Frequently Asked Questions

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City of Janesville Rent Assistance

How do I apply for rent assistance?

The City of Janesville Rent Assistance waiting list is now closed, and we are not accepting new applications. There are some additional private rental housing units that offer assistance for low income individuals in Janesville. They each have their own admission rules. We would encourage you to contact them directly as we are unaware of their waiting lists and vacancies. Their contact information is as follows:

Grant Village  2007 King St  755-1755 
Hamilton Terrace 1400 Hamilton Avenue 757-2892
Janesville Commons 3720 LaMancha Drive 754-3178
Lexington Townhomes 2633 North Lexington Drive (920) 568-8862

If you are elderly (age 65 or older) or disabled, you may also want to consider:

Garden Court 208 North Main Street 755-1755
Green Forest Run I Apartments 1639 Green Forest Run (414) 228-1122
Lutheran Social Services (Disabled only) 1837 Alden Road 752-4259
Riverview Heights 930 N Washington Street 752-5999

Where am I on the waiting list for rent assistance?
The length of the waiting list is constantly changing and it is impossible to predict when your name will come to the top of the list because it depends on when other families leave the program and when funding becomes available.

When your name comes to the top of the waiting list, you will receive a letter in the mail. Once you are placed on the waiting list, it is very important to let us know if your mailing address changes. We will only correspond with you by mail, and it is your responsibility to keep us updated with your family's mailing address.

I can't pay my rent this month and my landlord is going to evict me. Where can I get help?
The City of Janesville does not provide emergency rent assistance. Funds may be available through either ECHO 754-5333 or the Salvation Army 757-8300.

Do I have to have children to apply for rent assistance?
No, a family can be made up of one or more persons. Eligibility is based on income. You must be considered low income to be eligible. Income is based upon Rock County median income guidelines.

If I apply for rent assistance in Janesville, am I on wait lists in other cities/counties?
No. The Janesville application covers only Janesville Wisconsin. When vouchers are issued to a Housing Authority, it is for people who live in that city. Other Housing Authorities in Rock County include:

Evansville Housing Authority - (608) 882-4518
Beloit Housing Authority - (608) 364-8740 

What if my rent is too high for the family who wishes to rent from me?
HUD regulations will not allow us to sign a HAP Contract where the family would be paying more than $40.00 (if the family has little to no income) or over 40% of the family’s adjusted income towards rent. If your proposed rent is too high, we will ask that you lower it for the first year of tenancy.

Can I raise the rent when I am renting to a Voucher Holder?
Yes, you may raise the rent at the annual review time and with a 60 day notice to the Housing Authority. If the increased rent is comparable to other unassisted rentals in the area, the increase will be approved. If rent comparisons cannot be supplied or found, you will be advised that we cannot grant the requested increase.

The voucher holder renting from me has not paid their rent and/or they are damaging the unit?  What can I do?
You should treat the voucher holder as you would any unassisted tenant. You must supply our office with a copy of any and all notices regarding non-payment of rents or for any other reason. As a landlord, you should proceed to terminate tenancy in accordance with Wisconsin Statutes.

What should I do as a landlord if a voucher holder is interested in renting my unit?
Landlords should screen all unit applicants. We are unable to provide information to landlords regarding Voucher holders. We strongly advise all landlords to use all or some of the following screening procedures:

Credit check
Criminal check
Landlord reference
Home visits

Landlords are reminded that it is illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, country of birth, handicap, or familial status.

I have a rental unit and I would like to rent to a voucher holder. How can I list this?
The Neighborhood & Community Services office maintains a binder at the front counter that landlords may access at any time to insert flyers or notices of available units for rent.

I have done my background checks and want to rent to a voucher holder.  What happens next?
If you decide to accept the voucher holder/household as a tenant, you must agree to enter into a one-year lease for the initial term of tenancy. The unit must pass Housing Quality Standards and you must sign a Housing Assistance Contract with the Housing Authority. The voucher holder will provide you with a Request for Tenancy Approval form to be completed by both parties. When this form is returned to our office, along with a filled out, but unsigned one year lease, it will be approved by the Housing Authority and we will schedule an inspection of the proposed unit. If the unit fails inspection, the landlord will be given notice of what repairs are required and once repairs are completed, an inspector will come out to do the re-inspection. Upon a passing inspection, all parties will sign the appropriate documents: tenant worksheet, lease, lease addendums, and HAP contract. Payment will begin on the 1st of the month after the unit passes inspection.

May I collect a Security Deposit?
Yes! Definitely! Owners are allowed to collect a security deposit equal to the amount charged to non-voucher holders. Any damages done to the unit are the responsibility of the participant.

May I charge for other items?
Any side charges such as pet fees, extra fees for garages, fees for washer/dryer, etc. must be approved by the Housing Authority and included in the lease/lease addendum.

What is a Housing Assistance Payment Contract?
A Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract is a HUD document between the property owner and the Housing Authority. The HAP Contract explains the owner’s responsibilities and commits HUD funds for a particular family at a particular address.

What happens after you receive my rent assistance application?
When we receive an application, we enter it into our database and the applicant’s name is placed on our waiting list. Names are placed on the waiting list by the date and time we receive your application. A letter will be sent to you when your name comes to the top of our waiting list.

What background check is done?  Can I have a criminal history?
We check the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offenders database. Sex offenders subject to the lifetime Sex Offender Registry cannot participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program. A person who has been arrested for drug-related criminal activity within the last twelve (12) month period and/or has been convicted of drug related crimes or violent criminal activity two (2) or more times in the last three (3) years or has a history of these items may not be eligible for the program.

We also check a Federal data base to see if you have been terminated from assistance, or if you owe another Housing Authority money. If you owe money, you may not be eligible for the program.

Why are the rent assistance waiting lists so long?
The lists are long because funding for this program is limited. Congress determines the amount of funding the Housing Choice Voucher program will receive in their budget. HUD then decides from those figures, how much each Housing Authority receives. The Housing Authority helps as many families as possible with the money available. Each family receiving voucher assistance will keep their assistance until they no longer need it or are terminated from the program. Once the HUD money is fully committed, we are unable to help new families until someone leaves the program.

I need Emergency Assistance now.  I am about to be homeless.
The Housing Choice Voucher program is not an emergency based program. We have no emergency funds. You may wish to contact, Echo, the House of Mercy or the YWCA.

I have a voucher but do not have money for the security deposit.  Does this program help pay security deposits?
No, the Housing Choice Voucher program assists with rents only.

What are the requirements for an owner’s rental unit to participate in the rent assistance program?
The unit must meet HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and the rent must be approvable within HUD Fair Market Rent and market rate comparable. A voucher holder cannot pay more than 40% of their income toward rent and utilities.