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Program Options

MBQ administers two types of rental assistance programs: the Tenant-Based Voucher Program and the Project-Based Voucher Program. In either case, you maintain control over your own property management decisions. You screen and make your own decisions about applicant suitability as a tenant, using the same criteria in accordance with Fair Housing Laws as you use to screen any other prospective tenant.

Tenant-Based Voucher Program

In the Tenant-Based Voucher Program, families are issued vouchers and conduct their own housing searches. At the end of the tenancy, and as long as the family is in good standing with MBQ and the landlord, the family can use their voucher assistance to rent another unit. Key features of the tenant based program:

  • Rental assistance is tied to the family, not the unit.
  • Owners select from well-qualified applicants referred by MBQ.
  • The initial term of the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract is the same as the initial term of the lease (typically one year).
  • Units that participate in the Special Mobility Housing Choice Voucher Program must be located in MBQ identified Opportunity Neighborhoods.
  • Housing assistance is based on family income. To prevent an undue rent burden, the family cannot contribute more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income toward rent and utilities.

Project-Based Voucher Program

In the Project-Based Voucher Program, rental assistance is tied to the property, not the family. Certain units are designated for the program, and MBQ refers well-qualified applicants for their rental. The program is governed by a contract between the owner and MBQ. When the tenant moves out, MBQ must refer more well-qualified candidates for the landlord to choose.

Key features of the project-based program:

  • Owners select their tenants from well-qualified clients referred by MBQ.
  • Assistance is available for up to 25% of the total units in a building.
  • Priority is given to applications that have three or more bedrooms.
  • Eligible locations are areas that MBQ has determined as allowable.
  • The gross monthly rent (rent plus utilities) cannot exceed the currently approved payment standards for that area (determined by census tract).
  • Vacancy loss payments are available at the time of unit turnover; maximum vacancy loss is 60 days.
  • Incentive payments (subject to funding availability) are possible at the time of initial leasing, based upon the size of the unit and length of project-based Housing Assistance Payments contract.
  • The contract term can go up to 15 years.
  • Enrolling in the Project-Based Voucher Program starts with an application from the owner. The owner signs an Agreement to Enter into a Project-Based HAP Contract (AHAP), which confirms the type of ownership, the number of units and bedroom sizes of the units to be assisted, the actual addresses of the assisted units, utilities  allowances, and other details.


Toll free: 877-813-4MBQ | Phone: 410-223-2222 | Fax: 410-223-2223 |
20 South Charles Street, Suite 800, Baltimore, MD 21201
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm

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