Tenant Responsibilities

Swapping a set of keys and a contract

Arlington County Housing Choice Voucher (ACHCV) Program tenants must:

  • Keep their rental unit clean and free of all dirt and debris (poor housekeeping may be considered a lease violation)
  • Report all maintenance repairs to their landlord
  • For safety reasons, keep heaters/water heaters free from trash, flammable articles/liquids or any other items


  • The tenant must notify the landlord if an item needs repair. If the landlord doesn’t repair the item within a reasonable time, the tenant may contact the ACHCV Program and request a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection.

  • Upon finding the deficient item, the HQS inspector will contact the landlord in writing. (The HQS inspector will contact the landlord by phone if the item poses an immediate threat to health and safety.)

  • If the deficient item remains unrepaired within the allotted time frame, the HQS inspector will recommend that housing assistance payments stop (abatement) until the repair has been made.

  • If the landlord still doesn’t make the repair, the ACHCV Program will issue the tenant a new voucher to look for other housing and will terminate the current contract after notifying the tenant and landlord.

  • For housing assistance to continue, the tenant must find other suitable housing within the allotted time frame. If the tenant can’t find housing and the current unit still doesn’t pass inspection, the tenant’s housing assistance will be terminated.

  • If the landlord makes the repairs, the HQS inspector will verify the repair, and the housing assistance payments will restart. (During the repair period, the tenant must continue paying rent under the lease agreement terms.)

  • If the ACHCV Program determines the tenant caused the item deficiency, the tenant must make the repair within an allotted time frame, and the landlord’s rent won’t be abated. Failure to do so will result in the ACHCV Program terminating the tenant’s housing assistance, after providing an opportunity for an informal hearing.

  • The ACHCV Program considers certain item deficiencies to be the tenant’s responsibility:
    • Nonworking, tenant-paid utilities
    • Failure to provide or maintain family-supplied appliances
    • Damage, beyond ordinary wear and tear*, caused by a household member or guest
  • The HQS inspection supervisor approves all repair extension requests.


  • Unit damage, beyond ordinary wear and tear*, can be considered a lease violation and must be repaired.

  • If the tenant causes the damage, the tenant must make the repair.

  • If the landlord repairs tenant-related damage, the landlord may bill the tenant.

  • If a tenant moves out prior to damage repair, the tenant’s ACHCV Program assistance may be terminated for lease violations.

Lease Termination

  • The landlord may terminate the lease if the tenant:
    • Violates the lease
    • Participates in drug-related or violent criminal activity
    • Participates in other inappropriate behavior (e.g., disturbing the neighbors or damaging the unit or property)
  • The landlord can choose not to renew the lease at the end of any term and must provide the ACHCV Program with a copy of any notices sent to the tenant, including a move or eviction notice.

  • The landlord and the tenant may mutually terminate the lease at any time. In this case, the landlord and tenant must sign and provide the ACHCV Program with a Mutual Rescission of Lease.

*Ordinary wear and tear refers to items that can’t be charged against the tenant’s security deposit under state law or court practice.