Working with the Housing Choice Voucher Program in Philadelphia

A few notes for property owners to consider when evaluating the Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8) program as administered by the Philadelphia Housing Authority

HCV Pros

Timely rent payments

In the vast majority of cases- you can expect to receive the full PHA rent portion on time every month

competitive rate schedule

Recently updated maximum payment standards are, in most cases, higher than market rates. Listed amounts here include utilities, so the actual rent payment to owner will be $150-$250 lower.

Same screening criteria 

We utilize the same credit, criminal, and rental history screening process for HCV holders. The voucher is counted as sufficient ‘income’ for the applicant

longer tenancy

PHA requires a minimum 2-year lease. Owners with quality HCV tenants generally experience less turnover and vacancy

opportunity for rent increases

After the initial 2 year term, owners can apply for a rent increase for an existing tenant

attract more leads

By targeting both market rate and HCV prospects you are exposing your listing to more potential leads

 HCV Cons

Longer Vacancy Times

The tenant approval process takes multiple weeks before PHA makes a rent offer. This offer may be lower than the Payment Standards

Administrative cost

Extra administrative work is required to enroll & maintain compliance. Owner can expect ~$250 yearly in extra admin fees from management

inspection failures

Quality inspections almost always result in a list of deficiencies. These deficiencies must be corrected to the time and standard outlined by PHA

Re-Cert Failures

Tenants must complete recertification every 2 years. If they fail to recertify properly or timely, PHA may withhold owner payments


PHA can claw back past funds paid out to owners. If PHA determines a tenant was ineligible retroactively, they can recoup payments they deem improper

Lack of tenant accountability

Generally- the HCV program does not hold tenants accountable if they damage property, breach their lease, or fail to pay their portion of rent