The Most Northeastern City in the United States.

HAP Contract & Lease

Caribou Municipal Building
25 High St
Caribou, Maine 04736
Lisa Plourde, Executive Director
Sue Ouellette, FSS/Homeownership
Phone: (207) 493-4234
Fax: (207) 376-0178
E-mail: housing@cariboumaine.org

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Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract

The HAP contract is a written agreement between the Housing Agency and the owner of the dwelling unit occupied by a housing choice voucher assisted family. Under the HAP contract, the Housing Agency agrees to make housing assistance payments to the owner on behalf of a specific family occupying a specific unit and obliges the owner to comply with all program requirements.

The HAP contract format is prescribed by HUD.  The HAP contract contains three parts:

Part A of the contract includes basic contract information about the name of the tenant family, address of the contract unit, names of all household members, first and last dates of initial lease term, amount of initial monthly rent to owner, amount of initial housing assistance payment, utilities and appliances to be supplied by owner and tenant, signatures of PHA and owner [HCV Guidebook, pp 11-10 and 11-11].

 Part B is the body of the contract. It describes in detail program requirements affecting the owner and owner roles and responsibilities under the HCV program.

Topics addressed in Part B include:

  • Lease of Contract Unit
  • Maintenance, Utilities, and Other Services
  • Term of HAP Contract
  • Provision and Payment of Utilities and Appliances
  • Rent to Owner: Reasonable Rent
  • PHA Payment to Owner
  • Prohibition of Discrimination
  • Owner’s Breach of HAP Contract
  • PHA and HUD Access to Premises and Owner’s Records
  • Exclusion of Third Party Rights
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Assignment of the HAP Contract
  • Written  Notices
  • Entire Agreement Interpretation

Part C of the contract includes the Tenancy Addendum (Form HUD-52641-A). The addendum sets forth the tenancy requirements for the program and the composition of the household, as approved by the Housing Agency.  The owner must sign the HUD Tenancy Addendum with the prospective tenant, and the tenant has the right to enforce the Tenancy Addendum against the owner. The terms of the Tenancy Addendum prevail over any other provisions of the lease.

Lease

A lease sets out the rules landlords and tenants agree to follow in their rental relationship. It is a legal contract, as well as an immensely practical document full of crucial business details, such as how long the tenant can occupy the property and the amount of rent due each month. Whether the lease or rental agreement is as short as one page or longer than five, typed or handwritten, it needs to cover the basic terms of the tenancy.

Here are some of the most important items to cover in your lease.

1. Names of all tenants. Every adult who lives in the rental unit, including both members of a married or unmarried couple, should be named as tenants and sign the lease. This makes each tenant legally responsible for all terms, including the full amount of the rent and the proper use of the property. This means that you can legally seek the entire rent from any one of the tenants should the others skip out or be unable to pay; and if one tenant violates an important term of the tenancy, you can terminate the tenancy for all tenants on that lease.

2. Limits on occupancy. Your agreement should clearly specify that the rental unit is the residence of only the tenants who have signed the lease and their minor children. This guarantees your right to determine who lives in your property — ideally, people whom you have screened and approved — and to limit the number of occupants. The value of this clause is that it gives you grounds to evict a tenant who moves in a friend or relative, or sublets the unit, without your permission.

3. Term of the tenancy. Every rental document should state that it is a fixed-term lease. Leases typically last a year.

4. Rent. Your lease should specify the amount of rent, when it is due (typically, the first of the month), and how it’s to be paid, such as by mail to your office. To avoid confusion and head off disputes with tenants, spell out details such as:

  • acceptable payment methods (such as personal check only)
  • whether late fees will be due if rent is not paid on time, the amount of the fee, and whether there’s any grace period, and
  • any charges if a rent check bounces.

5. Deposits and fees. The use and return of security deposits is a frequent source of friction between landlords and tenants. To avoid confusion and legal hassles, your lease or rental agreement should be clear on the limit, use and return of deposits, including:

  • the dollar amount of the security deposit (be sure you comply with any state laws setting maximum amounts)
  • how you may use the deposit (for example, for damage repair) and how the tenant may not use it (such as applying it to last month’s rent)
  • when and how you will return the deposit and account for deductions after the tenant moves out, and
  • any legal non-returnable fees, such as for cleaning or pets.

It’s also a good idea (and legally required in a few states) to include details on where the security deposit is being held and whether interest on the security deposit will be paid to the tenant.

6. Repairs and maintenance. Your best defense against rent-withholding hassles and other problems (especially over security deposits) is to clearly set out your and the tenant’s responsibilities for repair and maintenance in your lease or rental agreement, including:

  • the tenant’s responsibility to keep the rental premises clean and sanitary and to pay for any damage caused by his or her abuse or neglect
  • a requirement that the tenant alert you to defective or dangerous conditions in the rental property, with specific details on your procedures for handling complaint and repair requests, and
  • restrictions on tenant repairs and alterations, such as adding a built-in dishwasher, installing a burglar alarm system, or painting walls without your permission.

7. Entry to rental property. To avoid tenant claims of illegal entry or violation of privacy rights, your lease or rental agreement should clarify your legal right of access to the property — for example, to make repairs — and state how much advance notice you will provide the tenant before entering.

8. Restrictions on tenant illegal activity. To avoid trouble among your tenants, prevent property damage, and limit your exposure to lawsuits from residents and neighbors, you should include an explicit lease or rental agreement clause prohibiting disruptive behavior, such as excessive noise, and illegal activity, such as drug dealing.

9. Pets. If you do not allow pets, be sure your lease is clear on the subject. If you do allow pets, you should identify any special restrictions, such as a limit on the size or number of pets or a requirement that the tenant will keep the yard free of all animal waste.

10. Other Restrictions. Be sure your lease complies with all relevant laws including rent control ordinances, health and safety codes, occupancy rules, and anti-discrimination laws. State laws are especially key, setting security deposit limits, notice requirements for entering rental property, tenants’ rights to sublet or bring in additional roommates, rules for changing or ending a tenancy, and specific disclosure requirements such as past flooding in the rental unit.

Any other legal restrictions, such as limits on the type of business a tenant may run from home, should also be spelled out in the lease or rental agreement. Important rules and regulations covering parking and use of common areas should be specifically mentioned in the lease or rental agreement.

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