Program

Arlene Conn, PHADA Policy Analyst

In August of 2018, HUD began to plan a series of events to address problems with landlord participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. Participation has a serious impact on the ability of program participants to find homes in the private rental market utilizing their vouchers. This was partly a result of HUD learning that the number of landlords participating in the program declined by 62,000, from 704,000 to 642,000 between 2009 to 2016.

HUD also commissioned two studies from the Urban Institute and Johns Hopkins to examine varying voucher acceptance and denial rates by property owners in selected cities as well as the reasons for low landlord participation rates in the HCV program nationwide.

Consequently, HUD Secretary Ben Carson established HUD’s Landlord Task Force and announced seven listening sessions across the country to hear directly from landlords on ways to increase their participation in the program. HUD just released its summary of these listening sessions conducted from September through October of 2018 in the following cities: Washington, DC, Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Salem (OR), and Salt Lake City. On the positive side, HUD found that landlords who participate in the HCV program were motivated by wanting to help people, positive experiences with HCV tenants and HAs, receiving a stable, reliable source of rental income, and longer-term tenancies. On the negative side, major concerns cited by landlords included a perceived lack of support from HA staff, delays in the move-in and inspection processes, tenant damages and inadequate SAFMRs and FMRs.

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