1. What do I do when my income changes?
It is very important for all participants, whether chosen for the waiting list or currently receiving services, to report any changes in address or family composition to our office in writing. You complete the change form through RentCafe.
2. When will my number be pulled for the waiting list?
For people who have applied for HCV, when their name reaches the top of the waitlist, and vouchers are available, preference is given to Gage 1st, VAWA, and other circumstances.
The client will be contacted via mail by the OCHRA office. In the letter sent out via mail, it will say that their name has reached the top of the waitlist and that they need to fill out the initial application and return back to the OCHRA office with all supporting documents within 14 days.
3. How do I do a virtual inspection (Housing Quality Standard inspection)?
The housing specialist will contact you to set up a time to complete the HQS. The housing specialist will email you a link with the Microsoft Teams meeting link. To make getting into the program easier, it is recommended that you download the Microsoft Teams app prior to the inspection date.
4. How do I submit documents electronically?
You will need to obtain your registration code from your Housing Specialist and register for an account on RentCafe. All documents, change requests and annual recertification will be completed through RentCafe.
5. Did you receive my paperwork?
If you are wanting to check to see if your paperwork has been received, please check the RentCafe (if you submitted it this way) or email the caseworker who sent you the paperwork directly.
6. I need more time to complete my paperwork.
Please email your housing specialist letting them know that you need more time to complete your paperwork.
7. How much is my rent?
Please log onto RentCafe and find this information. If you need log-in information, let your Housing Specialist help you log on.
8. My landlord gave me a rent increase, now what?
Send your housing specialist a copy of the rent increase letter so they can make the change. You will be mailed a new rent letter to show the new rent amount, or log onto RentCafe to see this change.
9. I can’t afford my rent.
10. I want to move with my voucher.
- Provide a written letter to your landlord, stating your Intent to Vacate; your lease states how far in advance you need to give this notice. Your OCHRA caseworker will need a copy of this letter as well.
- Your caseworker will mail a move-out letter to your current landlord to ensure that: You have given the landlord your Notice of Intent to Vacate at least 30 days in advance; you have paid all the rent you owe, and there are no damages to your unit.
- Steps 3- 5 are only if you are porting to a different county. Your OCHRA caseworker will send needed documents to the new Public Housing Authority, once received, your new Public Housing Authority will contact you.
- Once your request to move is approved, your OCHRA caseworker will contact you to schedule an appointment. At this meeting, you will receive any needed voucher or other paperwork from us. We will fax a copy of your information to the Public Housing Authority in your new city.
- Within seven to 14 days you can contact the new PHA to confirm that they have received and processed your information. Your new PHA will be able to answer any questions you may have about their program at that time.
11. I want to move; how much is my voucher?
Please see our payment standards located at olmstedcountyhousing.com Your voucher size will depend on your household. Our policy on bedroom sizes is one (1) bedroom for the head of household, spouse/significant other, and then one (1) bedroom for every two (2) people after that regardless of gender or age.
12. How do I port into Olmsted County?
- Your current Housing Authority will want to know if we are Billing or Absorbing - Olmsted County is currently accepting billing ports.
- You will need to get permission from your current Housing Authority.
- Your current Housing Authority needs to contact our Port Specialist, Sandra Nelson, to send the necessary Port paperwork.
- Once we have received your paperwork and everything is approved, you will be sent an application from Olmsted County to complete and return to us.
- After your application has been submitted, this would be the appropriate time for you to start your search for housing.
13. I want to move within Olmsted County
- Your household can only receive rent assistance in one unit in any 12 month period. If you move prior to living in a unit for 12 months, your assistance will be terminated unless prior approval from OCHRA.
- You must give proper notice to your landlords according to the terms of the lease. Most landlords require a 60-day notice to vacate. Please make sure that a copy of this notice is given to your Housing Specialist.
- An exception may be considered in accordance with the Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA) or as a reasonable accommodation request.
HRA Moving Timeline
- Provide notice to vacate to the HRA and landlord
- OCHRA will inform you if you need to fill out a new packet of information for the move
- Choose a unit. Have the landlord fill out the RTA form. Turn in the completed RTA back to OCHRA. Make sure that both the landlord and yourself have signed the second page of the RTA.
- OCHRA will determine your lease update and affordability. If affordable, we will send paperwork to your new landlord. If unaffordable, you will be notified and will have to select a different unit OR reach out to the landlord to see if they are willing to lower rent for you.
- If affordable, OCHRA will schedule an inspection with the landlord and determine rent portions based on the gross rent and your income
- Once the inspection has passed and all paperwork is in, your fill will be processed for payment to the new landlord. Please note that this does take some time to process.
Where can I move?
- Section 8 assistance can be used anywhere in the United States where a housing authority operates the program.
- If you are moving to a unit outside of the OCHRA service area (portability), the program rules will change. The new housing authority may have different rules regarding bedroom size, eligibility, etc.
- Moving outside of the OCHRA service area may cause delays in the start of your rental assistance in your new unit. The new Housing Authority must approve the unit and it must pass an inspection.
If the landlord agrees to rent to me, what do I do then?
The landlord will need to fill out a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) that must be submitted to the OCHRA. The information submitted by the landlord is reviewed to assure the selected unit is rent reasonable and affordable, and then the unit will be scheduled for an inspection. After this has been completed, the landlord will sign a contract with the OCHRA and you will sign a lease for your unit.
What if the landlord I want to rent from has never worked with a voucher?
The OCHRA is always looking for new landlords to work with. If you come across a landlord who has never worked with the Housing Choice Voucher program before. Please direct them to contact your caseworker. The new landlord will need to fill out a W-9 form and contact form.
14. What do I do if I am having a problem with my Landlord?
If you are a current Housing Choice Voucher participant please call your housing specialist. If you are not currently receiving services from Olmsted Count Housing Authority please contact the Landlord/Tenant Hotline at 507-529-4111.
15. I would like to rent my house, what do I do?
Please contact the city of Rochester to obtain a current rental certificate. If you would like to rent to Housing Choice Voucher clients please contact Cari Kuehn at 507-328-7171.