Frequently Asked Questions
Q's & A's about using your Section 8 Voucher
How long do I have to find housing?
The initial term of a voucher is 60 calendar days. The exact dates of the term are stated on the document. The North Adams Housing Authority may, at its sole discretion, grant a family one or more extensions of the initial term. To be considered for such extensions, the family must submit a written request to the Authority before the expiration of the initial term. The initial term plus any extensions cannot exceed 120 calendar days. In granting extensions reasonable accommodation will be afforded families with a disabled person.
The Authority may, at its sole discretion, grant a suspension of the Voucher term for all or any part of the period between the submittal of a request for lease approval and the Authority's final denial or approval of the request.
How does the Housing Authority determine the housing assistance payment for a family?
Your assistance will be based on your income and on your family size. Generally, the family pays 30% of its monthly income for rent and utilities. The Housing Authority pays the difference between the family contribution and the total rent due the owner as long as the total rent does not exceed a payment standard (see attached schedule). Total rent to owner in excess of this payment standard is the responsibility of the family in addition to its 30% of income contribution. Initially, the family's total share may not exceed 40% of its monthly adjusted income.
Where can I look for housing?
The North Adams Housing Authority will administer your subsidy if you find housing within the city limits or certain adjacent communities. If you wish to look for housing in another community, refer to the information sheet on the section 8 mobility program included in this packet.
What do I do when I find suitable housing?
You and the owner must complete a request for tenancy approval which is a profile of the property (included in this packet along with instructions) and submit it to the housing authority along with a lead paint compliance certificate if children under six are to be housed in the unit and a certificate of occupancy if the unit is within the City of North Adams, and a copy of the proposed lease. The housing authority will then schedule an inspection of the unit and if it passes certain housing quality standards, arrangements will be made for the signing of contracts. Rents and utility costs will be reviewed by the authority to assure reasonableness and compliance with HUD guidelines and local market conditions. If the unit fails the inspection, the owner will be given the opportunity to correct any deficiencies.
What should I consider in my housing search?
- The condition of the unit
- Whether the rent is reasonable
- The cost of any tenant-paid utilities and whether the unit is energy-efficient
- The location of the unit, including proximity to public transportation
- When the apartment will be available
- How much is the security deposit, if any?
- Is the unit in compliance with respect to lead based paint (if children under 6 in family)
How is it determined if a rent is "reasonable"?
The Housing Authority compares the rent to those charged for similar units in the local market, considering the location, size, type, quality and age of the unit as well as any amenities and housing services offered.
Can the Housing Authority help with my housing search?
Local property owners often provide the Housing Authority with information on available units. Your inquiries are welcome.
Does the Housing Authority offer special services to families that include a person with Disabilities?
The family may request current information on potentially available accessible units. They should also inquire about the availability of a larger payment standard to cover the higher cost of accessible housing.