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Basic Information | Moving In | Rents, fines, payments | Work orders, unit maint.
Sanctions, terminations | General Questions

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.

Basic Information

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 offices. The application form is also available on the Public Housing application section of this website where it can be 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. Contact information...

Here is a map that shows the general area of HAMC jurisdiction and the locations of HAMC public Housing properties.

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Moving in…

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 unit.

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 size.

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.

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Rent, fines and payments

P11. How much will I have to pay? How are rents calculated?

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 information.

Important: All income declared by a tenant is subject to verification. Unreported income will result in legal sanctions including termination from the program.

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 the rent.

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 utilities.

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 unit.

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 move?

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 notify?

You must give a 30 day written notice to HAMC.

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Work Orders and unit maintenance

P21. I received a bill for a broken door. What is this?

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 house.

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.

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Sanctions and termination

P26. What are my responsibilities when I rent a unit?

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 rent/unit status.

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 this?

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 this issue.

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 public assistance.

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.

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General Questions

P31.  Why does HAMC do unit inspections?

HUD requires HAMC to perform periodic inspections to insure that each unit meets health and safety standards.

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 wages.

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 the program.

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 difference.

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 “problem.”

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 insurance. Why?

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. 

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Disclaimer: 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 Commissioners.