Section 8 tenant specifics

14 Replies

 Hello to everyone on BP, this is my first post so far and i just wanted to know some general information that i couldn't find when i was searching in the forum's. As a future section 8 landlord, can you decide that you would like to rent to working class tenants or elderly folks only? I've heard of the horror stories ect about people not working and many other things, so i just wanted to ask that question. 

Sounds like you have some ideas that could be called discrimination ...

I don't want to discriminate against anyone, when i checked out go section.com i seen something that stated 55+ only but thanks for the post i guess i will continue to do research.

There are communities where 55+ is required, and they have to set up certain CCRs in those communities to be in compliance with Fair Housing regs.  So they limit the occupants to those age 55+ (with exceptions that would be found in the CCRs). Unless you are buying in such a community, you can't discriminate in that manner.

Thanks steve, i rather go with that option so that's what i am looking into at the moment.

You can always look at their credit and income. I have two section 8 tenants and one has a great credit score. The fact is in NYC housing is so expensive that a govt worker needs help. I saw a few people that I knew would not work. My listing broker was very good at judging who seemed legit or not too.

@ LesbJean-Pierre, thank you for you're comment, I see section 8 do their own screening and i will also. I thought i had the right as a landlord to rent to poor working class individuals especially since the majority of my properties will be located, in crime ridden areas. I'm not judging the indivduals on their race, sex, sexuality or religious beliefs. I thought I had the right to rent to elderly only and the poor working class which I rather do on both parties.

You have the right to use income and credit or other economic factors but once yiu get into protected classes, you are in trouble. At the end of the day, you might not have a great clientele anyway. When I had my units on the markets, I got bank account statements, credit scores, etc. I don't know Baltimore but I would be surprised if you could not look at the factors I mentioned.

Originally posted by @Brandon S. :
I see section 8 do their own screening and i will also.

No Sections 8 does not screen as far as the quality of the tenant. That is up to you the landlord. If I happen to be mistaken, trust me any screening they do is virtually worthless to a landlord.

I thought i had the right as a landlord to rent to poor working class individuals

Yes you can certainly do that

You cannot discriminate based on age. (with the exception of the over 55 exception) which you aren't likely to qualify for.

There are both federal, state and local laws regarding discrimination. MD and Baltimore add several protected classes to the federal ones. I suggest you look up Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc (BNI) for info on discrimination laws.

MD is considering "Source of Income" as a protected class which means you could not discriminate against section 8. IE you would have to accept section 8 tenants.

@ Ned Carey, i appreciate you're insight in regards to the screening. I will thoroughly and properly screen every tenant up to my standards. I will be sure to check out the BNI to gather information. When you stated "IE you would have to accept section 8 tenants ." Are you speaking in reference to first come first serve? Because i know i can choose who i want to be my tenant now. For example, i am going to specifically deal with 3 story apartments, let say it's a family of 6, and they are trying to move in my two bedroom apartment, it's coming sense to see that their is overcrowding issues involved there, maybe even a fire hazard. I could deny them right? 

A frequent problem I've seen with Section 8 tenants is they move their family and friends in with them, although the lease generally forbids that, and the owner winds up with a lot of unanticipated maintenance costs. You are not immune from this even with 55+ tenants.

One colleague of mine had rented to a very nice elderly vouchered tenant, a veteran with health problems, who then brought in his niece, who brought in her boyfriend. Last week the vouchered tenant apparently rented a small spare room to an unrelated person, who broke a window while moving in. A great deal of maintenance expense is incurred with each additional person.

At the time you sign the lease tenant need to be told that no one else may move into the home, and that the tenant stands a good chance of losing the voucher if that rule is violated. 

Nancy Roth

@ Nancy Roth, that's exactly what I'm going to do so i can avoid all the extra headaches. That will be documented in the lease, no one else is allowed to live in this property but the names on the lease, they don't want to lose their vouchers so they will comply.Thanks for the great tip Nancy.

Originally posted by @Brandon S. :
When you stated "IE you would have to accept section 8 tenants ." Are you speaking in reference to first come first serve?

This would mean you could not refuse to accept a section 8 tenant just because they are section 8. Many landlords currently refuse to deal with section 8 because of the extra hassle of section 8 regulations. This would no longer be allowed and all landlords would have to accept section 8 tenants. Keep in mind this has not happened yet but is is an issue that comes up just about every year.

let say it's a family of 6, and they are trying to move in my two bedroom apartment, it's coming sense to see that their is overcrowding issues involved there, maybe even a fire hazard. I could deny them right? 

This becomes a tricky issue. You cannot discriminate based on "Familial Status". Basically designed to protect families with children. With 6 it is pretty clear but what if it is 4, two adults in one bedroom and two teenagers, a boy and one girl in the other? How about three kids in a very large room? Sadly there are no clear guidelines as to exactly how many is too many for a rental unit

@ Ned Carey I'm looking to only cater to section 8 only, especially in this market. Far as the information you provided yesterday, i checked out the site and downloaded the fair housing resource packet. It's very helpful and I've been reviewing it periodically throughout the day. Far as the hypothetical family of 6 goes yes its common sense since but again i did check out the BNI fair house laws and i am aware of the "family status ". A family of 4 i can see but 6 or more is a definite red flag. Do you have any information on lease templates, i would like to familiarize myself with it and practice on writing one. Any place you could forward me to so i can download a template or two?

@Brandon S.   I am sure there are some leases in the FilePlace under the resources tab above. BNI will have information about specifics that need to be included in MD leases regarding deposits. Don't be afraid to modify a lease and add clauses you see in other leases that you like.

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