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Landlord FAQs

  • Landlord FAQs

1. Who is the housing specialist assigned to my tenant?
You may determine who the Housing Specialist is by going to to find the listing of all Section 8 staff.

2. How do I list my property with your program?
To list your property with the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC), you can visit DHC’s Assisted Housing Division office located at 2211 Orleans, Detroit, Michigan 48207.  There, we can provide you with the necessary information in order to list your property.

3. How does the Housing Choice Voucher Program work?
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) is a federally funded program designed to help eligible low-income persons, the elderly, and persons with disabilities to reside in safe, decent and affordable housing.

In the program, there are three bi-party contracts. The first contract agreement is between the program participant and the Housing Authority. This contract is issued to the program participant once they are determined eligible to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program. This contract agreement is called the Housing Voucher.

The second agreement is the lease agreement between the program participant and the landlord. The program participant will be required to sign the landlord’s lease agreement before they can move into your rental unit.

The third agreement is between the Housing Authority and the Landlord or property owner. This agreement is called the Housing Voucher Contract.

The Voucher holder seeks housing of their choice and requests the landlord to accept them as a tenant.

If the landlord agrees to accept the voucher holder, the landlord and the voucher holder complete the “Request for Tenancy Approval” form and submit the completed form to the Housing Authority.

The Housing Authority will review the Request for Tenancy Approval, and arrange with the Landlord to inspect the dwelling unit to determine if it meets program standards and to determine if the rent is reasonable.

Following Housing Authority approval of the dwelling unit, the landlord and the tenant will sign the landlord’s lease. The landlord and the Housing Authority sign a Housing Voucher Contract. This contract identifies the amount of total rent, the amount of tenant rent and the amount of rent to be paid by the Housing Authority. After the final contract is signed, the Housing Authority authorizes the tenant to move into the dwelling unit.

The tenant is required to pay the authorized amount of tenant rent to the landlord monthly and the Housing Authority makes its monthly rental assistance payments directly to the owner

4. What are the benefits of the program?
The Detroit Housing Commission guarantees owners a portion of the rent through the participant's rental assistance. The intent of the program is to lessen the burden on the family’s budget for housing costs, helping them afford their rental payment. This results in more consistent, timely and full payments to owners. Additionally, periodic inspections of the unit help to alert owners of required and/or recommended repairs.

5. What is the purpose of the inspection?
The Housing Quality Standards (HQS) were developed to ensure that housing assisted through the program is “decent, safe and sanitary”. The unit is re-inspected annually. A unit must be inspected by the AHA to ensure the unit meets Federal HQS and document the condition of the unit at the time assistance begins.

6. What if the unit “fails” inspection?
Under Federal regulations, a unit either “passes” or “fails”. Any item that does not meet the standards will cause the unit to fail. The owner will be notified in writing if the unit fails, and what repairs are required in order for the unit to pass the HQS inspection the owner determines whether he/she is willing to make the repairs and informs the tenant and the DHC of this decision. If the owner elects not to make the repairs, the family must choose another unit to receive assistance. If the owner elects to make repairs, the DHC MUST be notified of repair completions, and the unit will be re-inspected. The assistance cannot begin, nor is the contract effective until ALL of the following items have been completed:
1. The unit passes the HQS inspection.
2. The lease and contract have been approved by the DHC.
3. The participant has possession of the unit.

7. What are some of the most “common” fail items?

Disabled or missing smoke detectors:

  • Must be operable at all times.
  • Must be located on each level of a dwelling
  • Must be installed in an approved location and meet applicable code


  • The refrigerator must be in serviceable condition, plugged in and cooling.
  • All top burners on range (either gas or electric) must ignite by use of control knobs.
  • All burner control knobs must be in place and work properly.
  • Oven door handle must be in place and the door must close properly.

Windows must be reasonably weather tight and safe to operate.

  • All damaged or broken glass must be replaced. Small corner cracks can be repaired, typically with silicone type sealant.
  • All first-floor windows and any other readily accessible windows must lock securely.
  • A minimum number of screens for adequate ventilation must be provided.


  • Either an open able window or a mechanical exhaust fan must provide bathroom ventilation.
  • Toilets should be securely fastened to the floor.

Floor coverings:

  • No holes, tears, or loose edges that could cause a tripping hazard or an unsanitary condition.

Electrical equipment and devices:

  • All outlets and switches must have proper cover plates.
  • All electrical boxes must have proper covers.
  • Main fuse or breaker panels must not have any accessible electrically live parts.
  • Light fixtures must be secure with no hanging or exposed wiring or accessible electrically live parts.

Doors – knobs and locks:

  • All doors should have functioning latches, knobs and handles.
  • All exterior doors must be securely lockable.

Mechanical Equipment:

  • Must meet applicable codes.
  • Temperature Pressure Relief valves for water heaters must be in place and have full-sized discharge pipes extending to an approved location.


  • Systems must be free of leaks, have all needed traps, and comply with applicable code.


  • The dwelling must be free of serious vermin or rodent infestation

8. How much rent can an owner charge for his/her unit?
With the Housing Choice Voucher Program, a unit’s contract must be within the bounds of being both reasonable and affordable. Rent Reasonableness is based on HUD guidelines and is documented by comparable rents for units of same size, type and location.

9. How do I request a rental increase on my property?
You may request a rental increase annually within 60 days of your tenant’s anniversary lease date. The inspection department will review your request and notify you if your request is approved or denied.

10. How do I evict my tenant? It is the responsibility of the landlord to evict your tenant by complying with the terms of your lease that govern the eviction process. The eviction process must comply with applicable federal, State and Local laws. If you evict or plan to evict a program participant, you are required to notify the Detroit Housing Commission of the eviction action prior to doing so.

11. What are examples of program abuse or fraud?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Detroit Housing Commission are concerned about program abuse. Incidences of program abuse and fraud include; willful and intentional misrepresentations or intent to deceive with regard to a federal program are criminal acts that will lead to cancellation of program participation and legal actions resulting in fines and/or imprisonment. Another example of program abuse is when a landlord requires a tenant to make “extra” payments not listed or approved in the contract. An example of an “Extra” payment would include requiring the tenant to pay $50 to supplement the contract amount. Additionally, a program participant cannot ask the landlord to approve the contract rent amount and then offer to pay the landlord an extra amount of rent not included in the lease and contract.

12. What do I do if a program participant asks me to commit fraud or program abuse?
If a program participant asks you to engage in unlawful or unethical activity, please contact DHC

13. What type of housing unit can be rented by the family?
The following types of housing can be rented by the family:
Single-Family Homes
Mobile homes

14. Is an owner required to participate in the HCV program?
No. However, Federal, State, and Local Laws prohibit housing discrimination based on race, color, creed, sex, national origin, source of income, marital status, and/or disability.

15. What should an owner do if a tenant seriously and/or repeatedly violates the provisions of the lease?
Owners, property managers/agents (landlords) are responsible to address lease violations committed by HCV program participants in the same manner as unassisted tenants and in accordance with applicable laws. The lease is between the tenant and the owner. Only the owner or his/her agent is legally able of enforcing the owner’s lease.

The DHC advises the owner to notify the family “in writing” of any lease violations and provide the family with reasonable and appropriate due process. If the family repeatedly violates the lease, the landlord is strongly encouraged to enforce the lease to the full extent of the law and in accordance with the appropriate legal process. The landlord is also encouraged to contact and inform the DHC of the problem. In certain circumstances, such as when the family allows an unauthorized person to reside in the unit, the violation of the lease may also be a direct violation of the family’s contract with the DHC. Landlords are encouraged to contact the DHC to report allegations of program abuse or possible fraud.

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