Roles and Responsibilities


PHA, the property owner, and the family have different roles and responsibilities under the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

PHA and the owner enter into a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract to establish the subsidy arrangement.

The owner and the family enter into a lease, which governs the landlord/tenant relationship.

PHA and the family sign a Housing Choice Voucher agreement, which sets out family obligations for participation in the program.

Even though all parties are important to the successful operation of this program, the owner is the key. Without the owner’s participation in providing affordable housing for eligible families, this program would cease to exist.

The roles and responsibilities of each party are outlined below.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA)

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA)

  • Maintains waitlists, conducts credit and background checks, reviews applications for the Housing Choice program, certifies program eligibility and conducts annual recertifications for continued eligibility for participants
  • Inspects and certifies that the unit meets Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and approves units for leasing and contracts
  • Determines amounts and pays Housing Assistance Payments to the landlord on behalf of the family
  • Explains and provides information about program policies and procedures to current and prospective landlords and families
  • Monitors program performance and compliance of participants and owners


  • Screens tenants
  • Selects family and leases the unit
  • Performs all management and rental functions
  • Performs all ordinary maintenance
  • Complies with the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract
  • Complies with the lease and assisted lease addendum requirements

For more information about landlord/owner responsibilities, please click here.



  • Finds a suitable unit
  • Provides income and family information needed to verify and certify continued program eligibility
  • Allows PHA to inspect the unit
  • Adheres to all lease requirements, including payment of the family portion of the rent
  • Abides by all family obligations under the Housing Choice program

For more information about tenant responsibilities, please see next tab.

HCV Tenant Responsibilities

HCV Tenant Responsibilities

In order to qualify for Housing Choice Assistance, a tenant must provide the following information:

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.
  • Family employment, income and composition and immediate notification of changes in status if or when they occur
  • Social Security numbers for all family members and signed consent forms allowing PHA to obtain information about each family member and conduct criminal background checks.
  • Signature of receipt of the HUD Family Notification of Lead-Based Paint literature and a disclosure of lead-based paint testing and medical status for children under six years of age.
  • Upon acceptance into the Housing Choice program, a tenant must attend the PHA Tenant Responsibility Training Workshop. At that time, the tenant will receive a voucher and will have 120 days to obtain a housing unit.
  • Tenants should not pay a security deposit to a landlord without first checking with his/her Housing Choice representative.
  • A lease agreement must be signed for an initial term of two years.
  • The head of a household, age 18 years or older, may voluntarily join the Family Self-Sufficiency Program which offers assistance through coordinating child care, transportation, education, career and personal counseling, job training and job-placement. The goal is to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient.

A tenant and each family member living in the subsidized unit must not:

  • Own or have interest in the unit.
  • Commit any serious or repeated violation of the lease.
  • Commit fraud, bribery, or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with the Housing Choice program.
  • Participate in illegal drug or violent criminal activity.
  • Sublease or sublet the unit or assign or transfer the unit.
  • Receive Housing Choice assistance while receiving another housing subsidy either for the same unit or for another unit.
  • Damage the unit or premises (other than damage from ordinary wear and tear) or permit any guest to damage the unit or premises.
  • Engage in threatening, abusive, or violent behavior toward any PHA personnel.

Violation of any of the above may result in termination from the Housing Choice program.

Family Obligations

HUD regulations for the voucher programs permit PHA to terminate assistance to participants if any household member or guest does not abide by the following family obligations during assisted tenancy:

  • Supply any information that PHA determines to be necessary. This includes evidence of citizenship and immigration status, information for use in annual or special certification of family composition, income and deductions.
  • Disclose and verify social security information and sign and submit consent forms to obtain information.
  • Supply any information requested by PHA to verify that the family is living in the unit or information related to family absence from the unit.
  • Promptly notify PHA in writing when the family is absent from the unit for an extended period of time in accordance with PHA policy.
  • Notify PHA and the owner in writing before moving from the unit in accordance with the lease.
  • Allow PHA to inspect the unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice.
  • Maintain unit in decent condition.
  • Must not engage in threatening, abusive or violent behavior toward PHA personnel.
  • Must not participate in illegal drug or violent criminal activity.
  • Must not commit fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with the program.

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