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Housing Choice Vouchers


Find out how the Housing Choice Voucher program helps you and your community.

Program Details

  • What Is Our Role?
  • How are Vouchers Provided?
  • Why Become an HCV Landlord?

The Housing Choice Voucher program is the federal government’s main program for helping very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled afford decent, safe housing in the private market. It was previously known as Section 8.

The program provides rental assistance payments to qualified landlords on behalf of eligible tenants. These vouchers make up the difference between the full rent and what the tenant’s income enables them to pay.

We administer the HCV program in certain areas throughout Virginia. We distribute vouchers and maintain a plan that outlines the policies, programs and strategies needed to meet local housing needs.

Following a tenant becoming qualified, choosing a place to live and signing a lease, rent payments will be made by Virginia Housing and the tenant. Read more about the process here:

Step 1:

Establishing Fair Market Rents

  • Fair Market Rents (FMRs) establish rent based on number of bedrooms and are designed to protect both landlords and tenants.
  • The HCV program uses FMRs to set voucher payment standards.
  • Our payment standards are set at 110% of the area FMR.

Step 2:

Determining if a family qualifies

  • The applicant’s household income must not exceed the income limit established by HUD for the locality in which they will be initially assisted.

Step 3:

Finding a home

  • HCV program is about choice. Tenants choose where they want to live.

Step 4:

Making a match between landlord and tenant

  • An inspection of the property ensures voucher holders will live in a safe, quality environment.
  • We strongly encourage landlords to conduct the same qualification and screening processes they would for non-voucher holder families.
  • Lease agreements are signed.
  • Landlords may use their own lease agreement.

Step 5:

Paying the rent

  • Rent is paid by Virginia Housing and the tenants who hold vouchers.
  • The program pays the difference between the voucher payment standard and 30% of the participant’s monthly adjusted income (MAI) towards rent and utilities.
  • The participating tenants pay the difference between the rent and the amount subsidized, not to exceed 40% of their MAI at initial lease-up.
  • Rent must be considered reasonable when compared to other similar unassisted units.
  • Utility allowances are used to estimate the cost of tenant-paid utilities and vary based upon the type of housing selected.

HCV program landlords receive financial benefits as well as consistent rent payments and lower vacancy rates. You retain all rights as property owners and can list your property for free at VirginiaHousingSearch.com. For a full list of benefits, visit our page about landlord resources.