Do I have to include utilities in the rent payment for the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
No. As a landlord, you can decide who is responsible for paying utilities. If a tenant is responsible for paying utilities, this must be indicated on the Request for Tenancy Approval and in the lease. Utilities must be individually metered in order to be approved by the voucher program.
Does my property have to be pre-qualified to be included in the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
No. The St. Louis Park Housing Authority does not pre-qualify properties. Each time a landlord rents to a voucher holder, their property/unit will be screened for affordability and an inspection will take place. Typically, the Housing Choice Voucher inspection does not have as strict of standards as the city inspection that is needed for a landlord's rental license.
Does the Housing Authority cover any damages left after a family has moved out?
No. A landlord that participates in the Housing Choice Voucher Program would handle any damages left by a tenant the same way they would handle those from an unsubsidized tenant. If a tenant leaves your property not in good standing or has been evicted, they can or will lose their voucher. Anytime a landlord issues a lease violation to a tenant, it is recommended that they copy the Housing Authority they work with and follow up with them.
How can I make sure my water meter or meter interface unit (MIU) is not damaged when I am doing home remodeling work?
When you are making these improvements, make sure the water meter and MIU remain accessible after the work is complete, and that the wiring between the meter and MIU is not damaged.
Put sheetrock over the wiring in basements. Screws may accidentally be run over the wire, either pinching it or breaking the wire completely.
Cover the MIU with sheetrock.
When re-siding your home, do not cut the MIU wire or throw the MIU away. There is a $100 fee for replacing MIUs.
Contact public works at 952.924.2562 if you are re-siding your home. Public works staff can then remove the MIU and reinstall it after the siding work is complete. The siding company will need to drill a ½” hole where the existing MIU is mounted so the MIU wire can be reconnected and the unit can be mounted in the same location
If you have any additional questions, contact the public works department at 952.924.2562.
How do I apply for a Community Development Block Grant?
A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program that provides communities, like St. Louis Park, with funding to address a wide range of activities benefiting low- to moderate-income households in the community.
Beginning in 2018, CDBG funds for social services will be awarded through combined Request for Proposals (RFP) coordinated by Hennepin County, and in partnership with St. Louis Park and other participating suburban cities. Read the Hennepin County CDBG Request for Proposals Guide.
To apply for a grant, organizations must have 501(c) (3) status, and activities must benefit low- to moderate-income households in St. Louis Park.
January 2018 - The application process begins with an advertisement by Hennepin County and on the city’s website. The advertisement informs the interested organizations providing social services about the availability of CDBG funds.
Feb. 27, 2018 - All the interested organizations must submit their applications to Hennepin County by 4:30 p.m.
May to July 2018 - Hennepin County Board and HUD approve the funding awards.
How do I make my property eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
There is no official certification process to be a Housing Choice Voucher landlord. A Housing Authority establishes policies and procedure, which are based on federal laws and regulations, they must follow to add any unit or property to the program. Contact the St. Louis Park Housing Authority at 952.924.2579 for additional information.
How do I pay online if I own multiple properties in St. Louis Park?
If you own more than one property, you can link them together in the online bill pay system. When registering your accounts, use the same email address and password for all your different accounts. You can then link the accounts and select multiple invoices by only signing in once. You can also request courtesy emails to be sent to your tenants when their account has been billed. A video on account linking can be found by clicking on "Support" → “Help – User Videos" → “Account Linking.”
Is a construction management plan required for my project?
Major additions (second story additions or additions of 500 square feet or more), demolitions and new construction are required to have a construction management plan (CMP). The purpose of the CMP is to provide neighbors with information about what is happening at the property and contact information on who to call if they have concerns during construction. It may include sending written notification to neighbors within 200 feet of the property, a neighborhood meeting and/or signage. View the construction management plan page to view the CMP packet for more information.
Is anything different when I check in to vote?
Similar to all other elections, before you receive a ballot, you will be asked to sign an oath that you are eligible to vote in the election. For the March 3 election, state law requires that this oath also contain an additional line that reads "I certify that I am in general agreement with the principles of the party for whose candidate I intend to vote."
The rent I need to charge is higher than the Housing Authority will allow, and I can't afford to lower my rent. The family has offered to pay the difference, is that ok?
No. That would be considered fraud. Any payments between a landlord and tenant need to be disclosed in your lease. The portion of rent the tenant is responsible for is determined by the Housing Authority. In this case, the landlord would need to tell the family they are not able to work with them.
What is an appropriate response when someone asks if I accept housing vouchers?
The St. Louis Park Housing Authority encourages landlords to have specific written criteria for their tenants, and to consistently adhere to it. When a voucher holder applies, a typical response from a landlord could include, “I am willing to work with the voucher program, as long as the applicant is able to pass my screening criteria.” If you are a landlord that works with the program regularly, including information in your marketing materials such as "Rental Assistance Accepted" will let voucher holders know you are willing to work with them.
What process should a landlord follow if they decide to rent to a voucher holder?
A landlord should screen voucher holders like any other tenants. While the screening process is taking place, a landlord may fill out a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) form. The RTA lets the Housing Authority (HA) know about the unit the tenant is wanting to rent. The tenant is responsible for returning the form, along with an unexecuted lease, to the HA by the 15th of the month in order to be assisted for the following month. We encourage tenants not to leave this form with landlords due to the time-sensitive nature of the program.
Once the HA receives the RTA form, the unit is determined to be affordable or not based on the agency’s payment standards and the family’s income. After the unit is determined to be affordable, the HA will contact the landlord to schedule and complete a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection. The inspection must pass by the first of the month. A unit cannot be included in the program if it does not pass the HQS inspection.
The landlord is required to fill out a W9, sign a HAP contract and submit the executed lease to the HA. At that point, the landlord can be paid based on the HA’s practices.
When I move out of my house, does the city turn off the water?
No. The city does not turn off the water when someone moves out. City staff will obtain a meter reading and send out a final bill.