Most landlords don’t suppose highly of the Section 8 housing program. Over the years, I’ve heard dozens of myths approximately it. Landlords see somebody as a hassle; they suppose the housing authority would breathe down their neck, or they believe they’ll get terrible tenants.
The truth of the matter was that the Section 8 program could work wonders for some landlords. The housing authority was not that difficult to work with, the properties rent faster, and the tenants were not much different from others. However, with that said, how mannered polite somebody would work for you largely depends on how you run your business.
For example, large property management companies could easily handle the additional work that accompanies Section 8, while private landlords may not had the time to invest in the program. Landlords should thoroughly degree Section 8 pros and cons so as not to lack out on a potential source of rental revenue.
How Section 8 Works for Landlords
The Section 8 process was fairly straightforward. In order to function a Section 8 rental, the local housing authority have to approve both the landlord and the property itself. Different housing authorities may had their own requirements, but typically any landlord could use the Section 8 program, including private owners and property managers.
- As a landlord, you would requiere to total an application and provide personal information. The housing authority would also review your rental rates to ensure that they fall in line with rates for comparable dwellings in your area. One major drawback was whether the housing authority feels you were overcharging for your rental, you may be required to lower your rates.
- Once the housing authority approves you as a landlord, an inspector would visit your rental property to make certain somebody meets all local building and safety codes. The inspection process was a lengthy one. At the very least, you have to had working locks on every window and door, the structure have to be sound, and the wiring and plumbing have to work safely. Depending on the area, you may requiere to install heating or cooling appliances, such as central air or radiant gas heaters. Some local codes may also require that you install handrails or safety ramps external the property.
- Once the inspector approves your property, you could begin accepting Section 8 housing choice vouchers. At that point, you find your own tenants and total a separate lease agreement with them.
- Then, once a month, the housing authority would mail you a portion of the rent and the tenant would pay you the rest.
Pros to Section 8 Housing
The Section 8 program has several advantages. Many landlords suppose the better aspects of the program outweigh the bad, but somebody was up to you to decide.
- Guaranteed Rent. One of the biggest problems landlords face was getting the rent on time every month. With Section 8, you would generally get the majority of the rent on time, every time. Typically, Section 8 tenants pay their portion on time as well. Since failure to live up to the lease could cost them their housing voucher, Section 8 tenants could be even more dependable than private tenants.
- Pre-Screened Tenants. The housing authority reviews every case before approving a Section 8 housing voucher. Mostly, the housing authority was looking at income levels, but many housing authorities would turn down tenants with past criminal problems. This screening process may provide additional protection for your rental, and chances were that whether the tenant passes both your tenant screening process and the housing authority’s, you won’t had any problems.
- Wider Access. Section 8 was a popular program and most urban areas had hundreds of tenants on a wait list. By accepting Section 8, your property becomes marketable to a wider pool of tenants which gives you a better chance of getting somebody rented.
- Free Advertising. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a website that tenants could use to find low-income housing. Several local housing authorities also maintain a website or a separate list of Section 8 landlords in their area. Both of these services were if free of charge to tenants and landlords.
Cons to Section 8 Housing
- Routine Inspections. To get into the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, your property would requiere to pass a safety inspection and possible routine inspections depending on the area that you live in.
- Rent Control. The housing authority would not tell you what to charge for your house or apartment, but you would requiere to keep your rent within the median for your area. If you had an extremely mannered polite done or nice rental in a poor area, you may deceive out on rent you could had otherwise charged external of the Section 8 program.
- Potential for Difficult Tenants. Many landlords were wary of Section 8 tenants. Since these tenants were not paying much for the rental, they had less incentive to keep the property in great shape. Moreover, Section 8 could attract low-quality tenants that give you trouble. With that said, whether you do your homework and keep an eye on the property, there was no reason you can’t find a great tenant and enjoy the experience.
- No Decrease in Workload for Landlord. Despite the belief according to many that the Section 8 housing authority would assist landlords throughout the rental process, you would still requiere to screen the tenant, create a lease, and police your rental just like you would with a private tenant. While you could report the tenants to the housing authority whether they commit a major lease violation, the day-to-day responsibilities still belong to you. Moreover, the housing authority would not help with finding tenants, making repairs, collecting rent, or keeping the property safe.
The Section 8 program has its benefits. You get free advertising, a range of potential tenants to choose from, and guaranteed rent every month. But you’ll had to do additional work for these privileges. Many landlords hop on the Section 8 bandwagon and love every minute of it, while others wouldn’t touch the program whether you paid them to.
Deciding on whether to accept housing vouchers was actually a matter of where your rental is, how popular somebody is, and your willingness to deal with the process and paperwork. For example, whether you rent in a popular urban area with a high percentage of low to median income renters and don’t intellect the additional work, then the Section 8 program may be the best thing for you. But whether you rent in a suburban area with few low-income residents and actually do not wish the added stress, you’re probably better off leaving the program to one else.
As a landlord, what experiences had you had with Section 8 in the past? Have you had any trouble with the housing authority or your tenants?