Landlord FAQ

Landlord FAQ
What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) is a federally funded, locally administered rental assistance program that helps low-income families, the elderly and the disabled afford decent, safe housing in the private market. The participant is free to choose any housing type that meets the requirements of the program. CMHA receives funds from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the HCVP program in Cuyahoga County.
How do I qualify as an HCVP Landlord?
No application process is required. To become a landlord with CMHA’s Housing Choice Voucher program, please follow the steps listed on the Leasing with CMHA webpage.
How do I list my unit for rent?
CMHA has partnered with or to provide free listing options for owners and landlords. You may also wish to advertise your property through a newspaper or alternative source. If so, please place in your ad that "vouchers are welcome."
What are the Landlord/Managing Agent's obligations?
  • Screen families and lease the unit 
  • Collect family share of rent, security deposit and other charges (e.g., damage to the unit)
  • Comply with HAP contract, lease and tenancy addendum 
  • Comply with Fair Housing, landlord and tenant laws 
  • Ensure property taxes are current and property is not in foreclosure
  • Maintain unit compliance with Housing Quality Standards
  • Maintain current Certificate of Occupancy and/or Rental Registration (if required by city)
  • Enforce lease
What are the Family's (tenant) obligations?
  • Pay rent and family-supplied utilities according to lease
  • Recertify income and family size each year with CMHA
  • Communicate with property owner and CMHA
  • Comply with HCV Program rules and regulations, and the terms of the Lease and Tenancy Addendum
  • Allow CMHA and the property owner to inspect the unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice
  • Maintain unit, ensure unit is in safe and sanitary condition
How do I request a rent increase?

Rent Adjustment and Utility Revision requests are submitted via email to

Rent adjustment requests are processed in the order in which they are received. The following criteria must be met in order for the process to begin:

  • All requests must be signed by the landlord and tenant upon submission.
  • The HAP contract must be at least one year old
  • There must be a passed annual inspection within 12 months of the rent adjustment effective date
  • It must be at least 12 months since the last rent adjustment was approved
  • The requested amount must deemed rent reasonable
I requested a rent increase. When will it be effective?
If all the conditions are met, the proposed effective date would be the 1st of the month after 60 days of receiving the request.  A Proposed Lease Addendum (PLA) would be sent out to the owner for their or the tenant’s signature if the approved contract rent is less than the requested contract rent or there is a negative impact (increased tenant portion or decreased utility reimbursement) on the tenant. This PLA is sent electronically to the email account provided.  An outstanding inspection of the unit could change the proposed effective date to a later date if an adjustment is approved.
Can my tenant pay the extra rent to make up the amount I want for my unit?
The requested contract rent must be approved by the CMHA. Families may not pay a rent share greater than the amount determined by the CMHA. Side deals between the landlord and family are illegal and could result in the family being terminated and the landlord disbarred, suspended or subject to a limited denial of participation.
How can I help my unit pass the inspection the first time?
Basic Housing Quality Standard requirements can be found in the HUD HQS Inspection Checklist.
Why was my rent or unit abated (or stopped)?
Rent is abated when the unit fails to pass on two consecutive inspections. If a payment is abated, the family is still responsible for their portion of the rent, only. If a unit is abated, HAP payments will not resume until the repairs are made. Furthermore, there will be no retroactive payments for the period of time that the unit was in abatement for noncompliance with Housing Quality Standards. If a unit is in abatement for more than 30 days, the HAP Contract may be terminated. To help ensure your unit passes the first time, review the inspection checklist.
I want to evict my tenant. What do I have to do?
HCVP cannot give legal advice. We recommend you seek the advice of an attorney. If the unit is in the City of Cleveland, you may contact a Cleveland Housing Court Specialist with your questions. The telephone numbers of Housing Court Specialists are: (216) 664-6104, (216) 664-6143 and (216) 664-6929. Landlords and tenants are required to give HCVP a copy of any eviction notice.

Ohio law requires the landlord not receive payment during the eviction process. Upon request from a landlord, HCVP will put HAP payments on hold until we are notified by the landlord that the eviction process is complete. If the tenant remains in the unit during the eviction process, and the unit is not in abatement, the landlord may receive all withheld HAP payments, whether or not the landlord won or lost the eviction. HCVP requests copies of “for-cause” court judgments from landlords so that the tenant can be proposed for termination.
How can I get paid for tenant caused damaged?
HCVP does not pay for tenant caused damages. Landlords should bill tenants directly (if the tenant still resides in the unit) or take the amount from the security deposit (if the tenant has moved). If the security deposit is insufficient, we recommend the landlord pursue the tenant in court.

If, as a result of court action, there is a “for-cause” judgment, the landlord should provide HCVP with a copy so the tenant can be held responsible.
I recently purchased a property that has an active HCVP HAP contract? What should I do?
All owners who purchase property with existing HCVP tenants should complete and submit the Change of Ownership packet. The new owner will begin receiving payments when the packet has been completed and processed.
HAP Payment FAQs
When will I receive my payment?
If it is a new contract, you will be paid on the next scheduled payment date after HCVP has received three copies of the signed contracts, the executed lease and occupancy permit, when applicable. HCVP will not pay subsidy before the contract terms have been agreed upon. If the owner permits the tenant to move into the unit, the tenant will be responsible for the full amount of the rent and HCVP will not pay the back amount retroactively.

If the unit was in abatement and recently passed inspection, you will be paid on the next scheduled payment date. Payment dates are generally on the 3rd and 16th of each month. There is no retroactive payment for the time a unit was in abatement.
The tenant has been in the unit, and I have not received payment. Why?
Payment cannot be made prior to the unit having passed inspection. After the passed inspection, HCVP will make a rent offer to the landlord, and if the landlord accepts, contracts are prepared for signature. Payment on the signed contract will be made at the next scheduled payment date.
The contract has been cancelled, but the tenant is still living in my unit. Can I get paid?
Participants are responsible for all rent once the contract is cancelled.
I did not receive a payment this month. Why not?
There could be several reasons why you did not receive a payment this month. If the unit is in abatement (two failed inspections) payments are stopped until repairs are made, and the unit passes an inspection. If this is a new contract, the signed contracts may have been returned too late to be included in a payment run. You will be paid on the next payment date. If your tenant has had a recent re-exam, his/her income may have increased to a level where he/she is no longer eligible for HCVP assistance. If this is the case, you will receive a letter from the HCVP office regarding the changes.
Why was money deducted from my payment?
If you owed HCVP money from a previous tenant, and this is your first HCVP contract since that time, HCVP has deducted the money owed from your new tenant’s contract. If the unit was in abatement, HCVP may be taking back subsidy paid during the abatement period.
Can my HAP payment be direct deposited to my account?
Yes. All owners are required to go on direct deposit to receive HAP payments. To sign-up, complete the Automatic Deposit form and return it, along with a check copy, by mail to HCVP Finance at 8120 Kinsman Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44104.