Mercedes Housing Authority
306 W. 5th St. Mercedes, Texas 78570
What does the landlord need to do?
The landlord must attract a family that has already been determined as eligible and has been issued a Voucher by the Housing Authority. The landlord is responsible to screen the family for suitability as a tenant, just as they would any prospective tenant. If the landlord decides to rent to the family, a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTFA) is completed and submitted to the MHA. Eligible families are given the RTFA at the time they are issued a Voucher. The MHA schedules an inspection of the rental unit within 15 days of receiving RTFA. If the unit meets HUD Housing Quality Standards and the rent amount is approvable by standards set by HUD, the lease is signed by the landlord and tenant and the contract is signed by the MHA representative and the landlord.
The landlord is expected to collect a security deposit and the family's share of the rent. The landlord is expected to maintain the property's overall condition and see that the basic plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems, etc. are functioning properly. Should the family violate the terms of the lease or fail to pay the rent, the landlord would evict the family through the normal court eviction procedure and send the MHA copies of any notices that the tenant is served so we can respond properly.
The MHA will mail a check to the landlord on the first business day of each month for the MHA portion of the rent.
What kind of rental unit qualifies?
Any existing rental housing may be eligible; single family homes, condominiums, apartments, mobile homes, townhouses, duplexes, etc. All rental units must conform to Housing Authority Standards and meet local code requirements.
May I raise the rent once I have signed a contract?
Not in the first year of the lease. After the first year, you may request an increase in the rent. In the case of a Voucher rent increase, the family must pay the entire amount of the increase and they may move to another unit if they feel they cannot afford the increase. The landlord must request an increase in writing at least 60 prior to the anniversary date in order to get the increase on the anniversary date. If the request is received at a later date, the increase will be effective at least 60 days later.
May an owner sell a property while it is under contract with the Housing Authority?
Yes, an owner may sell the property under contract. See the Section 8 or Voucher contract for more details.
How often are the units inspected by the Housing Authority?
The rental units are inspected prior to a contract being signed and at least annually thereafter.
What are the benefits for a participating landlord?
The Housing Authority portion of the rent is mailed on the first business day of each month. The Section 8 program allows you to fill a vacancy in a rental unit with a tenant who, by being on the program, gives you greater assurance of being able to afford the unit.
Can I get an inspection before I find an eligible family that wants to rent my unit?
No. The resources of the Housing Authority are limited and we can only do inspections after your unit is selected by an eligible family and Request for Tenancy Approval is completed. We also require that you make any necessary repairs prior to an inspection to avoid the necessity of a 2nd inspection which you will be charged for according to current Housing Authority Policy and may result in a delay in the start of the lease and contract effective period.
What does a unit have to have to pass inspection?
The unit needs to meet basic building codes for safe and sanitary housing. Most well maintained rental units should be able to pass an inspection. Please see our inspection checklist for more information.
If you are a landlord who is already receiving a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) check and want to:
1) Change the address on your check.
Please give us as much information as you can: Your owner ID, your full name, the name of your Section 8 tenant, the address of the rental unit under contract, and of course your complete new mailing address and telephone number. You may mail an address change request to our office: Housing Choice Voucher 902 W. 5th Mercedes, Texas 78570. We cannot, however, accept address changes by telephone. Address changes must be in our office by the 25th of the month in order to change the next month's check. The checks that do not get the address changed in time will be forwarded by the Post Office if you have a forwarding order on file with them.
2) Find out what happened to your check.
Begin by calling the Housing Authority's Section 8 Department. Make sure that the check went out and that the file is still active. If your check is lost in the mail, it must be cancelled and reissued. You will also be charged our bank charge of $25 to stop payment on a check. Remember all printed checks are mailed the first business day of each month. Allow enough time for the check to reach you through the U.S. Postal Service.
3) If you wish to request a rent increase after the first year of your lease with your tenant.
If you have a lease with a tenant who has a Section 8 Voucher, you must submit a request for a rent increase to the Housing Authority, in writing, 60 days prior to the anniversary date of the lease. You will also be responsible for certifying that the requested rent is reasonable in the current rent market. Send your request to the Housing Authority to the attention of the Section 8 department. Rent increases are not guaranteed.