Housing FAQ

General Questions and Answers

Q: What is the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program?
A: The U.S Housing Act of 1937 provides for housing assistance to low-income families, disabled or handicapped persons. Section 8 is a free choice housing program that provides free choice for tenants as well as landlords.

Q: What is meant by free choice for landlords?
A: Owners retain their private property rights, including choice of tenants through screening.

Q: What are the benefits to owners/landlords who lease to Section 8 clients?
A: Both owners/landlords and tenants can terminate the lease with a 30 day written notice, assuming both parties are agreeable. Owners/Landlords with existing tenants qualifying for the program can, in most cases, continue their relationships with their good tenants. Housing's Customer Service Representatives assist with tenant/landlord problems, when possible. Longview Housing Authority works with strict program regulations governing clients receiving Housing Assistance.

Q: What types of Housing are eligible?
A: Most types of rental housing are eligible for Section 8 including the following: single family homes, apartments and duplexes and mobile homes. However, prior to admission to the program, all units must be inspected by Longview Housing Authority to determine if the unit is sanitary according to HUD's HQS and City Code and units must be determined to be Rent Reasonable by Longview Housing.

Q: How much rent do the participants pay?
A: A family's contribution is usually 30 - 40% of their monthly adjusted income.

Q: What are Housing Quality Standards (HQS)?
A: Housing Quality Standards (HQS) are determined specifically for Section 8 to assure that each housing unit on the program meets minimum standards and is in decent, safe and sanitary condition. Each unit approved, with the exception of congregate facilities, must have a private bath and have kitchen facilities where food can be prepared. Each unit must also have adequate bedroom space for the size family wanting to rent the unit. Section 8 guidelines mandate no more than two persons per bedroom. Families in overcrowded units cannot be assisted. The Housing Inspector will also check the unit for any repairs needed, which must be completed prior to placing the unit on the program.

Q: Does the Housing Program help people who qualify find housing?
A: Section 8 is designed so that the individual is responsible for finding their own housing unit. Longview Housing does not have the resources to act as a property locater. However, there is assistance available for the elderly and handicapped that are unable to find housing. Longview Housing does assist its clients by posting information provided by
owners/landlords on available rental properties; however it is ultimately the tenant's responsibility to locate suitable housing.

Q: Where do I apply for Section 8 Rental Assistance and how do I know if I am eligible?
A: Longview Housing Office is located at 1202 N. Sixth St., Longview, TX. The office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday and the office is closed for lunch from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30p.m.. When the waiting list is open, applications will be available and completed online. Applicants must have a total family income that does not exceed the "low-income" category of HUD Income Limits.

General Questions and Answers for Current HCV Participants and Landlords

Q: I have a change in income or a change in household members, what should I do?
A: Income changes and household members can be reported in Assistance Check. You may also submit your request or report your change in person at the housing office. Be very specific when reporting your change and supporting documentation must also be submitted. All changes must be reported within 10 business days.

Q: I received a termination notice. What should I do?

A: Email, fax 903-237-1254, mail Housing, P.O. Box 1952, 75606, or drop off 1202 N. Sixth St. a written request to appeal the termination. Briefly explain why you think the termination should not take place. If the termination notice was because you did not send in documents (ex: signed forms or check stubs for your recertification)
or take an action (ex: correct fail items in your unit after an inspection), be sure to send in the missing documents or correct the failed item(s) in your unit and include that information with your appeal. An Informal Hearing will be scheduled upon receipt of your request.

Q: My unit failed inspection. Do I have to move?
A: When your unit fails inspection, you may not have to move. The tenant and landlord have time (generally 30 days) to correct any items that have failed inspection. When fail items are not corrected and the unit fails a second inspection, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and/or Utility Allowance Payment (UAP) will be abated (stopped) until the unit passes inspection. Routine repairs must be complete within 30 days and emergency repairs, deficiencies that pose a threat to health or safety, must be completed within 24 hours. Re-inspections are not scheduled until LHA receives written notice from the landlord and the family verifying that all repairs have been completed.

Tenants who have outstanding fail items are not eligible to move; however, if the landlord fails to correct the fail items, the tenant is eligible to move. When the HAP is abated (stopped) and the landlord does not make repairs, the tenant must move to another unit to remain in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Abated payments will not be paid once the unit passes inspection.

Q: My landlord will not fix things, what should I do?
Send your landlord a written communication with a list of the items that need to be repaired and a deadline to complete the repairs. Be specific about the repairs and be realistic with the deadline. Submit a copy of this written communication to LHA. If the landlord does not make the repairs or respond to your request, notify LHA and a special inspection can be scheduled.

Q: I just bought the property, and there are HCV tenants living in the unit. How do I get paid?
A: Contact the LHA for a change of ownership packet. You will need to submit the completed forms and provide proof that you are the new owner of the property, such as a deed or title insurance. Click here to view the Landlord Handbook.

Q: I need another copy of my 1099.

A: Log onto your Assistance Check account to view and print your 1099.

Q: I pay my rent in cash, why do I need a receipt?

A: It is a good idea and in your best interest to always request a receipt or use a money order to pay your rent so you can show that you are paying your portion of the rent.

Q: I am having trouble paying my utilities.
A: Contact your utility provider to see if you can get on a payment plan or get other assistance. The Greater East Texas Community Action Program (GETCAP) provides a one-time benefit to eligible households for use towards energy costs. The monetary assistance is based on four criteria: income, household size, fuel type and geographic location. Apply through GETCAP at 409 N. Fredonia St., Longview, TX or by calling 903-758-5674.

Q: When can I move?
A: You can move around the time that your lease ends. Submit your request to LHA 30 days prior to the expiration of your lease. Your landlord must sign an intent to vacate (30-Day Notice) or provide documentation that you have notified your landlord of your intent to move. Upon receiving your signed 30-Day Notice, you will be scheduled for a Moving Briefing. Please be aware that some landlords require a 60-Day Notice. Please refer to your lease prior to contacting LHA.

Q: My tenant is not paying rent/damaging property – what can I do?
A: You should enforce your lease the same way you would with a market rate tenant. It is a good idea to document any issues with tenants through written notices sent to the tenant and a copy sent to the LHA. If the tenant’s violations are serious or repeated, you may want to consider evicting the tenant.

Q: My cousin is on parole, can she give her parole officer my address?
A: No one can move into your unit without prior approval from the LHA and your landlord. Having a criminal background does not necessarily make someone ineligible for housing assistance, however, contact LHA to find out if your cousin is eligible to move into your household. Do not allow your cousin to move into your unit or use your address without LHA approval and do not allow anyone to use your address who does not live in the unit.