LETTER: Landlord OBLIGATION to accept housing vouchers for rentals of $1,571(and below) and up to $4,086/month

Dear Editor:

So tonight, many may be unaware of the meeting at city hall. It is at 7:00pm and goes to 8:30 in the Peter Kirk Room. Address of city hall is 123 Fifth Avenue Kirkland. The last meeting had 23 attendees who were reported as out-of-town advocates for subsidized housing and only two Kirkland residents. The minutes of the meeting seemed to be indicative of the lopsided representation.

Many misperceptions have been circulated.

One misperception is the claim that if landlords don't want to participate they can find a way to opt out. That is not consistent with the information provided by King County Housing Authority. If Kirkland makes it mandatory for landlords to accept vouchers then it is completely mandatory. No funny business or tricky way to get around the issue.

Which rentals will be subjected to new mandatory requirements on landlords? Let's see if I can accurately do the math (the KCHA portion and ratio of payment is from KCHA website):

1 bed KCHA pays $1,100 and total rent can be $1,571 or higher (if voucher holder pays more) 2 bed KCHA pays $1,330 and total rent can be $1,900 or higher (if voucher holder pays more) 3 bed KCHA pays $1,760 and total rent can be $2,514 or higher (if voucher holder pays more) 4 bed KCHA pays $2,320 and total rent can be $3,314 or higher (if voucher holder pays more) 5 bed KCHA pays $2,530 and total rent can be $3,614 or higher (if voucher holder pays more) 6 bed KCHA pays $2,860 and total rent can be $4,086 or higher (if voucher holder pays more)

Prior blog commenters have identified the numerous inspections and required repairs that KCHA can mandate within a 7-14 day repair timeframe.

Here's some other concerning things from the KCHA website:

You [landlord] must not receive any payment other than tenant rent. (So what about payments for damages, reimbursement if they break HOA rules and a fine is charged to the owner of the unit, etc?) You [landlord] must make sure that only the tenant and family members listed on the lease live in the unit. (KCHA must approve all room-mates, so does this mean a landlord is required to do a daily "bed check?") If you [landlord] wish to raise the rent, you may not do it during the first year and you will only be able to do it if you follow three steps 1) Notice the tenant AND KCHA 60 days in advance, 2) Allow KCHA to determine if new rent is reasonable, 3) Wait 30 more days while KCHA processes the rent increase (by the way since KCHA is paying the rent, are they really likely to be objective in deciding if a rent increase is reasonable?) Damage Repair - You [landlord] inform the tenant in writing of the items they must fix and you send a copy to KCHA. You [landlord] will be notified as to whether KCHA agrees with you. "KCHA will work with you to determine who pays." You [landlord] are responsible for seeking legal judgement if damage exceeds normal wear and tear (you cannot just charge for the damage, you must go to court... great use of attorneys) If tenant moves out and still owes the landlord money, you [landlord] take them to court and receive a judgement (more attorneys... whoo-hoo!!) KCHA has limited ability to help with the collection of money owed (aka: You are on your own) KCHA cannot cover unpaid utility bills (aka: You are on your own)

Karen Levenson