Prior to applying to any subsidized housing program, there are certain steps you can take to ensure your application has the best chance of being accepted. This section explains some of these scenarios and provides a guide with resources on how to tackle these issues.
Do you owe money to your ex-landlord?
Offer to work out a repayment plan on paper with your ex-landlord, and be sure to keep receipts of all rent payments. Your landlord can also write a letter stating that a payment plan is in place for your new application.
No fee is required if you are sealing a “non-conviction” - otherwise it is a $50 fee. If you cannot afford the $50, you can fill out an affidavit of indigency.
See the map of resources for where to file this paperwork based on the type of criminal record.
DID YOU KNOW: There are legal clinics that can help you with this process? The Ohio Justice and Policy Center holds several free clinics to assist individuals in this process. Make sure to bring a sheriff’s background check to the meeting.
THE PRE-APPLICATION CHECKLIST
The pre-application process is usually open for a short amount of time. Gathering necessary documents listed in this section prior to the application opening will allow individuals a greater success rate of applying to the wait list. You may need to use public computers at the Main Public Library or go in person to the specific organization that provides the subsidy.
DID YOU KNOW: If your housing application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. If you are denied, you will receive a letter that states the reason for the denial AND the date by which you MUST appeal. You have the right to an informal hearing at either the PHA or the organization. Contact H.O.M.E. for help with the appeal.
Knowing your monthly income and expenses will help you determine how much money you can spend for an affordable rental unit. With any voucher, you will pay in accordance to your income.
Use this budget template to calculate the maximum that you are able to pay.
DID YOU KNOW: Some buildings INCLUDE utilities in rent. If you are responsible for paying your own utilities, your rent should be LOWERED.
THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER
You can only get this voucher from CMHA. Once you have successfully completed your pre-application and you are selected for the wait list, you will participate in a BRIEFING. During this meeting, you will be given your physical 90-day voucher and you must follow the checklist on the next page. Do NOT leave this appointment without the VOUCHER in your hand!
All of these steps must be followed and the documentation must be presented to CMHA.
The annual recertification process occurs every year and verifies family composition and income. Tenants/landlords must verify these two things in order to recalculate the tenant’s TOTAL TENANT PAYMENT (TPP) and the amount of the voucher assistance provided by HUD. There is also a second recertification when income or family composition changes prior to the annual recertification.
DID YOU KNOW: You may be required to recertify before the annual process. Check with your landlord or management company for the exact date.
Does your landlord refuse to repair your home? If you are a tenant in good standing, Ohio law allows you to PAY RENT TO THE COURT instead of a landlord to ensure that they complete the repairs. You must have a written notice to your landlord noting the problems, and they are allowed 30 days to fix this prior to filing the rent escrow with the Clerk of Courts. In some cases, RENT ABATEMENT will also occur from HUD and the voucher payment will also stop until the property passes inspection.
PROTECT YOUR VOUCHER
You must report all income or family composition changes within 10-30 days of its occurrence. Check with your voucher provider to verify the time line. Make sure to keep copies of all the paperwork that you have received and signed. Your landlord CANNOT ask for side payments in order to protect your voucher.
You CANNOT be discriminated against based on age, disability, sexual orientation, etc. You may be required to file out additional paperwork for a specific type of subsidized housing.
Landlords have 30 days after a tenant moves out to return your security deposits. If the landlord breaks these rules, you can file a lawsuit against the landlord and it can be brought to small claims court. It is Ohio Law that if the landlord does not forward your deposit in the time allotted or provide an itemized damage list, you have the right to sue for double the amount if the landlord cannot justify keeping the payments.
TO GET YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT BACK: - Pay all your rent/fees - Clean before you leave - Remove all personal items - Take photographs - Return all keys - Provide forwarding address
Landlords must follow proper protocol based on the Ohio Revised Code. The eviction process must go through the court system. You can appeal your voucher termination within 10 DAYS of the eviction notice.
NOTE: If an eviction is filed, it is permanently ON FILE. When you receive a notice, you should leave before the actual eviction is filed.