Government forced section 8

14 Replies

Ok, so I live in Louisville, KY. I currently have two sfr’s and was actively looking for my next purchase to pull the trigger on. Louisville Metro (Jefferson County in KY) is now in the works of passing a fairness ordinance where you have to accept section 8. For multiple reasons I don’t want to accept section 8. Mostly because of dealing with the program itself. I know similar laws have popped up around the country already. So anyways, I’m looking for feedback. What would you do. Should I keep with my game plan that I currently had in place. Should I look outside the county. Who’s to say that wouldn’t follow me to another county.

@Kevin Allen

Cook County in Illinois passed a similar ordinance effective this past January.  This includes  Chicago.  You cannot reject an applicant for being in the program.  Many landlords respond they do not accept section 8.  I had always had responded my building is not approved.  I do have some section 8 tenants in some of my buildings with no issues.  You will need to deny the applicant for some other reason;  credit and background check or other reason unrelated to the program.   Be prepared to back up your decision if challenged.  

Additionally, if the prospective tenant insists on applying knowing that the building is not approved, let them know an estimated timetable of how long the inspection/repair/re-inspection process will take and that there is no guarantee - it may take longer. Talk to your local housing authority for a timeline in your area.

A clear rubric with acceptance criteria will likely weed out a lot of section 8 applicants for one reason or another too.

@Kevin Allen - These are for Chicago, but likely very similar for other local housing authorities...

MOST COMMON FAIL ITEMS

  1. Inoperable light fixtures and improperly wired electrical outlets (reverse polarity, open ground, hot neutral reverse, etc.)
  2. Deteriorated and unstable paint on surfaces (peeling, cracking, chipping, etc.) in units built prior to 1978 where children under the age of six reside or will reside
  3. Missing, inoperable or incorrectly mounted smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  4. Broken or inoperable windows (cracked glass panes, broken locks, drafty frames, etc.)
  5. Exposed electrical wires/connections (light fixtures missing globes, electrical junction boxes missing cover plates or knockout plugs, breaker boxes with open sockets, etc.)
  6. Broken/faulty door locks and drafty doors
  7. Cutting hazards, including protruding sharp nails pipes/metals objects with jagged edges,deteriorated sheet metal, cracked glass blocks on windows,etc.
  8. Gaps/holes around heating system flue pipes and gas utility not in service
  9. Evidence of rodent and/or bug infestation
  10. Holes and large gaps (more than a quarter inch) on walls/ceilings/floors of living space areas

See also MINOR HQS DEFICIENCIES ELIGIBLE FOR SELF-CERTIFICATION: 
https://cha-assets.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/Minor%20Fail%20Items.pdf

See also CHA INSPECTION GUIDEBOOK:
https://cha-assets.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/2020-01/HQS%20Inspection%20Guidebook_2020_January_web.pdf

This comes up often. You have to accept a S8 voucher. Unless the laws are really odd there, they cannot force you to work with the housing authority. You do not have to fill out the S8 paperwork to get your property added to their system. You do not have to allow them to inspect your unit. You do not have to make any repairs necessary to be approved for S8 payment. And you do not have to set your rent at a level they will accept. 

I'm in California and we are required to accept S8. Therefore, I participate in the S8 program as required by law. However, I will not fill out any S8 paperwork, or allow the inspection of my property by S8, or make any necessary changes required by S8 in order to have this unit under their program. But I do participate in the S8 program and accept S8 vouchers. If by miracle a person can get a voucher for my unit without me working at all with S8, I'll accept it. 

@Greg M. - The law here now says source of income is a protected class. One could possibly make the argument that by not accepting the voucher income that they are being discriminated against.

@Kevin Allen - I recommend treading lightly and consulting an attorney for your local on this matter if things get heated. 

I think you'd avoid potential fair housing issues by simply treating all applicants the same way.  That's all these laws are really asking - that you give them an equal shot.  Most Section 8 applicants will expect to be denied based on their credit or references, so if you treat them fairly they're less likely to file any complaints.  

If you say something like my place isn't approved, it leaves an argument on the table - well, maybe it can be approved or maybe you're trying to discriminate against me.  Then, the next thing you know, they make a complaint and then someone comes by faking to be an applicant who is really someone checking to see if you are discriminating.  They're usually easy to pick out - they don't ask normal tenant questions like where is laundry or what's the parking situation, etc.  One even showed up with a clipboard one time lol.  Still, they will waste your time.  It's easier to just not invite any more of them than will show up no matter what you do.  Even if you're really even-handed with screening, some will complain.  

@Sue K. It’s not the tenants I’m worried about. You can get a good section 8 tenant or a bad non section 8 tenant. My houses are nice houses and kept up well. However, the landlords the section 8 landlords that I know are always complaining about the super picky section 8 inspectors. Sounds like they don’t feel like they are doing their job unless they find something for you to fix.

@Kevin Allen

I do not find the inspectors to be super picky.  I actually find them to be less picky then the city.   Here’s a few things they look for; peeling paint, operable windows that lock, screens in windows/not torn, GFCI receptacles at kitchen counters and in bathrooms, handrails installed and supported properly, flooring in good condition/carpet and flooring not torn, etc.  Basic upkeep.

@Kevin Allen don't quote me but I think if you have 3 rentals and under you don't have to follow the fair housing act laws .(read from mike butlers book) but it's still good to do Incase someone tries to sue you etc you won't spend money on court cases and lawyers etc

Originally posted by @Joseph Konney :

@Greg M. - The law here now says source of income is a protected class. One could possibly make the argument that by not accepting the voucher income that they are being discriminated against.

But you do accept the voucher. It's just that you will never get one.

1) The law says that you must accept the voucher. You cannot say no to a person who meets your qualifications just because they will pay using a voucher. And you scream at the top of your lungs that you will accept the S8 voucher!

2) The agency that issues the voucher says that you must do X, Y, & Z in order to qualify to receive a voucher. Let's let X = completing S8 paperwork to register your unit with this agency; Y = having an inspection of your unit to make sure it meets the S8 guidelines; & Z = making the necessary repairs so that the unit meets the S8 guidelines. And you scream at the top of your lungs that you will not be bothered doing any of this ****!

There is no* law that says you must do X, Y, & Z. The government could have compelled landlords to do X, Y, & Z as a requirement of getting a rental permit for the unit, but they choose not to. You can't say no to the voucher, but you don't have to say yes to jumping through the hoops to qualify your unit to receive the voucher. 

*Possibly some city has a law that says you have to do X, Y, & Z in order to rent your unit, but I'm not aware of it.