Section 8 - tenant screening

7 Replies

I’m new to all of this, just started listening to podcasts/YouTube this month. I understand there’s a type of bias clause when searching for tenants, such as you’re not allowed to reject one tenant over the other because of a “feeling.” Also, I’ve been reading that section 8 tenants come in a variety of flavors but the majority are not quality. And so, how could one create a tenant screening to vet out all the less than quality applicants?

I’m interested in section 8 tenants because they seem to stick around, which means less vacancy time and work for me.

Side note- I’m also interested in investing outside of my current city and am looking to partner up somehow. Thanks

Checking with their previous landlord is very important. Criminal background check is important.
You will hear people say section 8 is a bad idea but I have two properties in the program and they are excellent tenants because they don’t want to get kicked out of the program. As well, first of month the money is in my account.

@Jennifer D. Screen a Section 8 applicant just like you would any other applicant. Put them through credit, criminal, eviction checks. The only real difference is you will only weight the part of the monthly rent they have to come up with that is not covered by their voucher. 

For instance if the rent is $900 and their voucher only covers $600, you want to make sure they have the income to cover that $300 monthly payment. 

Thanks guys! I don’t know how want I use the @ thing, so I hope you both get this!

As stated you screen as you would any other applicant except employment of course. Set your base standards and hold out for the best. Simply because someone is on welfare does not mean they are not responsible money managers although it is very rare since they have chosen to not advance financially. 

Yes you absolutely can reject on a feeling. Applicants with body odder, unkempt appearance, attitude, messy car, facial tattoos any reason you may have. There is no protected class regarding those that send off a bad vibe.

Additionally unless your state requires you to select the first qualified, you always hold out and choose the best applicant. If you want to be successful in business choosing the best based on your criteria is always necessary. Remember the purpose of screening is to find any and all reasons to reject applicants. You are not seeking a qualified applicant you are attempting to mitigate risk by eliminating all unqualified applicants. You then choose the best from those that remaine.

In states requiring you to accept the first qualified you must set and write down your screening standards and make sure you set them very high, unreasonably high. This way when no one meets the standards you may still then choose the most qualified from all applicants.

If you wish to survive in this business, especially if you are renting to S8, it is mandatory that you place your priorities on proper screening standards. Waver and you will be sorry. You have only one chance to not get a bad tenant. 

My not think of applicants as people, view them only as a collection of facts and data, there is absolutely no place for personal emotions in business. When their sob story starts turn them off.

Thanks Thomas! Well on that not then would it be better to give that task to a property manager (firm)? Would it be best to just eat the property myself then turn everything over?


Many, not all, property managers will place the first applicant with a heart beat.If you use a PM you must train them to your standards. It is best that you learn to do it yourself so that when you do switch to a PM you will know if they are doing it right.

No one cares as much about your property as you.

Thanks Thomas. I guess that means I should stay local. I do worry that Houston is too saturated, though. But I guess that means I’m going to have to get creative about my business

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