My rental property is in NJ and in the rental market. A prospective tenant reached out asking if I take the SOTA voucher to pay the rent for the entire year and pay any other fees upfront. Doing a quick google search, I found out that it seems to be a form of an assisted living program.
My questions are:
1) Have you had a tenant that used this program to pay the rent?
2) Is it one check that you get before the tenant moves in for the entire year's rent?
3) Did you have any landlord/tenant problems?
4) Did you add the security deposit in the year rental cost?
When I had put up my SFR for rent, a social worker called me up saying how she had a client who saw my advertisement and would like to rent it out. Yes, I believe the pay you for the whole year. With that notion alone, I was not interested. This means you have obligated this tenant into living in your property for a year. If you don't like how they are keeping your place or bringing unsavory characters to your property, you have no control over that because the program had already paid you for the year. It is easier to evict someone for none payment than for simple civil matters like noise complaints.
Let us say you were able to successfully kick out the tenant for whatever reason and they stayed there for only 6 months. The SOTA program will EXPECT you to return the rent money for the remaining 6 months that the tenant did not stay there. That means if the rent was $1K a month, you will be expected to return $6K.
For me, there are way too many caveats to these government programs and are more trouble than they are worth. I can evict a tenant paying cash more easily than a tenant in these programs.
Lots of questions here on the mechanics of payments and the program. I think this program will vary from one locality (state and county) to another. Having said that, there are some landlords in DC who swear by rental subsidy programs. There are also landlords in other areas who historically would refuse voucher folks because they felt they could not control who was living in their properties... on the other hand, years ago I knew a landlord whose very perfect tenants were a retired couple (man was disabled, woman was still able to work part-time at 68) and they were on a section 8 voucher program; the landlord wished all of his tenants were like them as rent was always on time, etc. Again, you should ask questions. If the property is damaged, what happens? What is your gut feeling?
Internet search shows this program is used in NYC and nearby to help people transition into stable living arrangements. If you access this FAQ, maybe you can contact the office and ask for more details: