Section 8 housing multi family rentals

14 Replies

I would love to hear feedback of experiences with section 8.  Good, bad and indifferent.  What does it take to set a property up for section 8, qualifications etc.  How to maintain your status as Section 8? Pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages.  Are there any financing hurdles for buying a section 8?

90 percent of my tenants are section 8 I don't have to chase my rents and I find they are very good tenants. It often gets a bad rep because people confuse it with other forms of welfare. 

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In really depends on the city authority that manages it.  I have section 8 tenants in different cities and experience varies a lot.

In one of the cities, the inspector always find long list of issues to fix with every inspection and blame owner for tenant issues.  With city so pro tenant, section 8 tenants thinks they can get away with anything, and they do.  They have no incentive to take care of the unit or building.  Too many ridiculous stories to share.  

On the other side, in another city, one of units I own has same section 8 tenant for over 15 years.  No problem at all.  I have inspected the unit recently and it is one of cleanest units for any type tenants I have seen.

In addition to the city, you might need to consider how section 8 tenant affects your other tenants and neighborhood.  Many section 8 tenants don't have jobs and with many kids.  Some have tendency to 'hang out' on the poach.  In a B/B- area, where I inherited one section 8 tenant.  My other units in the same neighborhood initially had issue attracting good tenants despite being in pretty good location.  My property manager advised and removed the section 8 tenant.  Once the section 8 tenant was gone, other units in the same neighborhood immediately saw better tenant base and had less time on the market.

I have a handful of Section 8 houses and love the program. There is no magic list to put your house on. Advertise you take Section 8. Once you accept the tenant and turn in the completed voucher, an inspector will go out and make sure there are no hazards. At least in California, they will require a business license. The property will get a yearly inspection which I find to be helpful. There are some small nuances but overall pretty easy.

I’m with @Frank Procopio I would rather have section 8 tenants so I don’t have to chase rent payments. Get your inspection list from the managing authority and complete it before accepting a section 8 tenant and when the inspector comes out it will be done. No issues that way and you get immediate approval. 

@Scott Kidd section 8 tenants are the best tenants!! Absolutely love them! They seem to be more caring, much more respectful and appreciative... You also get to build good relationship with Housing Authority and anytime you have a rental available, they have a tenant for you. Usually require a lead test and home inspection to make sure everything is working and in living condition. But of course may vary...

Add me to the list of folks who like Section 8. The program is fantastic here in Los Angeles as they have special programs here that give me the opportunity to help out veterans and homeless people that are trying to put their lives back together. I also work with some of the local agencies that help veterans like PATH and StepUp because they are the ones who send me some of the best tenants. As long as you apply good screening standards when selecting a tenant, the chances that they will turn out to be a good fit are just as high as with a non-section 8 tenant. 

And BTW, it's the 1st of the month....all you Section 8 landlords know what that means. I'm sure most of you have already logged into your bank portal and have seen the money come in. 

There are no financing hurdles for Section 8. And in Los Angeles, as long as you set up your property the way you would for any other type of tenant, passing inspection is very easy. I'm able to rent at or above market rate and all my tenants will not be leaving for a very long time. 

Thank you all for you comments, there is a lot of misinformation out there about Section 8.  I am going to contact my local representative here in Florida.  Thanks again for the great information.  Do you have any recommendations or tips to getting started?

I am actually a Renter through the S8 program, in Maryland.  I would just Love to say *Thank you* for all of your kind remarks regarding this program for those who find themselves and their lives flipped completely upside down!! 

... Prior to having to go on this program,   due to having had a newborn baby boy,  Whom had to have multiple surgeries within the first few weeks of his life, I was a *Typical Renter* and had never even heard of the Program before,  in fact the Hospital staff introduced me to the program, as I had basically lost everything from having to stay in Baltimore at the Ronald McDonald house to be close to my son for a rather extended period of time... He was born with Hirshsprungs disease and his stomach also ruptured so it was very *Touch & Go* for quite sometime.. I can say that I am So very Thankful and appreciative to those from whom I have rented in the past and have currently been renting for the past 3 yrs... I actually Live in Maryland, and my Home owner resides in Florida, I've yet to meet them face to face, As all of our transactions have been done Via Email and telephone calls .. It was such a seamless process renting this way,  As I of course had reservations since I had never rented from someone whom I had never actually Met before... However it has been wonderful and I adore their family and am so Thankful that I have been able to stay in this same area to keep my family in the same school district since the beginning for each of them! I have also rented from an Owner who was living abroad in Australia for almost 5yrs, however I had personally met with them when going to visit the property and we agreed then an there,  They had never utilized the program before and in fact had only ever rented as a Corporate short term property,  Needless to say, I stayed there for 5yrs until they sold the home... I've had nothing but good experience and as I said previously I'm VERY thankful and feel very fortunately Blessed f ol r this program, as I have since had 2 other kids who as well have been born with different disabilities though nothing nearly as terrifying as my Now 18yr old son had gone through, Thank God!! I have No family any longer since my mother passed away in 2000, So I am actually looking to either relocate to the Florida area on the Gulf side to be close to their Paternal grandparents and few aunts and cousins..  The support would be wonderful,  However I am also very interested in the SC coast, and CA, LA/Surrounding areas as well, Due to having close friends in these states as well... So I am currently just on a Month-Month and basically just looking to see what is out there... I have a 4bdrm voucher available and would appreciate any input if anyone has anything or something coming available in the next few months... I'd love to see what options are available to my family and I... 

I greatly appreciate any feedback offered Or available Property information,  should anyone have anything coming up and would be willing to speak with me... I realize it's not as easy as being face to face and conducting business in that manner, But I am very much ready to relocate and Truly excited to see whats out there! Its been a Long time coming since losing my mother,  I've honestly been wanting to move from this area since losing her..  As she was all I had growing up, I just believe a New Beginning may be the Key to much Happiness,  and new opportunities for each of us!! 


Kind Regards,


@Scott Kidd

About 50% of my tenants are on section 8. It’s true that section 8 gets a bad rap for the type of tenant it brings. However, if you screen your tenants you will be fine.

I don’t have to worry about chasing the rent, the government portion comes in the mail between the 1st and the 10th. And the tenants portion is there before the 10th. I have heard that if the tenant does not pay their portion, they risk losing their section 8 voucher. Not sure if this is true or false. If someone could chime in on that let me know.

The inspection is really just a safety inspection. If your apartment is in good shape you don’t have much to worry about. They don’t do a lead “test” as someone mentioned, but they do look for peeling paint and require you to correct. If they did a lead test 70% of the multis in my area would fail.

The biggest drawback is electrical. All the multis I have had knob and tube wiring, as with any rehab I completely gut the old wiring. The inspector will go around to electrical outlets and if you have knob and tube in the walls and have a 3 prong outlet it will register as an open ground. Your choices are to either convert it back to a two prong outlet (not ideal with many electrical appliances now needing 3 prongs), wire the house correctly, or put in a GFCI at that outlet (which can get costly as well).

@Scott Kidd

Here is a section inspection check list From HUD

Section checklist

and the rates from 2016 which have increased since then 

FY2016 FMR and IL Summary System

FMR History for Baltimore city, MD

Baltimore city, MD
Year Efficiency 1 Bedroom 2 Bedrooms 3 Bedrooms 4 Bedrooms 2-BR
% Change
2016 $851 $1,033 $1,298 $1,663 $1,934 5.36% 50
2015 $833 $985 $1,232 $1,574 $1,713 -1.60% 50
2014 $847 $1,001 $1,252 $1,599 $1,741 0.08% 50
2013 $846 $1,000 $1,251 $1,598 $1,740 1.62% 50
2012 $907 $1,025 $1,231 $1,581 $1,952 -2.53% 50
2011 $931 $1,052 $1,263 $1,622 $2,003 4.99% 50
2010 $887 $1,002 $1,203 $1,545 $1,908 16.01% 50
2009 $748 $868 $1,037 $1,315 $1,532 2.37% 40
2008 $747 $844 $1,013 $1,301 $1,607 7.65% 50
2007 $694 $784 $941 $1,208 $1,492 -0.95% 50
2006* $700 $791 $950 $1,220 $1,507 12.16% 50
2005 $611 $709 $847 $1,074 $1,251 -4.62% 40
2004 $596 $727 $888 $1,176 $1,345 5.21% 40
2003 $566 $691 $844 $1,117 $1,278 22.67% 40
2002 $461 $564 $688 $911 $1,042 4.08% 40
2001 $443 $542 $661 $875 $1,001 2.80% 40
2000 $431 $527 $643 $851 $974 2.39% 40
1999 $421 $515 $628 $831 $951 1.62% 40
1998 $414 $507 $618 $818 $936 2.32% 40
1997 $404 $495 $604 $799 $914 0.83% 40
1996 $401 $491 $599 $792 $906 1.18% 40
1995 $396 $485 $592 $782 $895 -1.82% 40
1994 $404 $494 $603 $796 $911 1.69% 45
1993 $414 $504 $593 $742 $831 3.85% 45
1992 $398 $485 $571 $714 $800 4.39% 45
1991 $382 $465 $547 $684 $767 3.80% 45
1990 $368 $448 $527 $659 $739 3.74% 45
1989 $355 $432 $508 $635 $712 1.80% 45
1988 $349 $424 $499 $624 $699 4.18% 45
1987 $335 $407 $479 $599 $671 3.23% 45
1986 $325 $394 $464 $580 $650 4.04% 45
1985 $317 $378 $446 $545 $611 3.72% 45
1983 $304 $364 $430 $529 $594 N/A 45

* Indicates components of the area's geography changed from the prior year to the starred year.

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I would echo many of the comments here. Section 8 is a good program and the tenants are just a cross section of the rest of America, no better no worse. Screen your tenants and you'll be fine. At least here in Central FL, the housing authority can fill your place up fast if you have one move out.

I would like to agreed with everyone giving comments concerning those in need of Section 8 assistance for housing; in that, you have good, bad, and indifferent tenants no matter what their income level on this planet the poor, the needy, the meek, or the proud.