Section 8 questions (Burlington County, NJ)

4 Replies

Hi guys, I have a vacant 3br house in Burlington NJ, and many applicants ask if I accept section 8. I'm looking for general advice in enrolling in the program.

Specific questions include:

1] Looking at the FMR, a 3-BR is listed at $1500. My house is currently listed for less than that. How do I know exactly how much section 8 would pay towards a specific property?

2] What advice would you have regarding screening? 

3] Are there any sec8 optimized lease terms I should consider? 

4] How exactly do I register and get the apartment registered? 

5] Who typically pays for the downpayment? 

Thank you

Hi Louie,

In my experience in Pennsylvania, the section 8 rules can vary by county.  In general, I have had positive experiences with these tenants and prefer them to standard ones given the predictable income each month. 

Regarding screening, you can use whichever tool you use for other properties.  You will still want to conduct a full screening process to include reference checks from previous landlords.

I have had to call my local Housing Authority to establish the program.  You can also visit in person which may be more expedient. 

Typically, the tenant still pays the security deposit. 

You may want to consider hiring a property manager who can perform these tasks if you are investing out of state. 

Hope this helps.

Johnathan

Thanks @Johnathan Alesso ! This helps. My local housing auth page didnt have much so i'll have to call. What about establishing the rent price? 

Establishing your rent price is normally not an issue if you are charging market rent.  I recently ran into an issue in Pennsylvania in which the housing authority depressed my market rent ask because they are underfunded.  I showed that I had 3 other properties identical to that one charging the same rent.  

Their explanation was the housing authority didn't even have the funding at the time (July) to pay all of their existing landlords for the rest of the year, much less new ones; therefore, my rent ask was being chopped.  Nothing was being allowed above the median rent for that type of property (3/1).  I had a choice of take the deal or let my prospect walk.  I took it.

I believe rent increases are still on hold due to the same budgetary reason.

Jim.

In NJ, you cannot discriminate based on source of income, and the section 8 voucher is considered a form of income. So you can't simply say that you will not accept section 8.

The public housing authorities do differ from one county to the next, so you will have to find out the specifics for that county. 

Now, the voucher is called a "housing assistance voucher" - the voucher amount is intended to cover payment for other housing related expenses (utilities and appliances) in addition to rent. If you provide appliances, then you will receive the allowance amount allocated to the provided appliances; for any appliance that is not provided, the tenant gets that allowance since they will somehow have to obtain that appliance themselves. Similarly for utilities; with utilities, the allowance amount will vary by number of bedrooms in the unit; and in my area if the unit comes with AC, and the tenant is responsible for paying the electric bill, then there can be a separate allowance for the electricity used for AC in addition to the "regular" electricity usage. In my units with AC, whenever I get somebody looking that has a section 8 voucher, I tell them to go to their caseworker and get the utility allowance sheet to see how much rent I will actually get; I have found that I won't end up with as much rent when compared to a unit not having AC!

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