HCV Property Owner Frequently Asked Questions

How does the HCV program work?

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program provides rental assistance to low-income individuals and families, who select their own rentals from units on the private market.  HCV participants and can choose to rent an apartment, condominium, multi- and single-family home, high-rise, mobile home, etc.  The family pays between 30% and up to 40% of their income in rent to the property owner plus utilities, and the public housing authority (PHA) pays the rest, up to a certain limit, directly to the property owner.

Before a housing authority can approve tenancy, the property owner’s proposed rent is evaluated to ensure that the rent is reasonable, and the tenant will not pay more than 40 percent of adjusted monthly income towards rent plus utilities.  Each rental unit must pass an initial and annual inspection.  The property owner may use his/her own lease with HUD’s required Tenancy Addendum [link] attached, or a property owner may opt to use our Model Lease [link]. 

The initial lease upon move-in must be for 12-months.  The property owner may provide the tenant with a new lease toward the end of the initial 12-month lease term or not, in which case the term of the lease shall renew automatically on a month-to-month basis.  Rent increases are permitted as long as the proposed rent is reasonable compared to similar units in the marketplace and not higher than those paid by unassisted tenants on the premises.


How do I become an HCV Landlord?

You must rent an apartment to a tenant that has a valid Housing Choice Program Voucher.


How do I list my vacant apartment?

A property owner may list a vacant home or apartment in the same way they would for a regular market tenant, through the newspaper, internet, or other platforms. We strongly encourage property owners to list with us directly by completing This Form [link] and emailing it to landlordinfo@imagineersllc.com. Property owners may also list available apartments by using the Property Owner Portal online, once you register your account, you can add listings for any apartment unit you have available for rent within the jurisdictions supported by Imagineers. We will advertise your vacant apartment(s) on the website and portal for up to 60 days.


Are there any deadlines involved in the rental process?

There are a few important deadlines that property owners should keep in mind.

The Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) Deadline is the date that the RTA must be returned to our office via email, fax, or drop off no later than the 19th of the month in order for the tenant to move in by the 1st day of the following month.  For instance, a 9/1/23 lease up requires an RTA submission no later than 8/19/23.  This allows time for our office to determine tenant eligibility and schedule and inspect the unit. 

The Inspection Deadline is the date a unit must pass inspection for a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract and Lease to be effective by the first of the next month. The deadline is always the 2nd to last business day of the month.

Once the unit passes inspection, the tenant’s caseworker will send you a HAP Contract which must be signed and returned along with a copy of the executed lease within 2 weeks to ensure timely release of HAPs due to you.  If our office does not receive the signed HAP Contract and Lease within 60 days of the effective date of the lease, the HAP Contract will be voided, and the PHA may not pay any housing assistance payment to the owner, pursuant to 24 CFR § 982.305(c)(4).  Additionally, your tenant will be given a new voucher to locate another unit that meets program requirements.


Can I start my lease on any day of the month?

No, all leases begin on the first of the month with the exception of new voucher holders that were newly admitted into the HCV program.


Does Imagineers screen tenants for past evictions, criminal background history, credit scores, etc?

The Housing Authority screens for initial program eligibility. We do not screen for suitability as a tenant. We check income eligibility and legal immigration status. We conduct registered sex offender checks and may deny certain violent or drug related criminals if the information is disclosed to us. However, these are minimal standards. We encourage property owners to screen tenants as they would do with their non-subsidized tenants.


Can I refuse to rent to an individual?

You have the right to select the tenant you want for your unit using whatever criteria you determine. However, you must not discriminate against an individual because of race, color, national origin, sex (gender), religion, children or family status, disability (mental or physical), ancestry, marital status, age (except minors), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, legal source of income (refusing to accept section 8, for example) or veteran status.


How much can I ask for a security deposit?

You can ask for as much is allowable under CT law [link].  Property owners can't require more than two-months’ rent as a security deposit. This limit is reduced to one month's rent if a tenant is 62 years of age or older. You cannot legally ask more in security deposit from an HCV program participant than you would ask of any other non-subsidized applicant. Once you have collected a security deposit, you will have to place the money in an interest-bearing account. Please consult local guidelines for more details.


I’ve screened a tenant who happens to have a voucher through one of the housing authorities that Imagineers administers.  What is my next step?

The next step is to complete a Request for Tenancy Approval Form (RFTA) and have the unit inspected.


What is a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA)?

The RTA is a multipage document that must be completed by the program participant and property owner/agent on the property owner’s behalf. The RTA initiates an inspection of the unit. The program participant can pick up an RTA directly from our office [link] or a fillable RTA can be downloaded here [insert]. The completed form is returned to the program participant’s caseworker, who reviews it for completion.  The completed RTA is then submitted to the Quality Assurance Manager (QAM) who ensures that the proposed rent is reasonable [link] prior to the inspection being scheduled.  Once the rent has been determined to be reasonable, the RTA is submitted to the Inspection Department for scheduling.  


How long does it take to process the RTA?

Once a program participant has returned a completed RTA to their caseworker it will take 3 to 5 business days for the RTA information to be processed. Incomplete information on the RTA is the major reason for delay. Once the form is processed, the Inspection Department will contact the property owner to schedule an inspection. 


What utilities can a tenant be responsible for paying?

The tenant can be responsible for paying any utilities that are metered only for the unit the tenant will occupy. Any utility costs for common areas or other units on the property must be paid by the owner.  Property owners must clearly outline what utilities are to be paid by the tenant or owner. 


What are Fair Market Rents, Small Area Fair Market Rents and Payment Standards?

HUD establishes Fair Market Rents (FMRs) annually to determine payment standard amounts for all HCV programs.  FMRs are estimates of 40th percentile gross rents for standard quality units within a metropolitan area or nonmetropolitan county and are used to establish the payment standard, which is the maximum allowable subsidy amount to calculate Housing Assistance Payments (HAP). Small Area FMRs (SAFMRs) are established by HUD at the Zip Code level. SAFMRs are intended to result in payment standards that align more closely with local rental costs, particularly in higher-cost areas. 

Imagineers sets payment standards between 90% and 110% of the current year FMR or SAFMR and are used to calculate the housing assistance payment that a housing authority pays to the owner on behalf of the family leasing the unit.


A program representative from Imagineers called to negotiate a lower rent than I proposed on the RTA.  Why wasn’t my proposed rent approved? 

HUD establishes Fair Market Rents (FMRs) annually to determine payment standard amounts for all HCV programs.  FMRs are estimates of 40th percentile gross rents for standard quality units within a metropolitan area or nonmetropolitan county and are used to establish the payment standard, which is the maximum allowable subsidy amount to calculate Housing Assistance Payments (HAP). Small Area FMRs (SAFMRs) are established by HUD at the Zip Code level. SAFMRs are intended to result in payment standards that align more closely with local rental costs, particularly in higher-cost areas. 


What would potentially cause a delay in getting an inspection scheduled?

Information missing from the RTA causes the majority of inspection delays. 

Some other common issues are:

  • The RTA was submitted after the deadline of the 19th of the month.  For new participants with newly issued vouchers, this deadline does not apply.
  • Imagineers never received the RTA – it’s a good idea to confirm the date and method of delivery, i.e., drop-box, email, fax, etc. with your prospective tenant if they will be returning the RTA.
  • The program participant did not submit a 30-Day Notice to their current property owner, or the program participant has other issues that must first be rectified with their current property owner prior to leasing a new unit.
  • The Quality Control Manager has not heard back from the property owner regarding confirmation of the negotiated rent (if applicable).
  • The property owner writes “ASAP” as an inspection date on the RTA instead of an actual date that the unit will be ready for inspection.
  • The inspections department cannot reach you at the telephone number listed on the RTA. 


Who is the caseworker of my prospective tenant?

Your prospective tenant will be able to provide this information to you.  You may also call our office at 860-768-3300 to be directed to the caseworker.


Who should I contact with questions regarding the status of a submitted RTA?

You should contact your prospective tenant’s caseworker at Imagineers for the RTA status.  It’s important to note that the caseworker will not be able to schedule the inspection.  Once the RTA is submitted to the inspection department, a program representative from that department will call you at the telephone number listed on the RTA to schedule the inspection. 


When should I expect payment from Imagineers?

Imagineers cannot issue the first HAP payment for a tenant until the signed HAP Contract and Lease have been received. The property owner will receive payment at the beginning of the month following the month in which the signed lease and HAP contract are received.

The first payment of new contract sometimes takes a little longer but our goal is to generate payment as soon as possible. After this initial payment, property owners will receive timely regular monthly payments.


Will I be able to increase the rent?

Yes, but not within the initial 12-month lease term.  You will receive a Renewal Form from Imagineers, about 60 days prior to the lease anniversary date as long as the tenant occupies your unit.  This renewal form can be used to request a rent increase.  The renewal form must be received at least 30 days prior to the anniversary date of the lease and must be signed and dated by the property owner and tenant.  All rent increases must undergo rent reasonableness testing [insert].  The housing authority may request additional documentation to support the proposed rent.  Our staff will then send notice of the allowable rent increase, based on rent reasonableness testing and property owner-provided supporting documentation.