Setting Rent

What Rent To Request?

Many property owners believe they will be able to get more from a Section 8 rental than from renting on the open market. However, the amount of rent you are allowed will be affected by two factors:

Is the rent reasonable in comparison to like units?
Is the cost to the family for both rent and utilities within 40% of their income?

Rent Reasonable

Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority (CKHA) will determine whether your requested rent is reasonable in comparison to similar unassisted properties in the area. Rent Reasonableness is done at the time of the inspection and takes into consideration such factors as the size, condition and location of the property, as well as any amenities that are included (central air conditioning, dishwashers, etc.). If the requested rent is not reasonable you will be asked to lower the rent.

Cost to the Family

Assisted families are responsible for paying 30% of their income toward rent and utilities. Charleston-Kanawha Housing pays the difference up to the Payment Standard for their bedroom size. Families never pay less than 30%, but if the cost of rent and utilities is over the payment standard, the family may pay the difference as long as the amount is within 40% of their income. If it does exceed 40%, staff will inform you of what rent amount would be affordable for the family.

Payment Standard

The amount of assistance CKHA provides is based on Fair Market Rents established by HUD. From these amounts CKHA sets the payment standards by bedroom size. The rates change annually around October 1st.

Utility Rates

Below is the approximate cost in utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer, and trash) for each bedroom size in Clay, Kanawha and Putnam counties. If you deduct this amount from the Payment Standard you will arrive at a rent most families will be able to afford.

Setting the Rent - An Example

If you are renting a 2 bedroom apartment, with the tenant paying all utilities, your rent could be no more than $483 if the family has zero income. This is determined by:

  $721 (Payment Standard) - $238 (Tenant paid utilities) = $483 (maximum rent amount)

Remember, the family must pay 30% toward rent and utilities and CKHA will pay the difference. If the family’s income is $0, then 30% is $0. CKHA would pay all the rent ($483) and give the family $188 towards their utilities. If the rent and utilities exceeded the applicable payment standard ($721) then the family would be paying more than 30% and they would not have the income to pay it.

More rent could be requested if all or part of the utilities were included in the rent and/or if the family has income. Generally, even for families with income you would want to set you rent close to these guidelines.

In the end, the amount of rent you request or can accept is a business decision that you have to make. CKHA strongly recommends that you not permit a family to move into a unit until it has passed inspection and the rent amount has been finalized.


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