Chicago Affordable Housing 101: Tenants & Landlords

By | Agents, brokers, Property Management, Property Managemnt, real estate, Real Estate Investment, tenants

A basic guide to Chicago Affordable Housing Options for both renters and owners

The Chicago Housing Authority is the third largest public housing agency in the nation. CHA serves more than 20,000 low-income households, by providing safe, decent and affordable housing in healthy, vibrant communities. Public housing provides homes for families, the elderly and those with disabilities from scattered single family houses to apartments for elderly families.

There has long been a stigma against those on the Affordable Housing scheme. Now, with a significant portion of Chicago’s population still financially reeling from the pandemic, the market for affordable housing has increased dramatically in the past year.

For tenants seeking information on how to apply for this affordable housing, they are advised that CHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (previously called Section 8) allows low-income families to rent quality housing in the private market via federal funds.

Through this Program, CHA pays a portion of eligible families’ rent each month directly to the property owner. Families can use their vouchers to rent a house or apartment in the private market throughout the city of Chicago.  Because there are more families who need rental assistance than there are funds available, CHA uses a waiting list to administer the program to eligible families. Names are selected for the waiting list randomly using a lottery process. Participants in the HCV program pay approximately 30% of their income for rent and utilities. Applicants are advised to check the eligibility requirements to qualify for the HCV Program before applying.

For landlords interested in having their private property being leased to Affordable Housing applicants, the following steps summarize the process to become an HCV property owner:

  1. Attend Owner Briefing (Recommended)
  2. Market your property
  3. Complete and submit a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA)
  4. Pass Housing Quality Standards CHA owner eligibility screening (HQS) Inspection
  5. Accept CHA rent offer
  6. Execute lease and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract
  7. Comply with HUD and CHA’s rules and regulations

Every Regional provides a resource center that includes a wide range of information, internet access, property listings.  Each resource center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

For more information see the Property Owner Guidebook.

While this route is not for every landlord/property owner, it may be an option for some who have never thought to consider it before. As with non-HCVP tenants, there are pros and cons to this decision that may not be for everyone. This is simply an informative guide meant to explore the many options available to Chicago property owners.

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Some advantages/incentives include:

In order to provide an incentive for property owners to rent units to CHA voucher holders in “Mobility Areas,” the Chicago Housing Authority is implementing a program that provides new HCV property owners an additional lump sum payment equal to the monthly contract rent if they lease a unit to a voucher holder in these designated areas. Effective March 1, 2018, a Mobility Area is defined as a Chicago community area with 20% or fewer of its families with income below the poverty level and a below median reported violent crime count (normalized by the community area’s total population). Some community areas with improving poverty and violent crime rates along with significant job clusters are also designated as Mobility Areas.

Under state law, Illinois property owners who rent to participants in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program may receive property tax abatement (“tax savings”) in an amount up to 19% of a property’s Equalized Assessed Value (EAV). The actual amount will depend upon tax rates, the state equalizer, EAV and the number of qualified units rented to HCV Program participants. This however, is dependent on meeting certain criteria.

CHA portion of rent is guaranteed on-time income so long as inspections are passed and the property is kept in good condition for the tenant(s).

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Some consequences/disadvantages include:

The CHA requires regular inspections of the property to maintain its habitable condition for the tenants. This involves planning, paperwork and if an inspection fails, owners will not receive rental income until the failing items have been corrected.

As this program is for low-income residents, there may be maintenance issues that a financially independent tenant would deal with but a HCVP tenant can not afford. Some of those items are the ones that often crop up in the county inspections.  Others are lease obligations a HCVP tenant can’t cover

Learn More About Chicago Affordable Housing. Give us a shout today.


or call

(844) 355-6389

Chicago Pre-Move-In Checklist

By | tenants

We know moving to a new home can be a crazy time, so to help make the transition as smooth as possible we have prepared a list of items that will help you prepare for your upcoming move and settling into your new home.

1. Transfer Your Utilities

Prior to the first day of your lease agreement, you will need to transfer all applicable utilities into your name.  At the end of your lease you will need to transfer the utilities out of your name. Please do not shut utilities off at the end of your lease, as the new tenants will be transferring the utilities into their names.  Depending on which utilities are included in your rent (see your lease agreement), you will likely need to contact the below utility companies in order to start your gas & electricity services.  Please note that cable, telephone and Internet providers vary by service area.

2. Forward Your Mail

Contact the United States Postal Service (USPS) as far ahead of your move-in date as possible to notify them of your new address so your mail will be properly forwarded.

3. Obtain Renter’s Insurance

We highly recommend you obtain renter’s insurance.  Maintaining renter’s insurance protects your personal property in the unlikely event that it becomes damaged or stolen. Please understand that neither the owner of your unit nor Lofty is responsible for any damage to your personal belongings. We recommend you contact your insurance agent for more information on obtaining renter’s insurance.

4. Schedule Your Move-in with the Condominium Association

If your new home is located in a condominium association, it’s likely you will need to schedule your move with the condominium association management company directly.  Please note that many condominium associations require you to complete move-in forms and submit move-in fees and/or deposits prior to your move.   Failure to properly schedule your move-in with the condominium association may result in penalties and/or a delay in your move date.  If you need help hiring a moving company to help you move into your new place please feel free to reach out to your property manager for a recommendation from our network of trusted vendors.

5. Schedule Your Walk-through with Lofty

Your primary property manager will contact you ahead of your move-in to welcome you to your new home and schedule an initial walk-through of your unit.  The walk-through is intended to document the condition of your new home at the time of move in.  A second walk-through will be scheduled at move out.

And that’s it! If you take a few minutes out of your day to follow these 5 simple tips the move into your new home will go smoother than ever before! As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to your property manager or the team at Lofty, we are always excited to help!