FAQ - Public Housing Questions
DISCLAIMER: While these answers here are
believed to be correct and according to HAMC / HUD
policy, every situation is different and many
factors may influence each individual situation.
All HAMC decisions and rules must conform to
federal, state and local laws, as well as HUD policy
and approved HAMC operational guidelines.
P1. How do I apply for Public Housing?
To apply for Public
Housing you may pick up an application form from
any of our area
The application form is also available on the Public
Housing application section of this website where it can
downloaded and mailed in.
If you have questions about the application process,
eligibility, emergency housing or the wait list
please refer to the General area
of the FAQ.
P2. Where are the Public Housing units that
Maricopa Housing owns and operates?
HAMC has more than a dozen communities
scattered around Maricopa County. These contain
from 10 to 300 units. For the most part, these
are not in the larger cities, which have their
own housing departments. If you wish to apply
for Public Housing in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe,
Scottsdale, Glendale or Chandler.
a map that shows the general area of HAMC
jurisdiction and the locations of HAMC public
[top of page]
P3. What do I need to do to move in?
You will need to meet with the local HAMC Housing
Manager. He or she will brief you on the Low Rent
program and tenant responsibilities. The HAMC
will answer any questions you may have and set the
terms and date for your move in.
You must bring the following documents for all
family members: birth certificates, social security
cards, proof of family income documents and proof of
family assets. Be aware that that HAMC does a
background check on all adult family members. There
should be no criminal events against persons or
property for minimum of 3 years prior to occupying a
All utilities (electricity and gas) for the unit
must be turned on in the renter’s name before the
unit can be occupied. If a person cannot do
this for any reason (outstanding debt with utility
company, no legal documentation, unable to pay
deposit, etc.) the rental process will be terminated
and the application will be withdrawn. If a
person has questions about this issue, it is
important that they talk to the local manager.
P4. Do you have furnished units? Are appliances
included with the unit?
The Housing Authority does not provide furnished
apartments, however, all of the apartments have
refrigerators and stoves.
P5. I have been called for a move-in interview.
Do I get to select a unit?
If more than one unit is available in the
property, you may choose the one you want as long as
the bedroom size is compatible with your family
P6. I have a husband and two children. Can
I have a 3 bedroom unit.
HUD policies stipulate that unit be the
appropriate size for the family composition. The
rules require no more than 2 persons per sleeping
area. The precise determination of the appropriate
sized unit depends upon the relationship, age and
gender of the household members. Children of the
opposite sex over 3 years of age must not be
required to share the same room.
P7. Does HAMC have units suitable for
people with disabilities?
Yes, we have units in most sites that are
handicap accessible (ADA, Section 504
complaint). Please talk to the local manager if you
have needs or questions regarding this issue.
[top of page]
Rent, fines and payments
P11. How much will I have to pay? How are rents
This depends on many factors and each case is
unique. The actual rent for any unit can only be
determined at the time of the lease based upon
tenant income, allowances and family composition.
Your rent will be determined based on the
anticipated total annual income of the
individual and family subject to any allowable
deductions also are taken into consideration
when determining rent. Under most circumstances,
the amount of rent you pay cannot exceed 30% of
your adjusted monthly income. HAMC has a minimum
rent requirement of $50 per month.
If you get a job, have a pay raise, or the
composition of your family changes, your rent will
be adjusted to reflect these modifications. Annual
re-examinations are required by HUD to verify tenant
Important: All income declared by a tenant is
subject to verification. Unreported income will
result in legal sanctions including termination from
P12. When is my rent due?
Rents are to be paid in the first 5 days of the
month. After those dates, a late rent fee will
be charged. Any outstanding fees (late payments,
work order, keys made, etc.) must be paid with
Payments in cash are not accepted.
P13. Do I need to pay a deposit to move in?
A security deposit is required, determined by
bedroom size. The current deposit rates are:
$150 (1 bedroom), $200 (2 bedrooms), $250 (3
bedrooms), $300 (4 bedrooms) $350 (5 bedrooms).
P14. Do I have to pay for utilities?
Yes, most HAMC units require payment for gas and
electric. They must be turned on in the
tenant’s name before the person can occupy the unit.
In many units, water, sewer and trash collection
fees are paid by HAMC.
HAMC does include a utility allowance in the rent
subsidy. If the calculated rent for the unit is
lower than the utility allowance, the tenant will
receive a monthly ‘URP’ check to pay part of the
P15. What happens if I can't pay my rent?
If you can't pay your monthly rent, you need to
talk to the area manager before the final payment
date (unusually the fifth work day of the month).
The manager may be able to negotiate an agreement,
otherwise the tenant will be forced to vacate the
P17. My household composition has changed. I got
married, I have a new child and a better job. How
does this affect my rent payment?
Any changes to family size will probably signify a
change in rent amount. All changes of income and
household composition must be reported in writing to
HAMC with 10 days of the date of change. Your manager will review
the change and may make adjustments to your rent.
P18. I don't like my unit or my neighbors, can I
In most cases you can only move when the contract
expires (after 1 year). You must give a written 30
day notice to HAMC.If you are having problems with your neighbors
(example: noise) then talk to your area manager or
complain to city officials (police).
P19. I am moving out. What should I do? Who do I
You must give a 30 day
written notice to HAMC.
[top of page]
Work Orders and unit maintenance
P21. I received a bill for a broken door. What is
Tenants will be charged for any damage that they
or their household or guests
cause to the property. This also includes litter
outside the unit.
HAMC is required to do basic maintenance to
insure the unit is safe and livable.
P22. I lost my key. What do I do?
Go to the area office. They can make you a
copy. There is a ‘lost key’ charge.
P23. The refrigerator is broken, and I need a
repair on the unit. What do I do? Who do I call?
If you are a Public Housing resident and
have a maintenance related problem, you should
report it to your local area office.
You may also report the problem by telephone. Work Order contact information for each area
is available here. If
you have a problem after hours (from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.) and
it is an ‘emergency’ repair please call these same
Work Order telephone numbers. The
phones will be forwarded to an answering service
that will contact our service personnel.
Be aware that most repairs are not considered
emergency repairs and will therefore be processed in
normal work hours, from 8 am to 5 pm. By HUD
regulations, “emergency repairs’ are only those that
constitute an immediate danger to life and
health, such as gas leaks, flooding, smoke and
sparks, etc… A clogged toilet is not considered an
‘emergency’ issue, unless there is only one in the
P24. Can HAMC staff enter my unit?
In general, HAMC personnel may enter a tenant's
unit for three reasons: emergency repairs,
non-emergency repairs or improvements, and unit
inspections. Emergency repairs require no advance
notice to the tenant.
[top of page]
Sanctions and termination
P26. What are my responsibilities when I rent a
Tenants have responsibilities to their take care
of the unit and appliances. They may not damage the
building, intentionally or through neglect. Tenants
are responsible for the actions of their family
members and guests. Finally, tenants must obey the
terms of their lease, pay rent on time and honor the
rights of other tenants. Tenants must notify HAMC of
all changes to income, family composition and
P27. I have received a letter from the Housing
Authority of Maricopa County saying that they have
detected unreported income and I owe money? What is
HAMC has found that other agencies are saying
that you have unreported or under reported income.
HAMC has discovered this and has calculated the
back payments owed according to this information.
Your rent amount will be adjusted to reflect this
additional income. You may appeal and /or clarify
If the tenants continues to not report their income
or that of family members they will be subject to
legal sanctions, including termination of the lease.
Abuse of HAMC staff in the performance of their
duties and/or disregard legal obligations in the
rental contract will result in the termination of
P28. I have received a letter from the Housing
Authority of Maricopa County saying that my contract
is being terminated because I have violated HUD
rules. I disagree. What can I do?
Per your notice of termination you have the right
to request an informal hearing. Read the instruction
on the notice you received.
[top of page]
P31. Why does HAMC do unit inspections?
HUD requires HAMC to perform periodic inspections
to insure that each unit meets health and safety
A family that repeatedly fails to provide access to
HAMC staff for inspections or repairs will be
terminated from the program.
P32. What is FSS?
The Family Self Sufficiency is designed to help
the tenant develop skills and experience that will
enable him/her to obtain employment or a better
Once the tenant has a job, an escrow fund is created
on his/her behalf. Once the goals of the program
have been met, the tenant has access to their escrow
fund to spend as they wish. Many HAMC tenants
have used their fund for down payments on homes, to
start their own business or to go to college.
It is an excellent program and HAMC encourages all
tenants to find out more about this great program.
For more information please see HAMC’s
FFS section or the
HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency information page.
33. What is ‘Annual Certification’
HAMC is required to
reexamine the income and composition of all
households at least once a year. The annual
reexamination determines the continued
eligibility of a tenant on the low rent program.
HAMC will send a recertification notice to household
approximately 90 - 120 days prior to their
annual reexamination date.
Families are also required to report interim changes
in income and family composition (both increases and
decreases) within 10 days of the date the
change occurred. Failure to comply
with this requirement may result in termination from
P34. What are utility reimbursement payments
(URPs) and how are they calculated?
HAMC assistance includes both rent and estimated
utilities. The utility allowance is calculated by
estimating the average monthly cost of utilities
(electricity, gas and water/sewer) according type
and size of the unit. This amount is credited to the
tenant (deducted from the rent) in the rent
calculation. If the tenant’s rent is less than the
utility allowance, HAMC sends the tenant a check
(called a URP – Utility Assistance Payment) for the
The utility allowance is based on a HUD approved
table for each city and location, not what each
person or family actually pays for utilities.
P35. Can I have a pet?
Yes, but the animal cannot exceed 40 lbs adult
weight and it must be in accordance with the HAMC
Pet Policy. If you have questions, talk to the area
manager. A ‘pet deposit’ may be required.
P36. My son has problems with the law.
He lives with me. What does this mean?
Depending on the nature of the “problem” and time
elapsed since the “problem” occurred, it may or may
not be a “problem”.
At the time of application a perspective tenant will
be notified in writing of any “problems” encountered
with processing of an application (including all
people on the application). If there is a “problem,”
the person should speak with a manager about the
If the person with the ‘problem’ is a resident then
the tenant or head of household should immediately
inform the local manager of the issue. Depending on
the circumstances and gravity of the problem, the
person committing the offense may be required to
vacate the unit. Failure to report a problem
involving criminal activity is a violation of the
lease and may cause termination of the lease.
P37. My sister is coming to live with me.
Is that OK? How long can she stay?
The housing unit is designated specifically for
the family members specified in the contract.
Visitors and guests however, may stay up to 14
calendar days in any given year. Continued residence
by other persons in the unit is a violation of the
contract and assistance will be terminated.
The tenant may not sublet or loan the use of the
unit to any other person.
P38. I have to go take care of my mother in New
York (or Los Angeles or somewhere far away) and I
will be away from my unit for a long time.
What does this mean?
tenant may not leave a unit unattended in
excess of 30 days without facing abandonment
proceedings. If a person intends to be away
from his/her unit for any prolonged period
(including vacations or travel), it is recommended
that he/she notify HAMC of their absence.
P39. The manager told me that to park a car at my
unit I need to register the vehicle with the office,
receive a decal for the car and show proof of
HAMC policy requires that all cars be registered and
have an ID tag on the windshield. All cars must
conform to state and local motor vehicle laws. Cars
on HAMC properties that do not follow these guides
will be towed.
[top of page]
The information in the FAQ sections is deemed to be
reliable, but in some cases it may vary because of
specific factors not considered here. In all
matters, any application, agreement, authorization
form, or contractual obligation is subject to state
and federal laws, HUD regulations and the terms of
the documents signed with applicants, tenants and
landlords. The answers provided here are intended
only as a guide intended to cover many common
questions received on a daily basis from the public.
Please consult a HAMC case worker or manager for
more information. If an official position is
required on any case (contract, tenant, landlord,
applicant), it will be determined based upon the
history and situation of that specific case
according to policy stipulated in the HAMC
Operations Manual approved by the Board of