MURFREESBORO, TENN - More than 50 area property owners, landlords and managers met in mid-September for a lunch and learn hosted by Murfreesboro Housing Authority (MHA). The Sept. 15 luncheon was hosted and led by MHA staff, and featured keynoters and attorneys Nathan Lybarger and Angelita Fisher.
“We are working hard to expand the market of rental housing in Murfreesboro and Rutherford County,” said Thomas Rowe, President and CEO of Murfreesboro Housing Authority (MHA). “That means expanding our partnerships with property owners, landlords and property managers in this region and finding more ways to work together to put qualifying HCV participants in apartments, duplexes and homes.”
Kelly Lawton, MHA’s Director of MHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), and April Hiles, MHA Case Manager, were also featured on the program agenda.
“It’s vital that landlords are fully knowledgeable of state and federal laws regarding housing,” Lawton said. “By the strong attendance at the lunch, nearly double that of last year, and the robust question and answer session, we believe we are moving in the right direction, building relationships with property owners, landlords and managers. This was a great opportunity for us all to meet face to face and talk about partnering.”
HCV is the federal government’s major program for assisting low-income families, which may include older adults or individuals with a disability, to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. Housing authorities receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to administer the HCV program locally and help low income families afford rent, by subsidizing that rent according to their income. Families in the HCV program pay from 30 percent to no greater than 40 percent of their monthly income for rent. The rental subsidy is paid directly to the landlord by the housing authority on behalf of the tenant.
At the lunch and learn, attorneys Lybarger and Fisher talked about the legal aspects, explaining the rights and responsibilities of all parties and outlining the benefits of working with MHA, Lawton said. The luncheon agenda included these topics: How the HCV Program Works, Waiting Lists, Ways to Participate, the Role of Landlords, Contracts and Leases, Inspections, Special Purpose Vouchers and the MHA Website Landlord Portal.
MHA has a landlord portal on its website at mha-tn.org. Landlords can register with MHA as owner, once a landlord is set up in the MHA system. The portal allows landlords to track monthly payments and other information regarding their properties.
“Data shows that HCV tenants tend to be stable and long-term, and stay in the same property for an average of eight to nine years,” Lawton said. “Partnering with MHA gives landlords of all types the opportunity to find prospective tenants and have an experienced partner to work together for the benefit of all.”
MORE: For more information on landlord partnerships, contact the Murfreesboro Housing Authority at 615.893.9414.