Section 8 Housing

13 Replies

Hi, my name is Paul and I am a property mgt. I have an investor that would like me to find out more about section 8 rental candidates. Not sure why she wants to go down this road but I believe she likes the guaranteed govt. money Looking for someone who might be able to share the pro's and con's on this.

Also, the investor wanted to me to check out military candidates to rent her property. Again, if I could get the pros and cons of this...that would be great.


What class is the neighborhood? Are several of the neighbors home owners (rather than renters)? If so, I bet they'd all have a crow if they heard she puts a section 8 person in there because of the stigma on that term.

The type of neighborhood is the first big question. If it's nicer and mixed of renters and owners, it might be a generally better fit to find a military family (assuming this is a military area where you could actually find such a family).

Pros and cons are all opinion really. If you go military, you'll need to add a clause to the lease that basically states that if the tenant gets orders to move, then you'll let them out of their lease without penalty. 

Section 8 guarantees at least the gov't's portion of the rent. Cons, you get more inspections and such. If you're picky, you can find wonderful section 8 renters. The key is to be picky with whoever moves in. There are plenty of horror stories of "upstanding" military renters who absolutely destroyed the house.

@Paul William Meade

I like section 8 renters.  The primary reason is the ease of getting paid, the 2nd is the simple concept that the state (in VT at least) will pick up the entire rehab tab if they destroy the place.  

Section 8 tenants that destroy a place will also never get another dime from VT.  So they tend to be messy, but none destructive, in my history with them.

I can't speak to military renters directly, but month to month leases seem to make the most sense.

@Paul William Meade , this topic comes up frequently. If you do a search of the site you will find many threads. The experiences of investors seems to be quite divergent and seem to be correlated with the policies and procedures of the local Housing Authorities. I have dealt with 4 different Housing Authorities in S.E. Michigan and they were bureaucratic, autocratic, inefficient, unresponsive, and unreasonable. I will never again accept a Section 8 tenant and state so whenever I advertise a vacancy.

As far as the "guaranteed" income--that is BS. Payments are often delayed and sometimes, stopped, with no warning--sometimes when new rules were instituted which were never communicated to the owner. I had agencies reevaluate tenant's required contributions a couple month's into a year lease and had them increase the tenant's contribution by $150 or so monthly (putting their obligation well beyond what I would have accepted and what I could collect). So, even though I was locked into a year long agreement the agency changed it at will. I had similar results when my tenant received a $0.25 per hour raise. In both cases, when I objected I was invited to sue the agency. 

When you accept Section 8 you are entering into an agreement with the State. You will find it is a very unequal relationship.

Section 8 is fine. Just be sure to monitor the water bill and to make sure it gets paid.

The Property Manager of a friend's Youngstown OH investment rental (currently vacant) told him that tenants have to move in to his place BEFORE they can become Section 8 Applicants!? I think my friend (or the Property Manager) was mistaken, but was he?...

Originally posted by @Brent Coombs :

The Property Manager of a friend's Youngstown OH investment rental (currently vacant) told him that tenants have to move in to his place BEFORE they can become Section 8 Applicants!? I think my friend (or the Property Manager) was mistaken, but was he?...

Yes he is mistaken.

I ditto the suggestion to "search the site"; type in "Section 8". Take some time to read up on this topic. Lots of good info here on BP. 

We are lucky enough to have a very efficient Housing Authority in our city that manages the Section 8 program quite well. We have not had trouble renting to Section 8 tenants and the case managers have been very responsive to our needs. I suggest you locate the administrator of the Section 8 program for your area and learn about how they manage the program. You may be able to meet some local landlords who are familiar with how it goes in your area as well. We are still able to use our own rental agreement and we are still able to properly screen our tenants. 

We do like the rent coming in on time and directly deposited into our bank account. Our Section 8 tenants are some of our longest term tenants (one at 26 years and counting), pay rent on time and abide by the terms of the rental agreement. If they don't, they have much more to lose than we do. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference between our Section 8 tenants and our non-Section 8 tenants, neither would the neighbors. :-)

The qualifying process for Section 8 can happen prior or post move-in, but will only become effective after the tenant has been awarded the voucher, the landlord has agreed to accept the voucher and unit has passed inspection.  The landlord must agree to the Section 8 contract terms, which in our experience are reasonable and dove-tail nicely with our own rental agreement.

related to the military question: Military gets paid a housing allowance called BAH - you can look up any zip code and rank to see how much your tenant gets for their allowance

I can't speak about the section 8 part, but I am military so it does help to know what the average military member might be looking for in rent.  If your gearing towards officers look at your zip for an O3-O4, if you want enlisted E3-5.  That will give you a general idea how much they can afford.

Originally posted by @Brent Coombs :

The Property Manager of a friend's Youngstown OH investment rental (currently vacant) told him that tenants have to move in to his place BEFORE they can become Section 8 Applicants!? I think my friend (or the Property Manager) was mistaken, but was he?...

Definitely not true. They would have to apply, of course, before they are eligible to get a sec 8 voucher. If they do not already have one in Ytown or in another area that they could port over, then they will have to get on the wait list. If your friend has tenants move in without a sec 8 voucher, then they are just regular renters responsible for their entire rent ;)

@Paul William Meade

I think a great place to start would be to do some research on the housing authority that would serve that area. Sometimes HA's are really great to work with and sometimes they are nightmares. Put some feelers out there locally, and see if you can find out from other sec 8 investors how the local HA is. Secondly, the biggest things here is still screening. Sec 8 voucher or not.

here's my opinion:

Pros- if you have a good housing authority that is willing to work cohesively with you, then you have a 3rd party essentially that helps pay the rent and can also give initiative to the renter to not act out of lease terms (because if they do, they could lose their voucher and be responsible for all of their rent- big incentive to stay on good terms). Also, since their portion is based upon their income- the amount they have to pay will change with changes in income. This helps because when you think of any ordinary renter, if they have a job loss or have to take a paycut, they don't have anyone to help them with that burden. So the risk is less with an income change to  a sec 8 renter *** opposed to conventional renter.

Cons- government subsidy, means government input. A little more rules and inspections to abide by. If they do an interim inspection and find something they don't like then there are a certain amount of days to fix it. If not fixed then the payment is abated. During that time, the renter is not responsible to make up the remainder so you are receiving less rent. Of course there is the negative stigma too.

 So, see if sec 8 fits in the demographic of the property. IMO, the best sec 8 property gets the best sec 8 renter. So if you want to rent to sec 8 and compete for the best sec 8 tenant, have a nice property. These residents are still picky and do have options, in most cases at least where I am. Anywhere that has higher vacancies as a result of declining in population is competing for renters, and so sometimes that will be the case.

@Jen Kurtz

Hi Jen,

I have a some properties in Youngstown and would like to know as much info as you know about section 8 in youngstown. From your personal experience what does Hud pay in youngstown for a 2 bedroom/ 1 bath?



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