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Step-by-Step Guide to Leasing

For a printable version of the step-by-step guide to renting a unit to a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance recipient, CLICK HERE.

Step 1: Find a Tenant

Use listing sites like and other resources to post the unit(s) and indicate that you will accept a tenant who receives Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance from the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC).

From the inquiries you receive, screen prospective tenants for the unit(s). You are encouraged to conduct a thorough screening of prospective tenants.


Step 2: Request a Tenancy Approval Packet

When you identify a prospective tenant for the unit, the tenant will provide you with the Request for Tenancy Approval (RTFA) Packet. This packet has the information and forms required to start the move process.

You or the tenant can return the completed and signed RFTA Packet and forms along with a copy of an unexecuted lease agreement to SDHC, unless you choose to use an SDHC-approved lease agreement.


Step 3: SDHC Review

SDHC will review both the RFTA Packet and your lease agreement to ensure that both meet the following criteria:

- The rent does not exceed what the family can afford to pay.

- There are no conflicts with program rules.

- There is compliance with state and local laws.

- The initial lease term is at least six months.

- The lease agreement outlines which utilities and appliances will be provided and by whom (landlord pays water, tenant provides refrigerator, etc.).

Step 4: Unit Inspection

When SDHC determines that the RFTA Packet and lease agreement meet the required criteria, the unit will be scheduled for an inspection. SDHC staff will contact you to schedule an appointment.

SDHC is required to ensure that all housing units occupied by Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance participants meet certain health and safety standards.

These "Housing Quality Standards" are set by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).

Step 5. Move in

When the unit passes inspection and the rent amount is approved, and once the tenant's 30-day notice period to their previous landlord has passed, the tenant can move in.

SDHC staff will prepare and mail the final documents. The Housing Assistance Payments Contract/Lease Addendum will need to be signed and returned before payments begin.

Step 6: Payment Issued

Once the contract and lease are signed and returned, SDHC will process and issue the initial payment. 

The payment will be directly deposited into your bank account each month. SDHC continues to issue payments as long as the unit meets Housing Quality Standards and the assisted family meets eligibility requirements and complies with program rules and regulations.

At the end of the calendar year, SDHC will send you an Internal Revenue Service Form 1099-MISC (Miscellaneous Income Form) for your tax records.


Step 7: Continued Occupancy

Each assisted household is required to have its eligibility reviewed to ensure they continue to qualify for rental assistance.

Family income is reviewed and the unit and participant’s portion of the rent may be re-determined. Continuing occupancy does not require a new lease or contract.

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