Buying Atlanta for section 8

6 Replies

I was talking to an investor in North Ga today. He was saying since the market up this way has leveled. him and his brother have been buying $30 -$45 grand houses in Atlanta for section 8 rentals. Any exp. With this anyone.

Sorry dont want to mislead they have not bought yet in atlanta but were thinking of buying for section 8 rentals. Seams like a relativly inexpensive way to get your feet wet with positive cash flow$$ 

@Heather W is an expert at this.  I've just placed my first S8 tenant in Atlanta.  I was pleased with the quality of the candidate.

In my case, I was able to buy a $42k house and put a $900/mo tenant in the house.  I was open to 'free market' tenants, but I think the rent yield and stability will be better this way.

The tenant pays 1/3 of income towards rent.  AHA pays the balance.  My tenant will pay thru an online service and AHA is direct deposited.  Pretty low effort approach.  IMO.

Hope this helps.


Rick. Thanks for the input. Any search requirments that may be helpful as to area to look at. Work around and in Atl. all the time refinishing bathtubs but not formiliar with the rental market in the city.

@John Dykes


     I love Section 8 in Atlanta.  It has been an affordable way for me to accumulate houses in the $40K price range that consistently rent around $900/month.  The staff in the AHA office is very helpful.  Once the inspectors get to know you then they will let you self-certify most non-safety issues you fail on annual inspections.  The AHA had a goal of trying to trying to serve of 500 more participants this year than last year, so they definitely have a shortage of houses.  In fact, they are so short on one bedroom units you can call over to their office and they will help match you to a tenant ASAP because the waiting list for 1 bedrooms is so long.  I've only been doing this for a few years, but I haven't had any turnover yet with my Section 8 tenants.  I would estimate that each non-Section 8 house of mine takes about twice as much time per month to manage compared to my Section 8 houses.

     The disadvantages are the copious amounts of paperwork and the amount of time it takes from the time you've selected a tenant until he can actually move into your unit.  I live within 20 minutes of my houses and self-manage.  It gives me a real advantage to know my neighbors and to be able to pop into the local AHA office, if needed.  I've gotten two recommendations for good property managers who deal heavily with S8 in Atlanta but I haven't felt the need to use them yet.

     Once last caveat is that each Section 8 office is different.  The AHA requires participants to have a job or be in school to keep their benefits but also has harder inspection requirements than non-MTW offices.  I've just listed a house with the East Point Section 8 office, so we'll see how they compare.  I haven't done anything with the Dekalb Section 8 office, but I've heard less than favorable reviews from other investors.  

     Below is a chart showing each of the different sub-markets the AHA recognizes in the city of Atlanta with minimum and average rents they pay per area.  There are a lot of factors in rent determination for the AHA, but this is a good starting point to help you on your search.

My experience with this and I don't do it anymore was that if the tenants voucher is way less than total rent there is a great chance they will not pay the difference.

So if someone is applying and the difference in rent is 25 bucks that is different than 200 or 250.

Some people have a great experience with section 8 and others can't stand them. I didn't have a great experience. Case worker was always lazy and didn't want to do anything about section 8 tenants violating the lease. The tenants were also lazy and complained that if they worked more at their job then they were re-assessed and had voucher reduced so they had zero motivation.

Section 8 is pot luck so take it small before getting in to deep. 

Thank you all for the reply. It is refreshing to get honest feed back from experienced investors. I think I will keep my eyes open a little more while working in the Atlanta area.

John Dykes

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