How to be a Model Tenant

How to make the Housing Choice Voucher Program beneficial for landlords and tenants

How to be a model tenant:

Most information for tenants concentrates on your rights, but you also have responsibilities to fulfill your side of the agreement. If you are a good tenant, you are more likely to have a good relationship with your landlord, and neighbors, which will make the whole experience more positive. Here are some tips for being a model tenant:

Pay your rent on time and in full. If you are having any difficulties paying the rent, speak to your landlord as soon as possible to see if you can come to some arrangement. Do not wait until you are already late to contact your landlord or property management company.

Take care of the property and contents. It may not belong to you but it is your home so keep it clean and report anything that needs repaired. You should address all such issues in writing to your landlord. Remember, you may have to pay for any damage that is not considered normal “wear and tear”.

Keep to the terms of your tenancy or occupancy agreement. This is what you have agreed with the landlord by taking up the tenancy. Ask questions about the lease terms if you do not understand them. Never agree to any lease term that you cannot abide by. You could face eviction if you breach the terms of the tenancy. Additionally, you could also be terminated off the Section 8 Program for noncompliance with the program mandates.

Talk to your landlord. Let him/her know if there are any problems or any repairs needed. Keeping your landlord informed at an early stage can prevent anything developing into a more serious problem.

Avoid causing nuisance to anyone in or around the property. Think about your behavior and how it affects people around you. Noise is one of the biggest causes of annoyance, particularly in multifamily units, so think about the noise you make in your home and on the stairs. 

Be on time for all annual re-certifications. Your re-certification takes place once a year. You receive notice of the re-certification at least 30 days in advance. You should make provisions to devote 30 minutes of your time for this process. This is a mandatory part of your participation in the program. Habitual noncompliance could result in termination from the program.

Be sure to contact the Housing Inspector to set up an appointment. You will receive a letter stating that you have your annual re-certification scheduled. The letter will also instruct you to contact the Housing Inspector to set up an appointment within 10 days of receipt of the letter. Habitual noncompliance could result in termination from the program.

Choose the right landlord. Once you lease up with a landlord, both parties are committed to each other for the duration of the lease. This is a business arrangement and it should be handled as such. Personal favors that are outside the lease terms will cause problems with both parties. Often tenants feel an obligation to their landlords because they were “nice enough” to rent to them. Do all that you can to make sure that your relationship with your landlord remains a business relationship and not one that is personal.

Keep the program administrators informed. The federal guidelines state that all individuals on the Housing Choice voucher program must inform the program administrators of any changes in the make up of their household. The Section 8 Office must be informed of any and all changes in income and individuals moving in or out of the premises. Those who do not comply with this guideline will find themselves in jeopardy of being terminated from the program.

Acts of fraud are grounds for termination. There must never be any side deals made by the landlord and the tenant that are outside of the Housing Assistance Payment and the lease agreement that we have on file. No such acts will be tolerated from landlords or tenants. This not only grounds for termination from the Section 8 Program, it is also a crime.

If you have any questions in regard to any of the aforementioned issues discussed, feel free to contact the Township of Montclair’s Section 8 Office at 973-509-4959.