Section 8 Complementary payments
Over the years, several Section 8 tenants have attempted to make an additional payment agreement with us in an effort to tempt us to accept their coupons. We reject.
What are Section 8 side payments?
Suppose the requested rent for a unit is $ 2,500. The Housing Authority has authorized a maximum amount for the unit of $ 2,300. The landlord and tenant agree that the tenant will pay the additional $ 200 out of the agreement with the Housing Authority. This is considered a Section 8 side payment. It is illegal.
By making a side deal, the tenant could risk losing their bond. However, the Housing Authority has come up with a very creative way for the tenant to report the extra payment while remaining anonymous. The result could be quite lucrative for the tenant and extremely costly for the owner who participated.
In May 2014, the Santa Clara County Housing Authority sent a letter to Section 8 voucher tenants titled “Confidential Rent Supplemental Payment Survey.” The letter encourages the tenant to take a survey provided by Project Sentinel to ensure that their responses are kept confidential and that the status of their housing vouchers is protected.
The letter is posted on the Project Sentinel website at http://housing.org/. Project Sentinel does not share the survey information with the Housing Authority.
The survey consists of three questions:
1. In the past 6 years, have you (or anyone in your household) paid rent in excess of the “tenant’s rent” amount listed on the most recent Housing Authority rent share letter?
2. Are you (or anyone in your household) currently paying rent that is greater than the “tenant’s rent” amount listed on your most recent rent portion letter from the Housing Authority?
3. At any time in the past, has a landlord requested or collected rent payments that were higher than the amount of “tenant’s rent” listed on your most recent rent portion letter from the Housing Authority?
If you are a landlord whose tenant can answer “yes” to any of these three questions, you should be concerned.
According to Project Sentinel, a tenant can receive a refund of the full side payments made to the landlord. In addition, the tenant could receive between $ 1,650 and $ 3,300 for each month they make an additional payment to the landlord, regardless of the amount of the additional payment. Reimbursement payments can go back up to six years.