October 29, 2020

Extension of Program & Two New Incentives Increase Choice for Low-Income Renters

ROCHESTER, N.Y., October 29, 2020 – The Rochester Housing Authority (RHA) announces the extension of their landlord incentive program until July 31, 2021. The program was previously announced in July and was designed to encourage increased landlord participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. HCV is the federal government’s primary program for assisting low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities to afford quality, safe housing in the private market. In addition to the extension, RHA is introducing two additional incentives for existing RHA landlords. The program which is funded for RHA as part of the CARES Act to support Tenant-Based Rental Assistance.


New Landlord Incentives include:

  • Repayment Plan Incentive: Rochester Housing Authority may pay a financial incentive to the landlord when they set up a repayment plan to assist Housing Choice Voucher participants in maintaining housing when their rent is in arrears. 
  • Tenant Damage Reimbursement: Rochester Housing Authority may make a one-time payment to a landlord to make repairs for participant responsible damages (beyond normal wear and tear) to assist the unit in passing RHA’s Housing Quality Standards so housing assistance payments can continue.


“We see in the news every day that the economic crisis caused by the pandemic has worsened our community’s housing crisis and we’re gravely concerned about how this will impact already struggling families long term,” said Shawn Burr, Rochester Housing Authority Deputy Executive Director. “By reducing some financial and process barriers for area property owners, we’re hoping to encourage greater participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program and increasing options for program participants to find quality, safe and affordable units across Rochester.”


Existing Landlord Incentives include:

  • Security Deposit Initiative: RHA may pay the security deposit for Housing Choice Voucher participants impacted by COVID-19, to the landlord, for up to the cost of one full month of rent.


  • Leasing Up Bonus: RHA may offer a bonus to landlords when they lease a new unit to a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) participant. New landlords may be eligible to receive a one-time $1,000 bonus payment per unit and existing landlords may be eligible to receive a one-time $500 bonus payment per new unit leased, with a limit of five qualifying units per landlord.


  • Rehabilitation Cost Recovery Plan: RHA may reimburse landlords for up to $1,000 for vendor services used to perform repairs or improvements to a Section 8 housing unit.


  • Lead Clearance or Testing Costs: RHA may reimburse a landlord up to $500 per unit, in which, an RHA HQS Move-in inspection requires Lead Clearance or testing. A passed Lead Clearance test is required along with lease-up of an HCV participant.


More than 9,000 families are currently in RHA’s HCV program, with 300-600 participants actively looking for a unit to rent. Housing choice vouchers are administered locally to participants by public housing agencies (PHAs), like RHA, that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the program. The tenant, landlord and PHA all have obligations and responsibilities under the HCV program and to work effectively, it requires active and willing participation from all parties.


For more information on the landlord incentive program and to learn how to become a RHA landlord, please www.rochesterhousing.org/landlord-incentive-program.


Earlier this year, RHA also announced additional COVID-19-related supports for residents and participants enrolled in public housing or rental assistance programs, whose income had been affected by the pandemic, including applying to have rent payments temporarily reduced by up to 100%.


About Rochester Housing Authority

Established in 1955 as an independent public corporation by New York State Public Housing Law, the Rochester Housing Authority (RHA) serves more than 26,000 lower-income families, seniors and disabled residents and program participants in the five-county Greater Rochester area. Approximately 20% of those reside in the 2,400+ RHA public housing units, while others served receive assistance in the form of voucher or certificate programs that help them afford eligible, private housing.


Rochester Housing Authority does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, family status or disability in leasing, rental, occupancy, use or other disposition of housing or related facilities.


# # #