Section 8 in Montgomery County, PA

14 Replies

Hello,

Just wondering if anyone is renting to Section 8 tenants in Montgomery County, PA or anywhere in the SEPA region.  I spoke to someone at the Montgomery County Housing Authority so I could better understand the process of renting to Section 8 and it seems fairly straight forward with potentially higher rents than market-rate.  

Just wanted to get some perspective from someone who is doing this because I'm currently considering marketing to Section 8 for my duplex in Bridgeport.  I understand the increased risks with Section 8, but it seems like the rent could potentially much higher for a Section 8 tenant so I want to consider it as an option.

Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.  

I also need more information on this as a new real estate investor starting out small. 15k investment on a 50-80k property. I don't know what I would do right now if I had even a little bit of vacancy. Thats why Section 8 is very attractive to me right now. I am very new so please help its appreciated.

@Joe Manfredi If you're concerned that a short vacancy will cause significant issues with your personal finances, I'd recommend holding off on buying any properties until you're confident that you have enough of a financial cushion moving forward. You don't want to run into a situation where you can't afford to do necessary repairs or pay your mortgage if a tenant moves out. However, that doesn't mean that $15k isn't enough to get started and many people have started with that or less.

People often bring that up as a benefit of renting to Section 8 and I look at that as one of the positives. 

However, I would still be sure that you have enough cash reserves to handle unexpected issues.  Local housing authorities will usually require inspections for Section 8 housing, so a failed inspection or an untimely inspector could result in some unplanned vacancy.

I see, I know that the typical response is it "depends", however do you have educated estimates?  Vacancy duration and associated cost?  let me know if you need more info.

Joe, as you said it will depend a lot of factors.  However, for me, I would like to have at least an additional $5k in reserves above all of your anticipated expenses.  This isn't a recommendation, and I have zero experience with Section 8, just the minimum amount that I would feel comfortable with.  

Hello, I think you get to chose your section 8 tenant so if you're worried about having a problem tenant you can mitigate that risk when you are first screening tenants. I've never done section 8 before but I met a guy who did lots of it in Philly and he rehabs his property nicer than most section 8 houses so he gets top picks for his tenants.

Annie, thanks for the input.  I agree that tenant screening is critical for all tenants, affordable housing or not.  I've already had some issues with tenants, and I've realized I need to be more strict and diligent when screening tenants.  I like the idea of making properties a little bit nicer than the nearby rentals.  I believe that properties in poor condition tend to bring in poor tenants.

Hi Michael, I am looking to purchase some rental properties in SEPA as well and I am very interested in learning more about section 8 tenants. I was wondering if you had any updates on your situation.

Do you have any section 8 tenants? Are the subsidized rent rates that you are actually collecting what you expected and are they in line with the HUD FMRs? Are the tenants trashing your units?

Thanks,

Justin

Never assume you will not have vacancies simply because you choose to rent to S8. They are much higher risk and it is not uncommon for the government to take several months to start paying rent. You will have vacancies as with any tenants as well as evictions.

Assumptions in his business is a recipe for disaster.

@Michael Campbell Looks like this is an older post but wanted to see if you dove into S8 and how it's been going for you!  Not only for myself but a connection of mine that knows some people looking for a home in Montgomery County.  I'd really like to hear about your experience in this area and if you or anyone else might be able to help me put people together.  Thanks!

Hi @Andrew Scott

I have not rented to any Section 8 tenants yet in my investing career.

But I did find that calling up the county's housing authority was very helpful.  They can tell you all about the process and answer any questions you might have.  You should also try talking to property managers that specialize in affordable housing, they should be able to help as well and give you a different perspective than the housing authority.

I have a section 8 tenant in jersey city..... it’s fabulous!  I get my rent every month, like clockwork.  They inspect the property yearly and just direct deposit the rent. I get a 1099 form from the housing authority every year.  I got lucky with my tenant, I never hear from her.  

As a side note I just purchased a property in west philly and am looking for an inexpensive (but good roofer).... any recommendations would be appreciated.