Section 8

11 Replies

I live in Greenville, Sc. and plan on buying my first investment property in the February time frame. My plan is to start small and invest into a single family home. I have an interest in renting out my first home to section 8 renters. My reason behind this is I know that I will receive a check every month with out chasing down the tenant plus I have heard (not read) there are other advantages to renting out to HUD. Advantages such as repairs that maybe caused by the tenants damaging the property. Not sure how true that is, but would like to believe it. I have read a couple of forum discussions on BP about this topic, but have not come across anything to disprove my theory. I am fully aware of the risks associated with rented to lower income families.

My questions are, Is there a fact sheet that is in plain english that HUD provides describing the ins and outs of renting through HUD? Like how to allocate rent for a home that is acceptable for HUD, repairs cost if any, home requirements, locations of the home ect... I would greatly appreciate your feed back on this topic. A bonus would be someone in the Greenville area renting to section 8 would be total awesome. Thanks Jason

I think that would be a great option for you!  I highly recommend reading a book called the "Section 8 Bible".  It's actually a quick, easy read (unlike the bible).  I just finished it as I was looking into renting some of my properties as Section 8.  He details exactly what you need to do/not do to pass the Section 8 requirements.  

I've been looking for a book about section 8 renting. That's great thanks for the info. 

No problem!  It's older but almost everything still applies.  A must read!

The "Section 8 Bible" is kind of like a comedy book and was actually written many years ago for landlords in Philly, so it may not be applicable all across the country.

Dawn and I will have to agree to disagree.  It's a very well reviewed book with lots of helpful information that still applies today and is applicable across the country.   A quick and easy read.

Here's an older post about these books:

Click this Link

In it, you'll see that people mention how the book is full of incorrect spelling, bad grammar, and other issues.  It wasn't edited very well.  The stories are funny, however and that's why I liked the books.

So yes, @Kyle V. and I will agree to disagree.   :)

Haha fair enough @Dawn Anastasi , I stand by my opinion though, which is also shared by many:

The most useful info from the Section 8 Bible books (besides their humor..which is great) is the focus on "less is more". Useful for non-section 8 tenants too. For example, in planning your rental units add ONLY what is needed to comply with HUD requirements. This means working smoke detectors, covers on outlets and light switches, no broken windows, railings, etc. if steps/porches exceed a certain height, no peeling paint, etc.. Your local Housing Authority can provide you with information on what is covered during initial and yearly inspections. Often what makes or breaks a Section 8 experience is the inspectors.

Now...what you need to AVOID providing for your Section 8 tenants (not needed and will only give you repair headaches):

1. garbage disposals.  If present, take them out...unless of course you like unclogging corn cobs, beef/chicken bones, potato peelings, grease and a fair number of unknown but really smelly other objects from them and your kitchen drains.

2. Ceiling fans.  If present, remove them.  Yes, they are popular here in the south.  Tenants are also notorious for yanking out the pull cords for fan and/or light switches and, for some unfathomable reason, breaking or taking the globes when they move.  And I've never figured out how an actual fan blade manages to get broken off in an older home with 12 foot ceilings.

3. Dishwashers.  If present remove them.  Again, they are not required by Section 8.

4. Washers and dryers.  NOT required by Section 8.  If tenants bring their own, fine.  You might provide adequate water connections to make sure we're not talking about duct tape here.

5. Light bulbs.  Replace traditional ones with long lasting bulbs.  Promote the fact that they are energy saving to the tenant.  That's not the reason you are doing this.  There's nothing like going into a unit after folks have moved out and finding a tenant has attempted to remove a burned out bulb and broken it off, leaving you to attempt to fish out the base (and the old potato trick rarely works).

6. Your Section 8 tenant would like an ice maker in their refrigerator?  A water dispenser in the door?  Tough noogies.  Again, neither are required by Section 8 and these are just two more things to break down.

7. Smoke detectors.  Required.  Check to see if your housing authority now requires wired in ones.  If not, buy the ones with a 10 year battery.  These come with a sealed battery; tenants cannot remove them the next time little Johnny gets a toy for his birthday or Christmas that needs a battery and the traditional smoke detector is the nearest "store" to pull one out of.

Enjoy the books.


Section 8 is 95% awesome.  The key is that tenants can be violated if they break your terms.  Do your due diligence in screening.  You can absolutely find quality lower income tenants that respect you and the property.  Only thing is when they do the inspection, they will nit pick even a unit in beautiful condition, and there will surely be some modification you will need to make your first go around.  Once you get familiar with the system, you can plan ahead and you'll be ready to roll.

What type of screening would section 8 tenants require?  If the authority pays for the full rent (or majority), would income requirements matter?  Obviously, a criminal background check and a landlord reference but what else am I overlooking? 

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