I currently have a townhouse advertised for rent in Northern Virginia, and just received a message through Craigslist asking "Do you accept Section 8?"
From my understanding, The federal Section 8 law is voluntary for landlords, unless state law requires "non-discrimination" against Section 8 participants.
Does anyone know the Virginia law?
I would think if it were the law in Virginia , the potential tenants wouldnt even ask the question.
If you require your tenants to have a salary 3x rent and to pass a credit/background check. If the tenants is on section 8 than they wouldn't pass right? I believe that wouldn't be discrimination correct?
Section 8 is a voluntary program with very specific requirements for both the landlord and tenant. You are not required to accept section 8 tenants. Section 8 can be a great program for landlords if you get the right person. I have heard horror stories but I have had a great experience.
Thanks Sean, I really appreciate the input!
Thats a great question... I was wondering that in the past and to be honest because i am slightly scared by frivilous lawsuits I have always said yes i am open to section 8. That being said I know that there a lot of things you need to do to be compliant but having a guaranteed rent can be nice. In reality though it has never come up yet that a section 8 potential renter wanted a property and was my only potential renter so i didnt go through the process. But as i said i was scared to say no in case they would sue or threaten to sue because who knows if you are violating some rule...
I imagine that if you don't want to participate in the program, you can tell the potential renter that you would accept Section 8, but that your property would not pass the inspection.
@Aly L That's an interesting strategy. Doesn't it figure that I have been putting a lot of effort into making my ads stand out! Didn't figure there would be any consequences....
this is what i found...not sure if it answers the question... so like i said i say yes i would be open to it but then find a legit excuse as to why you went with some one else... its hard these days as people try to trap and sue you for so many things...
hopefully some one who knows better will chime in...
Q: Are landlords required to lease to people who have Housing Authority vouchers?
A: No. As a landlord, you have the freedom to rent to whoever you like, so long as you are not discriminating against potential tenants based on color, race, religion, sex, familial status or national origin. The Housing Authority does not require landlords to house families involved in the program, nor does it screen families. Rather, the Housing Authority only determines program eligibility and leaves the responsibility of screening families up to the landlord. So long as you require all potential tenants to complete an application and screening process, you are fully within your rights as a landlord.
@Gil Leiblich Thanks for the research. That is similar to what I have discovered. Seems logical that I can say "No, I do not accept Section 8", and I am merely opting out of a voluntary program, because I am not interested in any more Federal Bureaucracy than I have to. It is not discriminating based on color, race, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.
I'm going to forge forward and say "No".
"Let's see how she flies Orville"
I reached out to the Virginia Housing Development Authority and got this response:
In response to your inquiry: owner/landlord participation in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly referred to as “Section 8”) is voluntary. General information pertaining to VHDA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program may be viewed at www.vhda.com (under “Renters”, “Housing Choice Voucher Program”).
I feel like I just made one more step toward being an "expert"!
I've read the questions and the answers... This is the most ridiculous and repulsive thing I've seen human beings do to other human beings... Section 8 was initially started for Military families... It was then decided to give low income families a chance at better housing too.. They then separated the program into two different groups. BHQ and Section 8...
I've been a participant of this program for years and I've never had an eviction, late rent, drug dealer boyfriend or any of the other misconceptions some people have... I'm an independent government contractor which means I work (No Welfare). There's a income cap for working families... My voucher was used to buy my 1st Home!
It disgust me to see how anyone could think its okay to deny people a chance at Fair Housing... Which is a Federal Law! Familial Status is a broad spectrum... No, you Don't have to participate in the program if you choose Not to, that's totally up to you! However don't be so misinformed to believe that people with Section 8 Vouchers are scum or bad people or will destroy your property... You can lose your Voucher for that...
It's guaranteed money every month, they can't pack up and leave town, most of them have goals and ambitions and need support from people who care about others... By the way people are fully aware of the trick about requiring the income to be 3x the rent!
FYI in most cases the Section 8 Voucher is considered income too! Hmmm Go Figure!😏 Shame on you! There are some people who Aren't on Section 8 who can't afford to pay your mortgage payments...
Remember one thing! You have Good and Bad in everything... I would rather have a Section 8 Voucher any day in an unstable country/environment such as this... Most Section 8 people Won't kill their whole family because of a job loss... They've mastered supplementing their income and don't live beyond their means... They DON'T feel privileged!
@Tameka NA - Way to drum up a 5 year old post! I don't disagree with you that voucher holders are not all "bad" tenants. I have 85 SEC 8 voucher holders currently and the majority of them are very good tenants. I also have had some very bad ones, but not any more than bad tenants without a SEC 8 voucher. I would disagree that payments are "guaranteed" if the tenant has a voucher. If the tenant damages the property and it doesn't get fixed in time, the homeowner must come out of pocket to fix what the tenant broke, and bill the tenant, knowing they will have to put a lot of energy into collecting that payment in order for payments to stay out of abatement. I had one SEC 8 tenant last year get charged with possession of pot and lost her voucher as a result. That is a REALLY rare scenario, but it is a risk. Landlords must screen SEC 8 tenants just as thoroughly as they screen all other tenants and hold them to the same criteria. (Personally I require a SEC 8 tenant to have income of at least 1 times the rent.) Really there is no way to use the SEC 8 rents as income, because at the time of the application, we have absolutely no idea what the SEC 8 portion of the rent will be. Maybe in the states that have created the mandate to not exclude SEC 8 have created a minimum rent amount for landlords to use for consideration, but I have not heard from anyone that this is the case.
As a general rule on BP, I'd suggest not getting so riled up about really old posts. Use them as reference if you'd like, but we've all pretty much moved past them years ago. LOL.
since its been revived, no you do not have to accept sec 8 in virginia, but since this original post 5 yrs ago many states and city have made it mandatory to accept as a form of income, and 3x rent as income has been tested and failed in some of those states, they have stated it is a form of discrimination against type of income, criminal background check does still stand, but only if convicted
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