by Gina Montes, Deputy Phoenix City Manager
City of Phoenix offers $2,000 Landlord Incentive to Participate in Housing Choice Voucher Program
In February 2022, the Phoenix City Council approved an increase to the Housing Department’s Landlord Incentive Program payment amount from $500 to $2,000 per incentive for landlords who lease to tenants in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program.
Launched in 2020, the Landlord Incentive Program’s initial funding allocation of $500,000 was fully expended in one year. The program paid a total of 1,000 incentives to 405 landlords, of which 127 were first-time HCV landlords. Due to the success of the program, in 2021, City Council allocated $1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to replenish the funds and continue the incentive program.
The HCV Program (often referred to as Section 8) provides assistance to low-income families to afford housing in a range of neighborhoods. Housing can include single-family homes, townhouses and apartments and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing developments. Approximately 7,000 vouchers are administered by the City of Phoenix Housing Department. A family that is issued an HCV is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family’s choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program.
It has become increasingly difficult for voucher holders to find housing opportunities in a challenging rental market. The Landlord Incentive Program was launched to help combat the shrinking number of units and fewer affordable housing opportunities for Phoenix HCV holders. Voucher holders have faced difficulties locating available units or encountering non-renewals due to various factors including stigma of the program, owners selling their properties to private companies no longer interested in leasing to program participants, and/or being outpriced in the skyrocketing rental market.
The program incentivizes Phoenix landlords to make their properties available by offering landlords a one-time $2,000 payment for executing a new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract. The incentive is per unit and a property owner can be eligible for more than one incentive if the owner executes multiple HAP contracts.
The Housing Department pays the rental subsidy on behalf of the participating family directly to the landlord, or a designated payee, each month. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. The tenant share is up to 30 percent of their monthly income. No charges or fees are assessed to owners for services provided under the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Property owners rent to families in the voucher program just as they would rent to families without the benefit of a housing subsidy. The landlord signs a contract with the Housing Department and a lease with the tenant. The landlord relationship with the tenant is virtually like the open market.
Landlords who are interested in learning more about Phoenix’s Housing Choice Voucher Program can find more information on the website: Housing Section 8 Landlords (phoenix.gov)