I've read a number of discussions on BP regarding the pros and cons of renting to Section 8 tenants. My personal synopsis of what I've read is that success/satisfaction with the Section 8 program distills to a handful of things:
1) Proper (rigorous) tenant screening.
2) A willingness to commit to learning all the ins and outs of the program...in other words, committing the time and effort required to become a Section 8 expert. It seems that landlords who focus on and specialize in Section 8 don't have the problems that landlords who are more casually participating in the program do.
3) The quality of the local housing authority that administers the program. From what I've read, the housing authority can be anywhere on the spectrum from outright hostile to landlords to being a landlord's best friend with regard to dealing with bad tenants.
I'm not looking to rehash the pros and cons of Section 8 in this discussion. What I'm interested in is input on #3 with regard to Prince George's County, MD. For those landlords who participate in the Section 8 program in Prince George's County, MD and do their due diligence as far as screening their tenants properly, how would you characterize the housing authority? Are they a good partner in administering the program or are they more of an adversary? Or somewhere in the middle?
This is something that I have been considering myself and have not looked into it enough. Ill def be following this thread.
I took the time to visit the Housing Authority a couple months ago and they gave me the unit availability packet for landlord/owners to make their units available. Has a lot of good info such as requirements, inspection check lists, how the direct deposit works, info on MD renter's licenses ($75 for 2 years) and a list of landlord briefings. I don't have the updated schedule but the main point of contact to attend the briefing is Ms Pierce. You can PM me if you'd like her number. The packet also provides the income limits and dwelling vouchers. The rental market in PG has increased tremendously it is a good area to cash flow but can have larger risk due to the area. Sec 8 might be the way to reduce the risk if you do it right like you mentioned in points 1 and 2.
I know nothing about Prince George, but I your synopsis is spot on!
One thing to keep in mind is that in much of Maryland...you have no choice in participation, source of income is a protected fair housing class. I believe that is the case in Montgomery, Howard, Frederick and Baltimore Counties and City. I think that PG county it is not the case....but I would double check to make sure.
In general HOC, Section 8, and the such are pretty well run throughout the state of Maryland. One issue I see that does come up is in the inspection process. You have a 99.99% chance of failing the first inspection. Ive seen people fail for stuff that is not even in the inspection list. I think recently BP member @Andrew Michael failed for a wobbily fan of all things. It isnt a big deal though, you just fix the minor things they tell you then you pass the 2nd time around.
I'm not sure how they differ county to county, but I've worked with Section 8 in Baltimore County. My tenant was good for the first year, then trouble came in the form of damaging my unit. I sent a copy of my Breach of Lease to the housing office just for their awareness and was pleasantly surprised that someone from the "integrity unit" reached out to me to get photos of the damage because they were probably not going to give her another voucher to move.
This doesn't mean to expect them to hold your hand or help you through your problems. Because in the end, it's your tenant. Expecting Housing to fix your tenant problems is like a bad tenant expecting you to fix their nonpayment of rent problems. That's probably where the Housing office becomes unhelpful/unfriendly.
Also, I was/am getting above-market rent, which was unexpected and nice.
I passed the inspection on the first time during the first year. The second year, I did need a second inspection, but it was fast. They didn't have us waiting for long.