Yes, a landlord can raise the rent for tenants who have a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, but there are guidelines in doing so. The landlord has to give the Public Housing Agency (PHA) a 60 or 90-day notice (depending on the PHA), and get written permission from the PHA before the change in rent goes into effect.
If the PHA receives a request for a raise in rent, the PHA will send a form to the landlord to complete and sign. The landlord submits the completed form requesting a raise in the rent directly to the PHA caseworker.
The PHA caseworker will review the form and check if the requested rent amount is rent reasonable. If everything checks out, the caseworker will grant the raise in rent.
The reason the PHA asks for the request to be at least 60 days before the requested date of the raise is because the PHA must notify the tenant at least thirty days before the requested date. The time frame gives the caseworker time to review and process the raise in rent, and if approved, send the notice of the change to the tenant.
During the span of the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract, the PHA will generally not accept any request to raise the rent unless something unusual happens. In any case, the PHA needs to be notified before any changes in the lease occur. Generally, a new lease and HAP contract is needed:
If there are any changes in who is responsible for the utilities or appliances.
If there are any changes in the term of the lease.
If the family moves to a new unit, even if the unit is in the same apartment building. A new inspection will also be needed, in this case.
If approved, the rent increase will go into effect on the first day of the month which falls after 60 (or 90) days from the date of receiving the request from the landlord.
Here’s an example of the timeline of events that would happen:
The landlord calls and leaves a voicemail asking for a raise in the rent, to the PHA caseworker on March 12, 2020.
The PHA caseworker mails or emails him back the request form, on March 14, 2020.
The landlord submits the completed and signed form to the PHA caseworker on March 17, 2020.
The PHA caseworker completes a rent reasonableness review and if the requested rent amount meets rent reasonableness, the PHA caseworker approves the new rent amount and mails a thirty-day notice to the tenant on March 26, 2020.
The new payment would begin on May 1, 2020.
HUD's legal code about changes or raises in rent can be found here.
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