Worcester Section 8 tenant (raising rent & evicting)

10 Replies

Hi All,

I'm looking at a multi in Worcester currently occupied with section 8 tenants. From what I've gathered speaking to the housing authority my options in raising rent or removing tenants, even if month to month, are extremely limited and nearly scary.

Any local landlords knowledgeable about section 8 tenants who could spare maybe 5 minutes for a few questions? Maybe a quick call?

Thanks!

@Anton Orlik

I have section 8 tenants at properties here in the San Francisco Bay Area....not sure about Massachusets, but out here,...even as strict as evictions and rent control are out here, 

The "BENEFIT" to having section 8 tenants is if they are month to month you should be able to evict them with no problem.....IF they are month to month....just give a 60 day notice.....

The "ADDITIONAL BENEFIT" is that because their rent is subsidized by the government you have LESS restrictions regarding raising their rent....

This means you should definitely talk with someone else at the section 8 office and/or look up online what the rules are with your local housing authority. i find it hard to believe that in your area the section 8 rules are stricter than out here.

Give yourself some good kharma though man and don't evict tenants simply because they are on section 8. It's guaranteed income and when you screen the tenants correctly (like I've done) they can be the most loyal and low maintenance, long term tenants you will ever have.  

Originally posted by @Brian Garlington :

@Anton Orlik

I have section 8 tenants at properties here in the San Francisco Bay Area....not sure about Massachusets, but out here,...even as strict as evictions and rent control are out here, 

The "BENEFIT" to having section 8 tenants is if they are month to month you should be able to evict them with no problem.....IF they are month to month....just give a 60 day notice.....

The "ADDITIONAL BENEFIT" is that because their rent is subsidized by the government you have LESS restrictions regarding raising their rent....

This means you should definitely talk with someone else at the section 8 office and/or look up online what the rules are with your local housing authority. i find it hard to believe that in your area the section 8 rules are stricter than out here.

Give yourself some good kharma though man and don't evict tenants simply because they are on section 8. It's guaranteed income and when you screen the tenants correctly (like I've done) they can be the most loyal and low maintenance, long term tenants you will ever have.  

 Thanks for the reply. The main issue that was communicated to me is that raising rent requires a 90 day notice, that's fine, but if the raise is beyond the tenants means the raise will be rejected and is NOT grounds for eviction / termination of lease. It's possible the contact I spoke with was wrong but that was my main issue.

I have no problem with renting to section 8, but I do have a problem with being stuck in, for all intents and purposes, a rent controlled lease that is dependent on an existing tenant's income with no legal right to ask them to leave.

I had a chance to connect with another local landlord who seemed to have a similar experience and understanding as you so sounds like the housing authority may have spoken incorrectly.

The Housing Authority tends to do what they can to "help" keep a tenant in place when they are there, but if it's month to month pretty much all bets are off man. They can't "force" you to keep a tenant you don't want if they are on a month to month. Good luck man 

Hi Anton- I purchased a 3-unit in Worcester and adopted 2 tenants who were on section 8. In my scenario, I had to honor the terms of the year-long lease that they were already under when I purchased the house. Their rent was far under-valued in and full transparency, I needed to raise their rent as soon as possible to make the investment worthwhile. That said, with minimum 30 days notice towards the end of the lease- I was permitted to give them notice that rent was going up (and in MA there is no limit that I know of regarding how much you want to raise rent). It would essentially be up to them & their section 8 provider (RCAP Solutions) if they wanted to stay or not. Ultimately the amount that rent was raised was out of their budget so they left fairly peacefully. 

Originally posted by @Michael Miller :

Hi Anton- I purchased a 3-unit in Worcester and adopted 2 tenants who were on section 8. In my scenario, I had to honor the terms of the year-long lease that they were already under when I purchased the house. Their rent was far under-valued in and full transparency, I needed to raise their rent as soon as possible to make the investment worthwhile. That said, with minimum 30 days notice towards the end of the lease- I was permitted to give them notice that rent was going up (and in MA there is no limit that I know of regarding how much you want to raise rent). It would essentially be up to them & their section 8 provider (RCAP Solutions) if they wanted to stay or not. Ultimately the amount that rent was raised was out of their budget so they left fairly peacefully. 

 Thanks Michael, glad to hear further confirmation especially from someone local. My understanding is all tenants are TAW monthly at this point so it should make things simpler. My only concern was the housing authority flat out saying that 1) if tenant can't afford new rent then too bad and 2) can't ask tenant to leave unless they stop paying which seemed absolutely beyond reason. One thing I did see is that rent increase does need to be 90 days with section 8 but that's not an issue.

Originally posted by @Anton Orlik :
Originally posted by @Michael Miller:

Hi Anton- I purchased a 3-unit in Worcester and adopted 2 tenants who were on section 8. In my scenario, I had to honor the terms of the year-long lease that they were already under when I purchased the house. Their rent was far under-valued in and full transparency, I needed to raise their rent as soon as possible to make the investment worthwhile. That said, with minimum 30 days notice towards the end of the lease- I was permitted to give them notice that rent was going up (and in MA there is no limit that I know of regarding how much you want to raise rent). It would essentially be up to them & their section 8 provider (RCAP Solutions) if they wanted to stay or not. Ultimately the amount that rent was raised was out of their budget so they left fairly peacefully. 

 Thanks Michael, glad to hear further confirmation especially from someone local. My understanding is all tenants are TAW monthly at this point so it should make things simpler. My only concern was the housing authority flat out saying that 1) if tenant can't afford new rent then too bad and 2) can't ask tenant to leave unless they stop paying which seemed absolutely beyond reason. One thing I did see is that rent increase does need to be 90 days with section 8 but that's not an issue.

Maybe the 30 days notice I experienced was specific to RCAP solutions? I believe there are a few different groups in Worcester that provide section 8 housing. The fact that someone said to you 'too bad' seems crazy to me... Not that it didn't happen, but more of the notion that as a business you weren't permitted to raise rent solely because the tenant couldn't pay for it. Good luck, hope it works out for you!

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For raising rents in MA we need to follow the lease contract. You wont be able to raise until lease expires. On month to month or lease expire you can give a 30 day notice for rent increase; I personally give a 45 days notice, not that it matters for extra 15. 

It would be tenants responsibility to follow up with section 8 on new rent raise.

Eviction in MA is always loose loose for landlords. On average I loose around 3000 in lost rent, attorney fees, constable fees, etc per tenant on eviction. But if you have to evict with good cause always best to do it earliest possible to minimize loss.

Since the Worcester website is terrible, here is a link to the Boston one.  Most of the rules will be the same: https://www.bostonhousing.org/en/For-Section-8-Lea...

Read up on the program, yes you can raise rents in theory you can raise them as high as the market will justify, but they might only approve an X amount of increase.  Kicking any tenant out is a pain in MA and even more so if they have section 8.  There are some things that make it easier (no rent, drug related arrests) but it is never easy or cheap.  

As someone else said, the right S8 tenants can be great and a nice steady income, though a bad s8 will be a huge pain in the butt.

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