Virginia Landlord required to accept Section 8?

10 Replies

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"!

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