FAQ’s

GENERAL FAQ

Do you offer emergency housing?
What are other useful resources?

PUBLIC HOUSING APPLICANT FAQ:

What is Public Housing?
How do I apply for Public Housing?
When does the Public Housing waiting list open?
How long is the Public Housing waiting list?
How much will I have to pay for rent each month?

SECTION 8 APPLICANT FAQ:

What is Section 8?
How do I apply for Section 8?
Am I eligible for Section 8?
How long is the Section 8 waiting list and can I see what number I am on the list?
How much will my rent be with Section 8?

LANDLORD FAQ :

What are the steps involved in renting to a Section 8 tenant? 
Does the South Portland Housing Authority screen Section 8 tenants?
How do I get paid my portion of the security deposit and rent?
Do I sign a lease with the tenant?
What kind of inspection is done?
Can I list my apartment with the South Portland Housing Authority?

CURRENT RESIDENT FAQ

When is my rent due? 
What are the different payment options for paying my rent?
Does the office have a drop box for any payments that need to be made?
How do I place a work order if anything in my unit needs to be fixed?
What do I do if I have found a bedbug, insect, mice, etc.?
How do I obtain a parking permit?
If I have or decide to get a pet in the future, what are the housing rules and does it cost anything to have a pet?
What is the process that I have to take in order to install an air conditioner? 

GENERAL FAQ 

Do you offer emergency housing?
South Portland Housing Authority does not offer emergency housing, however you can call the office at (207) 773-4140 and we may be able to refer you to other agencies. 

What are other useful resources?
Here are some links to resources that may be helpful:

Federal
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development www.hud.gov
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services www.hhs.gov
Social Security Administration www.ssa.gov
US Department of Veterans Affair www.va.gov

State
Maine Department of Health and Human Services www.maine.gov/dhhs
Maine State Housing Authority www.mainehousing.org
211 Maine www.211maine.org
Pine Tree Legal Assistance www.ptla.org

Local
City of South Portland www.southportland.org
StepUP! Family Resources www.mapsadopt.org/res_programs/sheltersvcs.html
Southern Maine Agency on Aging www.smaaa.org
The Opportunity Alliance www.opportunityalliance.org

PUBLIC HOUSING FAQ:

What is Public Housing?
Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments for elderly families. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides federal funds to local housing authorities that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. Residents typically pay 30 percent of their adjusted monthly income for rent.

How do I apply for Public Housing?
When the Public Housing waiting list is open, you can call the office at (207) 773-4140 to schedule an appointment to complete an application.

When does the Public Housing waiting list open?
The waiting list for Public Housing typically opens up twice a year. You can call the office at (207) 773-4140 to find out when this list opens. It is also posted on our website and in the Portland Press Herald when the list re-opens.

How long is the Public Housing waiting list?
We have many different Public Housing units with different eligibility requirements and need to wait for a unit to become vacant that meets each applicant’s needs. Some units are for the elderly and disabled, other units are for families. We also have “preferences” which determine your placement on our waiting list. Preferences are given for the elderly, disabled, families, Veterans, displaced households, and applicants that live/work in South Portland. Because of all these factors, it is difficult for us to determine how long someone would have to wait to be offered a housing unit. The wait time can often vary from several months to several years.

How much will I have to pay for rent each month?

Public housing residents will pay rent based on the highest of the following:

  • 30% of adjusted monthly household income (adjusted monthly income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations);
  • 10% of total monthly household income; or
  • a $50 minimum rent

All utilities are included in rent (except phone and cable).

SECTION 8 FAQ:

What is Section 8?
The Section 8 program (also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program) provides rental assistance to very low-income families to rent a house, mobile home or apartment from a private landlord within the community. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides federal funds to local housing authorities to administer the program.  Tenants typically pay 30-40% of their income for rent. Section 8 tenant-based vouchers allow people to choose their own housing anywhere they want to live.

How do I apply for Section 8?
Section 8 currently has a waiting list. Families wishing to apply for Section 8 must complete an application for housing assistance. Applications can be picked up during normal business hours at South Portland Housing Authority.

Am I eligible for Section 8?

To be eligible for a Section 8 voucher, your household income must not be more than the Very-Low income limits for the area in which you wish to live. If you or any family members have committed any serious crimes you may not be eligible for the program. Families will also be disqualified if they owe money to any housing authority, have been convicted of manufacturing or distributing methamphetamines in public housing, or are subject to a lifetime registration on any sex offender list.

How long is the Section 8 waiting list and can I see what number I am on the list?
South Portland Housing Authority uses the Maine Centralized Section 8/HCV Waiting List. This is a single waiting list that is sorted differently by each participating housing authority when they need to issue available vouchers. Most housing authorities have a set of preferences or priorities to select applicants. These preferences are based on the needs in the community. Some housing authorities sort the list only by date and time of application. Because the list can be sorted many different ways, “Where am I on the list?” is different for each housing authority. Therefore, we are unable to determine how long you will wait for a Section 8 voucher to become available. However, the average wait time is several years. If you are unsure if you are on this Centralized Waiting List, you may call the office at (207) 773-4140 and we can confirm if you have an active application on file. 

How much will my rent be with Section 8?
The rent you will pay with a Section 8 voucher depends on your household income, your expenses, your household size, and the rental unit you choose. Generally, households with Section 8 vouchers pay about 30% of their net monthly income for rent.

LANDLORD FAQ :

What are the steps involved in renting to a Section 8 tenant?
Please call the main office at (207) 773-4140 and ask to speak to an Occupancy Specialist if you are interesting in renting to a Section 8 tenant or have any questions.

These basic steps involved in renting to a Section 8 tenant:

  • A family with a current Section 8 voucher views your apartment and wants to rent it.
  • You screen the tenants to make sure they are suitable.
  • If you agree to lease to the tenants, they will provide you with a Request for Tenancy Approval packet which must be completed and returned to the South Portland Housing Authority along with a one (1) year lease.
  • The Section 8 office checks to make sure the family can afford the rent, the rent is reasonable compared to other rents in the community, and the lease is acceptable.
  • The Section 8 office will then contact you to schedule an appointment for an inspector to check your apartment to make sure it meets program standards.
  • After the apartment passes inspection, the Section 8 office sends you a contract to sign.
  • You sign the contract with Section 8 and the family moves in.
  • The family pays its portion of the rent and Section 8 pays the rest. 

Does the South Portland Housing Authority screen Section 8 tenants?
South Portland Housing Authority does not screen Section 8 tenants for you. You must do this yourself, just as you would screen non-Section 8 tenants. You can ask for Social Security numbers, references, current and previous landlords, credit history, employment history, criminal record, etc., and check the information carefully.

The South Portland Housing Authority’s main concern is checking that the applicant meets the income limits and other Section 8 eligibility requirements. Screening the tenant is the landlord’s responsibility.

How do I get paid my portion of the security deposit and rent?
If you require a security deposit, this must be collected from the tenant.

The Housing Authority will send you a check for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) portion of the rent each month. They will continue to do so as long as the tenant remains eligible for Section 8 and your apartment meets the Section 8 program standards. You are responsible for collecting the tenant portion of the rent each month.

Do I sign a lease with the tenant?
You must sign a lease with the tenant for a minimum of one year. The lease should include:

  • names of the landlord and tenant
  • address of the rental unit
  • term of the lease and how it will be renewed
  • monthly rent amount
  • which utilities are paid by the tenant
  • which appliances must be provided by the tenant
  • Tenancy Addendum

You must include the Tenancy Addendum exactly as it appears on the HUD web site:

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=52641-a.pdf

You may include any other conditions that you normally include in your leases, as long as they do not violate any laws.

What kind of inspection is done?
Your apartment will be inspected to make sure that it meets the housing standards of the Section 8 program. The inspector will examine the exterior of the building, the plumbing and heating systems, the exits and hallways, and each room in the apartment to make sure the unit is safe, clean, and in good condition. The unit must be vacant at the time of the first inspection, and all utilities must be turned on. The inspector must have access to the unit itself, the basement, and all common areas.

A family will not be allowed to rent your apartment until the unit passes the inspection.

The apartment will be re-inspected each year. If problems are found, you must make repairs within the time allotted or else Section 8 will stop payments.

Can I list my apartment with the South Portland Housing Authority?
Yes. A landlord can contact South Portland Housing Authority at (207) 773-4140 to have an available unit(s) placed on a list. Your listing will be made available to voucher holders who are looking for available units to rent.

CURRENT RESIDENT FAQ

When is my rent due?
Rent is due by the 1st of each month.

What are the different payment options for paying my rent?
You may choose to have your rent automatically deducted from your bank account each month; you may mail a check or money order; or you may pay at our office during our business hours. We cannot accept credit cards, debit cards or cash.

Does the office have a drop box for any payments that need to be made?
South Portland Housing Authority does not have a drop box for payments.

How do I place a work order if anything in my unit needs to be fixed?
Please call the office at (207) 773-4140 to place a work order. 

What do I do if I have found a bedbug, insect, mice, etc.?
Please call the office at (207) 773-4140 and the receptionist will report it to the Director of Maintenance.

How do I obtain a parking permit?
Call the office and ask to speak to the Housing Inspector. 

If I have or decide to get a pet in the future, what are the housing rules and does it cost anything to have a pet?
If you would like to get a pet, you will need to review our pet policy and complete a Pet Registration/Application. You will also need to pay a $300 pet deposit. A copy of our pet policy can be picked up at the main office during normal business hours.

What is the process that I have to take in order to install an air conditioner?
Call the main office at (207) 773-4140 to have your air conditioner(s) installed for the season. 

How much is the utility charge for an air conditioner and when is the payment due?
The utility charge for each air conditioner is $70 for the 2016 summer season (installation and removal of air conditioner provided by housing authority). Payments are due in full by September 15th.