Section 8 - Failures

18 Replies

Hello Landlord, I have a question regarding section 8 tenant. I have been having this section 8 tenant for a few years now. The inspection occurred annually every year. Then, the inspection failed every year 4-5 items. The most recent one being 1) replace screen 2) replace some floor tile in the kitchen 3) patch and paint the holes that tenants made 4) replace door frame in the common area (major), suck 5) level and replace cement/stone that is outside of the house... crazy no yeah, every year is like that a god damn pain. Only has like 3 weeks to fIx them after receiving the report. I dont see any benefIt of having the tenant. Other non-section 8 never had such overhead coat I addressed 1-4 ... he failed me on the 5) So can I refuse to fix it and don’t want to be in the program anymore, then ask the tenant to leave.. what is my right and my option? There is no information about this regarding landlord .. right I was hoping someone can give me some insight

Some of those repairs are not the tenant's fault, so the repairs will improve the building.  Section 8 investors thrive by operating in lower income neighborhoods, where there is a high probability of default from market rate tenants.  Section 8 guarantees their income, they can purchase properties cheap and they can achieve a high yield.  Balance that with the challenges:  Mainly more repairs than rentals in above average areas.  It's a niche and not for everyone.

In my area section 8 is super leanant and easy , they will pass about any dump .. the issue is they don’t pay market rental rates so it’s really not much benefit unless your willing to take 10-20% less rent which I’m not . 

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My takeaway from what I see in your post is you don't like Section 8 telling you to maintain your property.  Tenants are going to do some damage.  Repairing that damage and charging the tenants the cost is part of being a landlord.  Weather and ordinary decay causes every landlord to spend money.  The repairs you describe above are just part of being a landlord with any tenant.

The nice thing about Section 8 is they FORCE landlords to maintain their properties if they were otherwise not inclined to do so.  They actually require more than my local town rental inspections.  Your tenants appreciate it and the community appreciates it even more!

Think about it this way: What would you do if Section 8 wasn't there requiring you to fix these items?  If your answer is "nothing", think about what your redline is that would trigger maintenance.  You are on the path to being a slumlord if your answer is along the lines of when the property is no longer desirable, uninhabitable or a similarly severe situation.  These small items are what lead to that end state as they pile up.

@Dennis M. I've heard that about Section 8 and have not experienced it at all in my area.  The local inspectors here spot every defect and require them to be fixed (small leak stain on ceiling, tenant-destroyed drawer, plastic accordian door off its hinges, etc.)  I think it is a great thing as that is how I inspect and maintain my properties, but feel the inconsistency in inspections might be what gives Section 8 a bad name.

I did just recently learn my local inspectors cite more than they are allowed to cite based on the requirements.  I was delayed in replacing the tenant-destroyed drawer the inspector cited.  Rather than hold the subsidy payment, she said that wasn't required to be fixed and let it go.  She was the prior inspector who wrote up the sheet saying it had to be fixed.  I think that is a bit of tenant advocacy that I appreciate, but sometimes the 4-week turnaround is a bit tight.  I agree with the OP on that point.

I’m not sure of the required timeframe they allow for you to make the repairs it should state on your failed inspection report and the consequences  but eventually they will cancel your HAP payments ( housing assistance payment checks ) and terminate the tenancy . I use to work for the housing authority as a PM. 

Another reason I’m kinda biased lately against  the housing  program is I had section 8 really put the screws to me this last month . They cut off my money and actually aided the tenant in getting a nicer property and breaking my lease with her  therefore cutting me off . They went way out of their way to help this lazy slug who’s probably never worked a day in her rotten life to break Our legal contract . They could care less that I pass all their  tests and offer her a great value and safe place  . They are for the tenant even if they suck and gave up on life  .sadly they will find ways to give them the world as long as they can fog a mirror . It’s a program designed to  reward scum sucking sluggards that won’t drag their lazy two ton carcasses off the couch !oops  Did I say that out loud ?

@Chan K. You need to know your state laws.  In our state refusing tenancy based on income "discrimination" can get you into trouble with fair housing. 

The benefit of section 8 is the guaranteed rental income.  However, you have to deal with the section 8 inspections as well.

There is tons of information regarding this.  Your local section 8 housing program probably holds events, gives out free information, and definitely has someone in their office that can answer some of these questions. Your lawyer should also be consulted.  In reality though... You have to know section 8 law at the state level if you want to invest in these types of properties.

Originally posted by @Dennis M. :

In my area section 8 is super leanant and easy , they will pass about any dump .. the issue is they don’t pay market rental rates so it’s really not much benefit unless your willing to take 10-20% less rent which I’m not . 

Mine say that too, then we sign at a different amount that is higher and they always make it work and never say anything. Have you tried to mark one of your units up $100 more a month and sign a voucher? They would really deny subsidizing over such a small amount? 

@Chan K. Everything I do is Section 8, I prefer them to B and C class renters. Get and handyman once a year and pass the failed inspection. Or better yet, get six section tenants and be financially free with paid off properties. If your home is in an A area, I’d consider going without section 8 deposits, but outside of that, I love getting my money from the gov’t on time.

James I somewhat disagree. I have 2 section 8 tenants. Both units are BUY FAR my nastiest units. But they are a good fit because the tenants are nasty too. One brought her pet rabbit in for winter so it would not get cold. Let it run around free The place smells like a Chevron Gas station rest room.

the other one paid deposit on 2 chihuahuas. (Needs government to pay her rent, but can come up with 500/per pet deposits). just yesterday I talked to her about how her 100 pound dog did not resemble a chihuahua. I am kicking her to the curb. 

I used to work with a few men who had no legs. They still worked. Section 8 people are Bums. Straight up loosers. Yes this can be a great nitch depending on the area, but you better be thick skinned. I am not sure what you mean buy forceing landlords to do repairs because both of my section 8 units are absolutely discussing and what I would consider unhuman. But they pass inspection every time. 

I think people just think what they want to think or what they heard on TV. Section 8 is straight up payer supported Zombie shelters. 

Shawn Coverdell

Homes in the Hood

Originally posted by @Jonathan R. :
Originally posted by @Dennis M.:

In my area section 8 is super leanant and easy , they will pass about any dump .. the issue is they don’t pay market rental rates so it’s really not much benefit unless your willing to take 10-20% less rent which I’m not . 

Mine say that too, then we sign at a different amount that is higher and they always make it work and never say anything. Have you tried to mark one of your units up $100 more a month and sign a voucher? They would really deny subsidizing over such a small amount? 


that’s an interesting method .. I like it ! 
getting them to honor a verbal agreement outside of the lease would be my only reservation . I will say my section 8 tenants always had the rent on the first which I can’t say about a lot of my working tenants unfortunately. 

Originally posted by @Jonathan R. :
Originally posted by @Dennis M.:

In my area section 8 is super leanant and easy , they will pass about any dump .. the issue is they don’t pay market rental rates so it’s really not much benefit unless your willing to take 10-20% less rent which I’m not . 

Mine say that too, then we sign at a different amount that is higher and they always make it work and never say anything. Have you tried to mark one of your units up $100 more a month and sign a voucher? They would really deny subsidizing over such a small amount? 

Be very careful because that is illegal. You cannot ask a section 8 tenant to pay more than the amount you agreed to with the housing authority. 

I’ve seen cases where the tenants complained after years of paying the extra amount and the landlord was prosecuted and heavily fined.

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Originally posted by @Shawn Coverdell :

James I somewhat disagree. I have 2 section 8 tenants. Both units are BUY FAR my nastiest units. But they are a good fit because the tenants are nasty too. One brought her pet rabbit in for winter so it would not get cold. Let it run around free The place smells like a Chevron Gas station rest room.

the other one paid deposit on 2 chihuahuas. (Needs government to pay her rent, but can come up with 500/per pet deposits). just yesterday I talked to her about how her 100 pound dog did not resemble a chihuahua. I am kicking her to the curb. 

I used to work with a few men who had no legs. They still worked. Section 8 people are Bums. Straight up loosers. Yes this can be a great nitch depending on the area, but you better be thick skinned. I am not sure what you mean buy forceing landlords to do repairs because both of my section 8 units are absolutely discussing and what I would consider unhuman. But they pass inspection every time. 

I think people just think what they want to think or what they heard on TV. Section 8 is straight up payer supported Zombie shelters. 

Shawn Coverdell

Homes in the Hood

Both units are BUY FAR my nastiest units. But they are a good fit because the tenants are nasty too.

Well said, Shawn! hahahaa

The repairs you mentioned don't seem all that bad or expensive. However, I do agree with those landlords that are forced to fix damages caused by the tenant. Maybe request to have the tenant's case worker there during an unspection because some tenants lack basic life skills.

Originally posted by @Victor N. :
Originally posted by @Jonathan R.:
Originally posted by @Dennis M.:

In my area section 8 is super leanant and easy , they will pass about any dump .. the issue is they don’t pay market rental rates so it’s really not much benefit unless your willing to take 10-20% less rent which I’m not . 

Mine say that too, then we sign at a different amount that is higher and they always make it work and never say anything. Have you tried to mark one of your units up $100 more a month and sign a voucher? They would really deny subsidizing over such a small amount? 

Be very careful because that is illegal. You cannot ask a section 8 tenant to pay more than the amount you agreed to with the housing authority. 

I’ve seen cases where the tenants complained after years of paying the extra amount and the landlord was prosecuted and heavily fined.

 Sorry, I think my post got confused. I am meaning an example like this... My office will approve someone say for a two bedroom voucher, the office will tell the person they are qualified for a $650 rent amount if the landlord pays some utilities. I’ll send the prospective tenant back into the section 8 office with a signed voucher at $695 and only pay the trash service. Despite this being as a whole about $100 more than section 8 office told the tenant they are willing to pay on their behalf, they still agree and pay it on the backend because it isn’t too far off. 

@Chan K. Section 8 can be a pain to work with. Unfortunately, you cannot ignore the requested repairs or the inspection will fail and rent abated.

Under normal circumstances, Section 8 tenants here in Montgomery County Ohio, must be given 60 days notice of non-renewal of lease. This is one potential option... And then market this property as no section 8 going forward.

If the tenant becomes behind in their portion of rent, you can always evict? You'll want to find out about your state/city specific laws and everything you need to cross t's and dot i's there, especially since the tenant is Section 8. Here in Ohio, we had to give tenant a 30 day notice of eviction, then at the end of 30 days, give them the normal 3 day notice. The rest was handled by the lawyer. (Recent experience based on this particular circumstances. Could be different under other circumstances.)

Or allow inspection to fail, have rent abated... And wait... Wait for Section 8 to relocate the tenant. I've never experienced this, so I'm not sure how quickly they do this relocation. Nor am I aware of any other repercussions. Do your research!

Here is my anecdotal experience with Seattle Housing Authority (SHA).

I had Section 8 inspection failed and for various problems with my property manager they couldn't do repairs in time. Unit became abated - which means that Housing Authority doesn't pay you. You (as an owner) can not request these payments from tenants as well. Basically all Section 8 payments during abatement period gone.

Now, in theory, SHA has to set termination date and move the tenant, because failed inspection for them means that unit is "uninhabitable".

In practice though, SHA didn't bother. Unit was in abatement 4 (four!) months, SHA was happily not paying and let tenant live in "uninhabitable" unit. Potential loss - about $6000. Only after I insisted that SHA should follow their own rules - they started to negotiate. This tenant still lives in the unit, by the way.

So, my takeaway - learn the rules and insist that Housing Authority should also follow their rules.