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Chicago Property Management Blog

Understanding the Move-in Process of Section 8 Tenants

So, you've approved a Section 8 tenant, and now it's time to go through the move-in process. Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it may seem at first. We will break down the process step by step.

The first thing you need to do is fill out the Request for Tenancy Approval paperwork. The Section 8 participant will provide you with a copy of their moving papers, which are divided into two sections. The first one collects information about the property you'll be renting, including details about the utilities and any disclosure regarding lead-based paint. Both the participant and the landlord or Property Management company need to sign this section.

The second section is specifically for the owner. Here, they need to provide proof of ownership, agree to Section 8's terms, and provide any additional information requested by the Housing Authority. In this section, the owner also authorizes the Property Management company to receive payments and manage inspections on their behalf.

Once the Request for Tenancy Approval is submitted, the Housing Authority will review it within 5 to 7 business days. If everything looks good, they will schedule an inspection of the property. An authorized inspector will visit the property to ensure it meets the Housing Quality Standards. During the inspection, any deficiencies that need to be addressed will be noted and the landlord will have another attempt at passing the inspection.

After the inspection has been passed and any required repairs or improvements have been made, the Housing Authority will provide a rent determination within the next 5 business days. This rent offer is based on your asking rent and a market rent analysis conducted by the Housing Authority. The offered amount may be lower if your asking rent is above market rates or if the tenant is responsible for most utilities.

Once you have received and accepted the rent determination, the Housing Authority will ask you to sign a Housing Assistance Payment Contract. This contract formalizes the agreement between you and the Housing Authority. You will need to return the signed contract along with a copy of the lease.

It's important to note that different Housing Authorities may have preferences regarding move-in dates. For example, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) accepts move-in dates for any day of the month except the first. On the other hand, the Housing Authority of Cook County prefers all leases to start on the first of the month. Be sure to check with your specific Housing Authority to know their preferred move-in dates.

To summarize, the process of moving in as a Section 8 tenant involves filling out the Request for Tenancy Approval paperwork, undergoing an inspection of the property, receiving a rent determination, and signing the Housing Assistance Payment Contract. Each step has its own timeline, so it's important to be patient and follow the instructions provided by your Housing Authority. Better yet, you can rely on an experienced Property Management firm to guide you and ensure a smooth move-in process. 

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