Sacramento Section 8

7 Replies

We are acquiring a duplex in Sacramento and we have a tenant who is a section 8 tenant. Does anyone have any experience with giving a tenant 90-days notice to vacate? We are considering doing a cash for keys strategy. Does anyone have any experience doing this? Looking for the best way to go about this. 

I believe 60 days notice is all you need to give the tenant AND the Section 8 office.

Is this a bad tenant? Have they been a headache to you or the previous landlord? Are they paying below market rent? Be careful on simply evicting someone just because they are on Section 8 because it is basically guaranteed income.

I assume the tenant is not currently within their lease period and they are month-to-month?  If they're month-to-month, then you can give them 90 days notice (and it is 90 days, not 60 days, for Section 8 in California).  If they're within their lease period, you can't just give them notice to vacate, but I assume you know that and they're not.

Personally, I wouldn't start out offering cash for keys to a Section 8 tenant.  I'd just give them their notice, and make sure you provide a copy of the notice to the Housing Authority too.  Whether or not they move in time is largely going to depend on them being able to find another suitable place and whether they're able to get their voucher transferred.  You offering to pay them money isn't likely to help with either of those things.

I have one Section 8 tenant and she told me it took her 6 months to find a place before I accepted her because the rental market was so competitive.  She turned out to be a great tenant for me and has been with me for a little over 3 years now but she wasn't planning to move until she found a place.  Fortunately, the landlord at her previous place was pretty flexible because he was getting out of the military and moving back into the house that she was living in, and he gave her plenty of notice in advance of his intentions so she had a lot of time to conduct her house search.

@Zach Riegler , I have also have a 2-unit property in Sacramento and one tenant who is Section 8. My SHRA documents state that after the first year of contract and the owner does not wish to continue their Housing Choice Voucher, they must give the tenant a 90-day notice to move. You can serve a 30-day notice to move if the tenant has violated the lease; late or non-payment of rent, disturbance of neighbors, damages made by tenant or guests to the unit, criminal or drug/ alcohol activity, other violations listed on the lease.

I, myself, haven't gone through this process, but I suggest you go through your documents and check with someone from SHRA. Cash for keys can be a great strategy if you are looking for the tenant to vacate right away. But if you have time, I would suggest going through the process with SHRA.

I hope this helps!

@Sherwin Gonzales

Thank you for the feedback here. We are still under contract and plan to close on it shortly and then we'd like to give the tenant a 90-day notice to move. So I'm clear, are you saying according to your SHRA documents you had to wait a year until you were allowed to give the tenant a 90-day notice to move? 

@Kyle J. , Yes, the tenant is a month-to-month. Can you elaborate as to why whether or not if they move in time is largely going to depend on them being able to find another suitable place and whether they're able to get their voucher transferred? I'm a bit confused here. Are you saying that if we give them their 90-day notice and if they are not able to find a suitable place and get their voucher transferred then they can continue to stay in our unit? 

Again, thank you for your insight here. 

@Zach Riegler , my tenant was already in their first year of contract with the SHRA program when I closed on the property. To my knowledge, the contract doesn't restart when there's a new owner. I would double check with SHRA, but I don't have to wait a year from the day I close to give a notice to vacate. My tenant completed their first year a couple months into me owning the property and are month to month now.

@Zach Riegler   All that @Sherwin Gonzales is saying is that you can't give the tenant notice to move during their initial one year lease period, unless you have cause.  And he's correct.

After the initial one year period is up, the Section 8 tenant can be given notice to terminate tenancy at any time with 90 days notice.  The lease period doesn't reset just because a new owner takes over, provided that you don't sign a new lease with the tenant, which it doesn't sound like you intend to.  Since you said the tenant is now month-to-month, you should be good to give notice as soon as you become the new owner.

To answer your other question about why I said whether or not they actually move is going to depend on them being able to find another suitable place and whether they're able to get their voucher transferred, it's because the rental market (especially in Sacramento) for tenants is very competitive right now.  And your tenants are going to be further hampered by the fact that they're Section 8 tenants.   Like I said in my initial post, it took my Section 8 tenant 6 months to find a place. 

They not only have to find a place they like (they're probably not too picky but probably do have some criteria whether it be location or whatever), but the place has to accept Section 8 and it has to have the right number of bedrooms.  And that's the other part....their voucher is good for a unit with a certain number of bedrooms.  If they qualify for a 3 bedroom place they aren't going to be looking at 1 bedroom units, and if they only have a voucher for 2 bedrooms then a landlord with a 4 bedroom house won't want to take them because Section 8 isn't going to pay enough. 

So, while legally if you give them a 90 day notice they're supposed to be out in 90 days, the point I was trying to make is if they don't have anywhere to actually go, do you really think they're going to leave?  If they were a typical cash paying renter, offering them cash for keys might help because they could just use that cash to go rent another place.  But a Section 8 renter is different.  They have to get their voucher transferred and cash doesn't really help do that.  That's the point I was trying to make.  I'm sure the tenant would love to take the cash from you but I don't see how it would really help them move any quicker.  Just trying to save you some $$.

Yes the section 8 is not accepted by 80-90% of Sacramento easily. I am in the midst of moving my section 8 tenants out. This is due to me wanting to sell in the near future. They were actually great tenants, I am doing cash for keys and all the sudden they are happy to go. If your going to keep the duplex as a rental. Section 8 may pay more this year than they did when your tenants moved in. Just a thought. See below