What does "rent based on income" mean?

Most of the properties managed by HOMZ offer rents based on income due to participation in the Section 8 rental assistance program. Section 8 is a federal program that provides rental assistance in the form of rental subsidies. If you income-qualify, the rent you pay is based on 30% of your adjusted gross monthly income. Section 42 refers to part of the U.S. tax code that provides tax credits to investors who build or renovate affordable housing. To qualify for a Section 42 apartment, you must be "income eligible". Several properties managed by HOMZ have a combination of Section 8 and Section 42 assistance. Other properties have similar HUD or Rural Development subsidy programs.

Are there any age restrictions?

Properties designated as senior properties are usually restricted to persons aged 55 or 62 years of age and older or persons of any age with disabilities as defined by HUD regulations. The head of household in properties designed for families generally needs to be 18 years of age or an emancipated minor to be considered for housing assistance.

How do you determine if I or my family is income qualified?

When you apply, we request information related to all income anticipated to be received during the 12-month period following admission and all assets to which your family has access. Income includes (but is not limited to) wages, unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, business income, retirement and pensions, interest earned on various savings and investment accounts, etc. You can have considerable savings and investments and still qualify for rental assistance. Immediately prior to housing you and your family, we must verify all your income and assets by requesting written verifications from third-party sources (such as employers, the Social Security Administration, banks, credit unions, retirement funds, insurance companies, etc.). Upon receipt of these completed third-party verification forms, we can then confirm your family’s eligibility for rental assistance and the amount of rent that you will be required to pay. The rent for each household living in Section 8 is different and based on 30% of your adjusted gross monthly income.

Must you verify my income every year?

Yes, HUD regulations and your lease require that you agree to recertify your income, assets, family size, etc. with management on an annually scheduled basis. You will be notified of the upcoming recertification date, meet with management to give consent and review your situation, sign appropriate third-party verification forms and provide any other necessary documentation. You will be notified of your new rent at least 30 days prior to your recertification effective date.

Do I have to meet any other qualifications, other than income qualifying?

Yes. All applicants are screened by checking criminal, credit, sexual offender registries, contacting previous landlords and personal references, if there is no previous landlord history.

Do I need to sign a lease?

Yes. The initial term of your lease will be for one year. After the first year, your lease is on a month-to-month basis.

What is a utility allowance?

If all utilities are included in the rent, there is no utility credit. A utility allowance is used in cases where the cost of utilities (except telephone and cable TV) is the responsibility of the resident. HUD approves a monthly allowance for the reasonable consumption of utilities for each unit size. The amount of rent the resident pays is reduced by the amount of the HUD-approved utility allowance.

Is there a pet policy?

Residents who live in properties designated for occupancy by persons 55+ and 62+ are permitted to own and keep common household pets in their apartment provided they agree to the owner’s pet policy. Common household pet means a domesticated animal such as a dog (under 30 pounds), cat, bird, rodent (hamster, gerbil), rabbit, fish or turtles that are traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes. Exotic animals, large birds, snakes and reptiles are not permitted. Pet deposits are required for cats and dogs.

Residents who live in properties designated for occupancy by families are generally not permitted to own and keep pets.

What is a service coordinator?

A service coordinator is a social service staff person hired or contracted by the owner or management company. The Service Coordinator is responsible for assuring that elderly residents, especially those who are frail or at-risk and those non-elderly residents with disabilities, are linked to the specific supportive services that they need to continue living a self-sufficient lifestyle.

What is a meal site?

Many of the properties housing persons 55 or 62 years of age or older provide a regularly scheduled meal site in the community room several days per week. These meals are carefully planned by dietitians to provide one-third to one-half of the recommended daily nutrients. Most importantly, residents enjoy an inexpensive catered meal and fellowship with neighbors on a regular basis.

What is the "smoke-free" policy?

Residents may not smoke inside individual apartment units, in common areas inside the building, or any closer than the parking lot. Common areas include building entrances and exits, hallways, lobbies, stairs, elevators, laundry rooms, community rooms and kitchens. Smoking is not allowed in any apartment where oxygen tanks are in use or stored. Residents are responsible to inform and insure compliance with this no-smoking rule by their family members, guests and invitees. (Note: Any residents who resided in the property prior to September of 2005 when the smoke free rule was initiated are “grandfathered in” and allowed to smoke inside their apartment only. They may not smoke in the common areas or any closer than the parking lot.)