In calculating the gross rent for units leased under the housing choice voucher program, as well as the HAP payment for which the family qualifies, a PHA must consider not only the contract rent that is paid to the owner, but also the anticipated cost of any utilities that the tenant family is required to pay. The request for tenancy approval submitted by the owner and the prospective tenant tells the PHA the utilities the tenant will pay for directly, and the utilities that are included in the rent. These provisions are incorporated into the lease and the HAP contract. Any time a change is made in the responsibility for payment of utility expenses, the owner and the tenant must report the change to the PHA so that the contract rent and the utility allowance can be adjusted accordingly.
A PHA is responsible for establishing and maintaining a utility allowance schedule that provides reasonable allowances for tenant-paid utilities, which are used in calculating the gross rent. The utility allowance is intended to enable participating families to pay typical costs for utilities and services paid by energy-conserving households occupying units of similar size and type in the same locality. If the family is extravagant in its use of utilities, the additional costs incurred are not the responsibility of the PHA.
Payment of bills for tenant-paid utilities is the responsibility of the family, and any interruption or termination of utility services because of the family’s failure to pay is considered a breach of the family’s obligations under the housing choice voucher program.
The Jefferson Parish has adopted the HUD Utility Model to calculate the following utility allowance schedule for each class of residence.