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Applying for Rental Housing 

The information below provides applicants with the owner and/or property manager requirements and considerations of the application process for rental housing that receives funding assistance from SHRA.

The following information is available on this page.

Find a Place to Rent

Credit and Background Check
Waiting List
Income Eligibility
Income Limits by Category
Rent Limits
Affordable Housing Rent Limits
Affordable Housing Utility Allowance Schedule
Housing Choice Voucher Program Restrictions

Find a place to Rent

HCV (Section 8) Listings

This list contains rental housing where owners are willing to accept Housing Choice Vouchers.

Affordable Rental Listings

This list contains affordable multifamily rental projects to which the Agency has provided some form of financial assistance. The list indicates the number of units in the project, the number of units that are assisted or affordable, and the number of ADA units.


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Credit and Background Check

When screening applicants for housing, property owners or landlords will need to review a renter’s credit and background history. Owners or landlords may use some or all of the following screening criteria to determine if an applicant qualifies for housing:
  • Information on a credit profile
  • Rental history and/or eviction
  • Present rental information
  • Previous rental information
  • Banking information
  • Source of income
  • Length of time on the job
  • Monthly income and rent to income ratio
  • Criminal background check
There are three primary credit reporting agencies that owners or landlords may contact for information about an applicant’s credit history.
 
Trans Union
Experian
Equifax
P.O. Box 1000
P.O. Box 2002
P.O. Box 740241
Chester, PA 19022
Allen, TX 75013
Atlanta, GA 30374
(800) 888-4213
(888) 397-3742
(800) 685-1111
www.equifax.com      

 
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Waiting List

Most of the affordable rental housing projects have a wait list of pre-qualified individuals that have applied for housing that is not currently available. The owners must follow tenant selection procedures when maintaining the wait lists. Specifically, the owners must: 
  • Select tenants from a written waiting list in the chronological (date and time) of their application.
  • Give prompt written notification to any rejected applicant of the grounds for rejection. 
Wait lists may be extremely long and pre-applicants wait for long periods of time before being contacted for housing. However, many times people on the list move and leave no forwarding address, or have found other housing. Therefore, it is advisable that applicants apply for the list and make sure that they can be contacted when a vacancy occurs. Some important factors to be aware of regarding wait list procedures are as follows:
 
When inquiring about vacancies, applicants may wish to ask the following questions: 
  • Can I apply for your wait list?
  • How many people will be ahead of me on the list?
  • Can you give me an average time-period based on your turnover history?
  • Do you have a wait list by bedroom sizes?
Owners are required to update their waiting lists at least annually. This process involves the owners sending notices to the applicants on the list requesting them to return the notice if the applicants wish to remain on the list. Some owners use a telephone call to complete this process. If applicants do not return the notices or respond to the call, they are dropped from list.
 
In order to apply for the list, some owners may take a complete application (including credit check) and pre-qualify the applicant, while other owners may have the applicant complete only a preliminary questionnaire and put them on the list based on that information. Keep in mind that if this information changes or is inaccurate, it may affect the applicant's chances of obtaining housing.
 

Income Eligibility

All tenants residing in the Agency's affordable housing units must meet certain income limit requirements. These requirements specify the maximum amount of annual income the applicant can earn to qualify for the rent restricted unit. The requirements vary depending on the property owner’s loan program and the regulated targeted income level.
 
The three primary income categories are Very-low, Low, and Moderate income. Each income category is based on the median income levels established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In some instances, income categories may be based on the actual median income level. For example, 0-50% of the median is very-low; 51-60% of the median is low; and 61-80% of the median is moderate income.
 
For each income category, the median income level represents the maximum annual income that a household can earn in order to qualify for affordable housing.

Table A below shows each income level by category and per number of family members.

TABLE A
2014 SHRA AFFORDABLE HOUSING INCOME LIMITS
(Maximum Income Limit varies per property)
 
SHRA Income and Rent Limit Table (Current as of May 01, 2014)
  
Owners are required to verify the annual incomes of all applicants prior to move-in. All household members 18 years of age or older must submit income verification documents that clearly specify the rate of pay, the number of hours worked per week, and how often paid. Applicants may also be asked to provide pay-stubs, tax returns, Social Security print outs, or public assistance payment notices. In all instances, the income verification documents must be dated within 90 days of the move-in date. Annual income calculations are based on the gross income, instead of the net (after-tax) income. All overtime, bonuses, tips, and income generated from assets are also included in the income calculation. Household members 18 years of age or older that state no income are required to sign a "Statement of No Income" form.
 
Tenants are required to re-submit income verification documents to recertify their low-income status annually. If a tenant's income has increased so that it no longer meets the income guidelines, the tenant may stay in the unit but the rental rate will be adjusted to a market rent.
 

Rent Limits

As with the median income limits, HUD also establishes affordable housing rents for Sacramento County. The affordable rents are published around March of each year. Affordable housing rents should not be confused with the published fair market rents, which are used to determine rent subsidies for Housing Choice Voucher and certificate holders.
 
At times, there are slight variations in the maximum rent amounts between housing projects depending on the source of funds used to finance the apartment complex; however, for the most part they are consistent. A general rule that has been established throughout government subsidized affordable housing programs is that if there are multiple government funding sources in a housing project, the most restrictive rent rule will apply towards the low-income housing units.
 
A tenant's rent is based on their income level and the category under which it falls (very-low, low or moderate). For instance, a very-low income tenant will pay a 50% or very-low rent rate, while a moderate income tenant will pay an 80% or moderate rent rate. Situations can occur where there are no vacancies in the very-low income units, but there are vacancies in the low-income units. When this occurs, the applicant may move into the low-income unit and apply for the very-low income wait list. Remember that an applicant can qualify for any income category as long as they do not exceed the maximum income amounts.
 
Table B lists the general rent limits for the Agency’s affordable housing projects. These rents are not project specific because utility allowances vary for each project.
 
Table C shows the Utility Allowance Schedule to be used for the following funding programs:
1. Home Investment Partnership Program – HOME
2. Housing Trust Funds (City and County) – HTF
3. Tax Increment Program – TI
4. Community Development Block Grant Program – CDBG
5. Multi-Family Revenue Bond Program – BOND
6. Tax Credit Allocation Committee – TCAC
7. Inclusionary Housing Program
 

TABLE B
2014 SHRA AFFORDABLE HOUSING RENT LIMITS (EXAMPLE)
(Current as of May 01, 2014)
Maximum Rents less Utility Allowance (varies per property)
 
Very-Low Rents (50% of the median)

Bedrooms

Gross Rent

Utility Allowance

Net Rent

Studio

601

53

548

1 bedroom

644

71

573

2 bedroom

773

88

685

3 bedroom

893

105

788

4 bedroom

996

138

858

5 bedroom

1,099

166

933


Note: Gross Rent - Utility Allowance = Net Rent
 
Low Rents (60% of the median)

Bedrooms

Gross Rent

Utility Allowance

Net Rent

Studio

721

53

668

1 bedroom

773

71

702

2 bedroom

928

88

840

3 bedroom

1,071

105

966

4 bedroom

1,195

138

1,057

5 bedroom

1,319

166

1,153


Note: Gross Rent - Utility Allowance = Net Rent
 
Moderate Income Rents (80% of median)

Bedrooms

Gross Rent

Utility Allowance

Net Rent

Studio

963

53

910

1 bedroom

1,032

71

961

2 bedroom

1,238

88

1,150

3 bedroom

1,431

105

1,326

4 bedroom

1,597

138

1,459

5 bedroom

1,762

166

1,596


Note: Gross Rent - Utility Allowance = Net Rent
 

TABLE C
2014 SHRA AFFORDABLE HOUSING UTILITY ALLOWANCE SCHEDULE
 
 
As long as the rents do not exceed the maximum, property managers may implement a rent increase with a 30-day notice. However, if a tenant has a lease, the rent may not be raised during the lease period.
In order to qualify to apply for housing, most owners and property management companies require that the applicant has an income that is two to three times the amount of the contract rent.
The specific rent rates for each project are provided in the Rental List.
 

Housing Choice Voucher Program Restrictions

All projects funded with Agency loans must accept Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8) or certificate holders. The owner has the right to refuse a voucher or certificate holder only on the basis that the applicant does not meet the tenant screening criteria.