Questions About Subsidy Payments?

Housing Choice Voucher holders pay a percentage of their monthly income toward rent (the tenant portion), then the Housing Authority pays the difference (between the tenant portion and the contract rent due to the landlord).

Landlords have protection because if the tenant’s monthly income decreases the Housing Authority increases their portion of the rental payment when the contract rent due is below the AHA’s Payment Standards. The landlord has increased probability to receive the full rental amount due for rents under the payment standard. AHA’s goal is that landlords always continue to get paid, within the regulations of the program, and the unit stays affordable to the tenant.

A common question is if tenants can pay the difference when an owner goes over the payment standard on a renewal is that unlimited? Simply put, a determination will be made by the Housing Programs Department on the reasonableness of the increase over payment standard. There are many factors that dictate if a rent overpayment standard is reasonable. For example comparable rental properties, and income of renter. Long story short, rent over payment standard is very infrequent.

Payment Standards

Payment Standards is the maximum rent AHA may pay for each tenant. Payment standards are set in accordance with regulation based on the area’s Fair Market Rents.

If the gross rent (owner rent or unit plus an allowance for tenant-paid utilities) for a unit is below the listed payment standard, then the unit will be affordable to move-in for the tenant.

If a landlord’s rent is above the payment standard, AHA staff will have to determine affordability at move-in only for the tenant. Once a family completes the first year of tenancy, a rent increase can be requested. The AHA will look only at whether the rent requested is reasonable. There is not a second affordability test; however, if the owner goes over the payment standard, the family will be responsible for that amount –no matter what income the family has.

Payment Standards

To review Payment Standards, please click here:

Utility Allowances

A utility allowance allows AHA to factor into the rent any utilities for which the tenant must pay. This utility allowance is added to the rent of the unit requested by the landlord to calculate the gross rent for the unit, this amount is used in an affordability calculation at move-in and during the tenancy of the participant in the unit.

Process for Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA)

When a landlord has decided to rent to a Housing Choice Voucher household, the landlord must complete and submit a Request for Tenancy Approval. This form can be obtained from the prospective tenant.

Follow the instructions.

Follow the instructions of the cover sheet.

Ensure RFTA is completed and signed.

Ensure the RFTA is completed with tenant and landlord signatures (and please include phone numbers).  The signatures confirm the required certifications by both the landlord and participant.

Include the lease agreement.

An un-signed lease agreement must be submitted with the RFTA to AHA for review.

AHA has 3-Days to review your RFTA and lease.

Once the completed RFTA is received by AHA, AHA has three business days to determine ownership, affordability, rent reasonableness and that the un-signed lease is in accordance with HUD regulations.

Be available for possible needed follow-up.

If there are any issues, AHA will follow-up with a phone call to address the concerns.

Approval is not the last step!

Once the RFTA is approved, a unit inspection is requested.

Direct Deposit for Landlords is available

The Housing Authority prefers to pay landlords by way of direct deposit. Current landlords with the program can log into Rent Café and complete the steps to set-up direct deposit (EFT) payments. New landlords to the program, can fill out the Direct Deposit Authorization form and submit to:

Iyana Barnes

AHA Housing Specialist III

**Please enclose a voided check with this form or it may delay payment processing.

More Questions?

For further questions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for landlords.

Rent Increases

Dear Distinguished Landlord,

On January 1, 2020, Assembly Bill No. 1482 (Bill), also known as the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, went into effect and imposed caps on contract rent increases for properties within the State of California that are not exempted by the Bill (link to Assembly Bill No. 1482:

Interpretation of Bill

On February 11, 2020, the Legislative Counsel Bureau provided a position statement to all Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) which stated that both Project-Based Voucher (PBV) and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) units were exempted from this Bill. Therefore, PHAs in the State of California did not enforce this Bill and impose caps on contract rent increases.

However, on June 29, 2023, all PHAs within the State of California were informed by Attorney General Rob Bonta that while PBV units are exempt, HCV units that are not subject to a regulatory agreement with a government agency are not exempted from this Bill since HCV units are not restricted as affordable units (link to the Attorney General’s website:

The Housing Authority of the City of Alameda (AHA) reached out to its legal counsel to review and provide a legal opinion, reached out to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Field Office to understand HUD’s position on the matter, and continued to deliberate its options and understand its ability to enforce the Bill.

Finally, on February 9, 2024, the AHA along with other PHAs in California received a letter from HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Monocchio in which HUD agreed with the Attorney General that HCV units not subject to a regulatory agreement with a government agency are not automatically excluded from the Bill due to the nature of the HCV program. The letter from HUD advises PHAs to implement this Bill and alert HCV owners when a rent increase is received that violates the Bill’s requirements.

Impact on Rent Increases

As such, the AHA is reaching out to you to inform you that effective March 1, 2024, all contract rent increases for Housing Choice Voucher units not subject to a regulatory agreement with a government agency will need to be in compliance with Assembly Bill No. 1482. If the AHA receives a contract rent increase for a Housing Choice Voucher unit not subject to a regulatory agreement with a government agency that violates the rent control requirements of Assembly Bill No. 1482, the AHA will alert you of the violation and provide an explanation of the applicability of Assembly Bill No. 1482 so that you may revise your contract rent increase request to be in compliance. Please note that this is in addition to the current rent reasonableness requirement.

In short this means the Housing Authority will reject contract rent increases for private market landlords that exceed the current maximum under AB1482. The current maximum is 9.2% but please note this maximum allowed amount changes regularly. If you are a member of California Apartment Association, you can calculate the maximum allowable contract rent increase here:

Who to Contact

If you have a rent change notice pending or coming up, please contact Iyana Barnes via email at

To submit future tent change requests please do this here: .

If you have any questions about the application of Assembly Bill No. 1482 itself, please contact the Attorney General’s Office (link to the Attorney General’s contact information:  As this is not just a requirement for the HCV program, you may want to review the bill to ensure your compliance with your other units.  As an aside, there are other provisions of the bill that you may want to review such as ones affecting evictions. 

Please note that in the City of Alameda, the Alameda Rent Program also has rules that apply to rental housing

We appreciate your cooperation and continued participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program.

Thank you,

Vanessa Cooper

Executive Director