To the question "Is Section 8 good or bad?", I usually say YES. Kind of a tongue-in-cheek way of saying it can be either. You'll find stories of great tenants, as well as terrible tenants, that are Section 8 and non-Section 8. The key is to screen your tenants thoroughly no matter who is paying the rent.
For what it's worth, I used to avoid Section 8 because of all the horror stories I had heard. Then one day I took a chance and accepted a Section 8 tenant who I have now had for a few years and has been a great tenant. To date, it's my only Section 8 tenant, but I don't have any regrets about accepting them.
Just my two cents.
There are several very long threads on this exact topic here on the forums. If you do a search you'll have enough to read through the New Year.
Flip a coin you may win you may lose
Section 8, or “Housing Choice”, is a Federal government program that is administered by either a state or local agency. The Feds send the money along with “guidelines”. This is why you get so many different stories about the program. Even within the same state, the program can be administered differently from County to County, City to City. Best to speak to someone with first hand experience in the jurisdiction where you are thinking of participating. It has its Plusses and its Minuses. What’s good is that you get some (or all) of your money on time, every month. In places where they are “neutral” they can be a place to go to get the tenant to perform as the lease requires. On the downside... TOO MANY TO LIST HERE, including the fact that some programs, like Baltimore City, will stop paying you if the tenant complains to them, even if the tenant never complains to you. Again, the administration of the program is city by city, county by county, so talk to the local folks who are actually participating to get insider’s secrets.
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