Renting to Section 8 Tenants

11 Replies

BP,

In multi-family properties, how has your experiences been in renting to Section 8 tenants? I know an upside is that rent is pretty much guaranteed being the government covers most of it. However has anyone had any horror stories? If you have Section 8 tenants who aren't keeping your place up to standards is it hard to evict them being they're Section 8? Are they a protected class?

Originally posted by @Raylor G. :

BP,

In multi-family properties, how has your experiences been in renting to Section 8 tenants? I know an upside is that rent is pretty much guaranteed being the government covers most of it. However has anyone had any horror stories? If you have Section 8 tenants who aren't keeping your place up to standards is it hard to evict them being they're Section 8? Are they a protected class?

We have an 8-plex and at one time half the units were rented to tenants with Section 8 housing vouchers. Our experience with S8 is good. The S8 tenants are no different than our other tenants and their rental agreement is the same. If we have difficulty with a S8 tenant (only happened once in 20 years) we give notice to the tenant and a copy of the notice to their S8 case manager. The case manager talks to the tenant and so do we, within no time the tenant comes back into compliance with the rental agreement and this saves the tenancy. Our local Housing Authority is efficient and responsive. Unfortunately not all are, so the experience landlords have with S8 really vary, primarily due to how well the S8 program is administered in any given area and how well landlords do their tenant screening.

I personally have not but I have read that even though they are protected by the government, you can still report them and the government will withdraw their protection, so the S8 tenant has an incentive to not trash your unit. One downside is that your property has to meet government standards so I heard some horror stories related to tenants not understanding anything about inspections.

Do some more research here and take a look at Podcast 79.

@Marcia Maynard

Sound like you have had the best case scenario. Thanks for the info. Great stuff!

@Mike Huang

Thanks for the response. I will go back and check out that podcast!

It would seem to me that Section 8 tenants have an extra incentive to remain in compliance with the lease terms if they want to continue getting the voucher - at least if the program is being run correctly in your area as mentioned by @Marcia Maynard

Hi Raylor,  You will have to check the protected classes in your area.  In DC "source of income" is a protected class.  In Maryland, it is not.  Teresa

@Jonathan Smith

I agree. It just seems like back in the day all you heard were horror stories. Guessing times have changed and so have the neighborhoods of S8 tenants.

NA Ferrante

Thank you for the advice. I will be sure to research that.

Originally posted by @Mike Huang :

I personally have not but I have read that even though they are protected by the government, you can still report them and the government will withdraw their protection, so the S8 tenant has an incentive to not trash your unit. One downside is that your property has to meet government standards so I heard some horror stories related to tenants not understanding anything about inspections.

Do some more research here and take a look at Podcast 79.

The S8 inspections are a breeze if your unit is well maintained. Keep your property in good repair; it's in your best interest (and the best interest of your tenant) to do so anyway. Get a checklist of what the S8 inspector is looking for prior to the inspection date and check it out yourself ahead of time. If the inspector notices something that doesn't pass, they notify you, you get it repaired, they return to inspect and the unit passes. Easy-peasy. Our S8 inspections happen every other year. But we do our own periodic inspections at least every 6 months so we can spot tenant problems/maintenance issues and resolve them before they get out of hand.

On the federal level, Section 8 tenants are not a protected class. However, in some state and local jurisdictions you can't blanket discriminate based on source of income or deny to consider a prospective tenant with the S8 Housing Choice Voucher. But if a prospective tenant doesn't meet your other rental criteria, you don't have to accept them. Be sure to screen consistently and fairly. Understanding Fair Housing (HUD) laws and other non-discrimination laws (Federal and State and Local) is paramount.

I've had bad luck with Section 8. They do what they want, how they want it and take forever in doing so. They are a terrible program. back pay is almost impossible to get. I have been preaching for a while that something needs to be done wit them. i have stopped accepting them a few years ago -but tons of back rent owed and plenty existing tenants

@Sara Jeffrey

Sorry for your experience. Those are the stories that I've heard for years. Do you think the area the S8 homes are in could have something to do with the types of tenants? There are some areas out there now that you can't even tell that S8 tenants are living in because they're abiding by the rules and regulations of the program. Looking at the recent post, maybe the root cause for the types of tenants are a direct reflection of the S8 program in place for the assigned community.

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