Rent Amount for Section 8

16 Replies

I am in the process of renting a property using Section 8.  I am asking for $1295 in rent however the housing authority approved $1223 although the Zillow estimate is $1295.  Can I challenge this?  If not, can I charge the tenant the difference?  If I can charge the tenant the difference, do I need to draft an agreement between myself and the tenant?  Thanks

Unfortunately, the Housing Authority doesn't care what Zillow says, and you cannot enter into a side agreement with the tenant.  That is strictly forbidden and could get you kicked out of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) if the Housing Authority were to find out.  

Your contract with HUD will likely say something along the lines of "The rent to the owner may not exceed the amount approved in accordance with with HUD requirements". Additionally, I also had to sign a separate certification that stated "I understand that it is illegal to charge any additional amounts which have not been specifically approved by the Housing Authority."

@Donna Hutchinson You can provide your own comps to housing. here in northern california, I have success in getting higher rent approved by showing comparables MLS listing or posting from apartments.com. Also, ask them for comps and make sure you review it carefully. Sometimes because of all the workload, the housing workers miss the details. Thanks and good luck

I've had dozens of Section 8 tenants and HUD always requires me to provide three comparable properties and the rent rates so they can verify I'm not taking advantage of the government. You know, because the government never takes advantage of us.

Zillow recommendations are not accurate. Yes, they may look good sometimes, maybe even most of the time, but they will never be accurate like a personal evaluation of the market.

@Donna Hutchinson

The rent rates are predetermined by HUD every year and it's published per zip code. The rents still have to be within your local market. Typically the rents are market driven. It's broken down into number of bedrooms. I have never been asked to provide comps unless your going above what they believe to be the market. @Nathan G. are you pushing your rents to the higher end of the market.

Originally posted by @Kenneth Garrett :

@Donna Hutchinson

The rent rates are predetermined by HUD every year and it's published per zip code. The rents still have to be within your local market. Typically the rents are market driven. It's broken down into number of bedrooms. I have never been asked to provide comps unless your going above what they believe to be the market. @Nathan G. are you pushing your rents to the higher end of the market.

No, I don't push rates higher. I have to provide them with three comparable rentals, the rent rate for each, and the lease terms for each. This is supposed to ensure I'm not gouging the system. I always rent my Section 8 units for the same price as non-Section 8 units.

 

@Nathan G.

Sounds good.  You would think since it’s a federal program filtered through the states it would be the same throughout the country.  So much for a consistent application of the rules. Go figure. 

The allowed amount is a formula.  For instance, in one complex I can only charge $1650 because hot water is electric and regular water is the responsibility of the tenant. This is for a 3 bedroom and the non-8’s pay $1800.


In the same complex, but a different building, housing has approved $2050 for a 3br with gas hot water and I provide the regular city water. They have their formula based on features, functions, HUD market, family size, expected tenant contribution, and what is included/excluded.

So it's been almost a year since I created this post.  I'm approaching the 10 month mark.  Do I notify my tenant 60 days of their intent and can I also request a rent increase from Section 8?  Initially I was not given the option of providing rental comps, they determined the rent and there were no other options.

If you plan on increasing the rent, you have to send a request to Section 8 at least 60days before the increase will take place. They will tell you if they approve the amount or not.

Hi @Sienna Parker - Different Housing Authorities do it differently, for contra costa- They want MLS rental listing or links from Apartments.com (again depends on who you are dealing with). Alameda, to me is more open, I have shared craiglists in the past (don't accept it now) but MLS rental listings and apartments listing with work. You really need to do back and forth with them. Sometimes they surprise you by offering $200 above the market and sometimes getting even the market rent is hard. Gosection8 really doesn't help because you can't see the comps for your property. You can ask the housing authority for comps and in most cases they will provide it, but even if there are errors, I have found it hard to change their verdict.