Housing Policy Briefs

Landlord Participation in Housing Choice Voucher Program

Urban Institute
 

The Urban Institute published an executive summary prepared for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assessing the treatment and availability of housing options for voucher holders. The summary, A Pilot Study of Landlord Acceptance of Housing Choice Vouchers, is a multi-site (taking place in Texas, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.) study which sought to understand better the treatment of renters using housing vouchers and the patterns of racial and low/high poverty discrimination among landlords. Some of the main findings included: 

  • Affordable units that accepted vouchers were hard to find. According to the study, for every 39 advertisements screened, only one eligible unit was identified on average.  
  • There are a limited number of landlords that accept vouchers if it is not legally required of them. It was discovered that across the 5 sites, between 9 and 25% of landlords conditionally accepted vouchers or were unsure of the acceptance policy. 
  • In paired phone test inquiries, landlords generally treat voucher holders equally. 
  • Landlords are more likely to miss scheduled meetings with voucher holders. Voucher holders were 8% less likely to meet with landlords to discuss their housing options than their counterparts. 

The report discusses the implications of these practices for future research projects in this area, and lists four key suggestions for policy makers: 

  1. Legal action should be pursued for voucher holders 
  2. Recruit landlord participation in low-poverty neighborhoods 
  3. Offer more competitive rents and improve program management 
  4. Provide more opportunities for housing assistance and expand search time for voucher holders 

To learn more, click here.

 
 

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