How to estimate what Section 8 will pay?

5 Replies

Originally posted by George P.:
Any ideas what is the best way to estimate what Section 8 would pay for certain property in certain area?


There are several different ways. One way would be to look up the local Housing Authority program and ask them the rates for various unit sizes. Another, easier way is to go to and enter "fair market rents" into the search engine. It will give you this: From there, select the State and County and it will give you last year's fair market rent for the area.

Keep in mind that those rents are not necessarily what HUD will always pay. Each tenant situation is unique and depends on income and other factors as well.

You can contact your local housing authority, here in LA they have a monthly orientation where they go over requirements and give you a pricing sheet. your local housing authority has a list of section 8 rental units in your area. You can compare your rental to the ones on the list (based on sqft, bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities)

The process for me in LA is, I list the property at max rent, tenant sees and likes it, I approve the tenant, inspector comes out and tells me what I have to fix prior to move in, advisor/counselor tells me my unit does not qualify for max rent and offers me less, if I agree to lower rent, I get all the approval paperwork and tenant pays security deposit and moves in (takes 2 months)

In $$, I have a sec 8 tenant in LA and the maximum that sec 8 will pay this year is $1,450, market is $1,500, and I only get $1,100. Tenant pays 25%, housing authority pays 75%. Most housing authorities are out of money so there's a few making cuts, we got a notice that the maximum is going down to $1,050 on our annual renewal and anything above the $1,050 will need to be paid by the tenant

It's an ok program, in LA the department is bureaucratic and over worked so it can be frustrating. The tenants are good people and appreciate the fact they only pay 25% and they take care of staying in the program. We have to deal with the annual inspection so we have to do a pre-inspection to fix everything we can find, then during the inspection they find stuff anyways that we have to fix and give us 30 days. Then there's a re-inspection to be sure we did it and once in a while there's a secondary quality control inspection that may find violations

Call them. They'll tell you. If they don't go to the laundromat and start asking around. Tell them you're trying to get section 8 for someone (never be a "landlord") and see what they tell you.

You can figure out exactly what Section 8 will pay for a given tenant if you go to your Section 8 office and pick up the worksheet they use to determine the rent. You simply follow the worksheet, putting in the particulars for your unit (who pays which utilities; what appliances are included, etc) and then you'll have the answer.

Don't give them the keys or stop showing the apartment until you are comfortable with what there case worker told you that section 8 will pay. If section 8 only pays say ~75% it is good to couple it with DSS ( department of social services) that way you don't have to collect a dime from the tenant and a government check comes in each month and you just have to deal with the inspection, re-inspection and any forms you need to fill out.

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