Current tenant approved for Section 8. What should I do?

11 Replies

Last year I had a tenant apply for a two-year lease on one of my rentals. She had really good income. Single mother with three kids. One year into the lease, she informs me she's been approved for Section 8 with a voucher that is about $600 higher than the cost of her rent. I certainly don't mind HOC, however it will be the first time renting to someone on HOC. I'd like to get advice from folks on here the best way to handle the situation. Do I have to re-do her lease? What requirements and or things should I be aware of as I try to determine how to sign up with HOC to receive rent from them for her. Any advice?         

Generally speaking, yes, you will have to redo her lease.  The Sec. 8 worker will let you know everything you have to do.  Tenant should have a packet of info for you and you need to fill it out.  Send it all in with a copy of the lease and then Sec. 8 will send you back approval.  They will also call for a move-in inspection and you are required to do everything.  They will reinspect and once you pass you are set.  At some point in the next year they will also do a yearly inspection and you need to make those corrections.

It is very simple, they provide forms, you fill them out, they inspect and tell you what to do and you do it.  Rinse, repeat.  

@Brandon Malone , that's good news!  Cities are less likely to not pay rent than tenants.

Scott covered most of it.  Listen to your rep.

Currently, I only have a single Section 8 unit.  The most confusing part for me was switching between all the departments.  There was a dept to help the tenant find a home, another for leasing, another for inspections and another for payments.  It got off to a rocky start because the payments person had dropped the ball.  Once we got going though, it's been nearly the same.

For their inspections, you will need to repair everything.  There's no negotiating with them.  They should provide a thorough list tho.

@Scott M. Thank you for the detail information. I wanted to make sure I wasn't simply filling out paperwork to have her submit without doing some due diligence on my part. It it advised that I submit the paperwork directly to Section 8 or provide to her to send it in?

Tenant will have a packet of documents for you.  You collect that from her.  You fill out.  You send in to Sec. 8 contact person (Tenant has this too) directly.  Most Sec. 8 workers are overloaded with case files and they tend to be slow to respond.  If you are unsure if things are moving forward or they are not communicating with you you can have the tenant help.  And yes, the process can be confusing, the documents can be confusing etc....but you will get through it. 

@Scott M.

I haven't done section 8 in years but don't do it unless you are getting above market rent for your unit. It's not worth the hassle. The forms and waiting. The having to fix things the tenant broke. I stopped when the local office where I am at went from annual inspections to quarterly inspection. It was too much hassle for too little pay. Some landlords plan on their unit being section 8 where they rent a C quality unit for an A or B quality price. Also consider your property. If you have an old house with wooden windows they are going to stick and HUD will list it for repair. You can have a hole the floor but not a sticking window. If your property is older then it may be more hassle than you expect and may want to avoid HUD.

Let them inspect your house first to see what changes they require before you make a commitment.

Originally posted by @Brandon Malone :

@Robbie Young She's currently in the middle of her lease. I can re-do her lease and increase the rent with justification of market rents. Would you suggest going this route? Or do I have no justification to re-do her lease. 

 It definitely never hurts to raise her rent, if you can justify it.  Especially since she was covering all of rent on her own previously.

Regardless, you will need to modify your lease.  Whether that is amending to include City as an interested party.  Or, terminating the existing lease and creating a new one.  Either way you go, definitely use a lease amendment for proper documentation.

I would lean towards an early termination and creating a new lease agreement.