PORTLAND, Ore. – February 19, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — The Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) is launching the Section 8 Landlord Guarantee Fund, an innovative pilot initiative to improve access to housing for Section 8 voucher holders.
The Landlord Guarantee Fund is an incentive for landlords to rent to Section 8 voucher holders. The fund acts as a safety net for the first two years of tenancy when there is more than $1,000 in eligible damage to a unit beyond normal wear and tear.
“We have been working to improve the rental success rate of Section 8 voucher holders. Through meetings with landlords, we looked for ways to give landlords support and confidence in renting to low-income households. We learned that a fund to cover damage to units may increase landlord willingness to participate in the program,” said Steve Rudman, HAP executive director.
Starting March 1, the Landlord Guarantee Fund will be available to a limited number of families issued a voucher this year. Participating voucher-holders will receive a certificate with complete details of the program to be presented to the landlord. Upon a tenant’s departure from a unit, HAP may compensate the landlord for eligible damages beyond normal wear and tear, up to a maximum of the value of two months rent. HAP will only compensate when there is at least $1000 damage to the unit, and will require families to repay any amount paid to a landlord under the fund.
Staff will track whether these voucher holders lease up more successfully and how many new landlords choose to come in to the program. Results will be evaluated at the end of the year. If the program shows promise in improving rental rates for voucher-holders, it may be expanded in 2010.
“This is a creative solution to a challenging problem,” said Rudman, “and one we hope will help both renters and landlords be successful in the Section 8 program.”
About the Housing Authority of Portland
The Housing Authority of Portland is a public corporation serving all Multnomah County. HAP provides housing and housing-related services to those who face barriers due to income, disability or special need. HAP’s housing and rent assistance programs serve 14,000 households throughout the county. A citizen commission with volunteer members recommended by the City of Portland, the City of Gresham, and Multnomah County and appointed by the Mayor of Portland governs HAP.