Required to accept Section 8?

14 Replies

Long story short, a potential tenant is telling me I'm required by law to accept section 8. I didn't think that was the case and I can't find it anywhere in NH law. Thoughts? 

From my understanding you are required to accepted it, however verify your local laws. the only way around this is if they don't fit your screening criteria. so if across the board you don't accept smokers or anything else along those lines that are not a protected class you can deny the tenant. I'm curious if anyone else here has the definitive answer on the section 8 law. hope it helps

@Renee R. I am not sure about NH, but in Kentucky it is not required that a landlord accept Section 8 applicants. As far as I know nothing federally, only local or state regulations would make you evaluate an applicant, but not necessarily accept, they have to go through the screening process like everyone else (credit, criminal etc.). Section 8 typically requires that the rent amount be within their guidelines or the tenant pays part of the balance, the property passes the Section 8 inspection and Section 8 approves of the landlord's lease. *not an attorney opinion, just mine*

" I am sorry , this property will not pass a Section 8 inspection "

I live in NH and own rental property in NH only.

NH does not require that you accept Section 8.  In fact, a proposed law that WOULD have required that you accept it was recently defeated in NH.  It is, however, required in MA.

Please don't take state specific recommendations from those who are not working in the state you are discussing.  

You can not discriminate based on source if income. It is a protected class. However, you can decline a tenant based on other criteria as long as the criteria is the same for everybody. Having said that, I have a number of Section 8 tenants. The general profile of a Sec 8 tenant is one who is irresponsible and will trash your property. I have not found that to be the case. Merely because someone is lower income, does not make them irresponsible. My longest term tenant, who has been renting from me for about 10 years is Sec. 8. I have had to evict two tenants in the past three years. Neither of them were Sec. 8. 

You are not required to accept section 8. You just can't deny a person because of it.

@Renee R. PLEASE take @Ann Bellamy 's advice and do NOT take NH fair housing advice from those who don't live or invest in NH.  The same goes for any state.  Laws vary! 

For example, there are 7 protected classes at the federal level.  In MA there are 15.  That means that you could comply to the letter of federal fair housing law and be successfully sued for a violation of MA law.

Here's a resource to get you started - and it's not from me (who neither lives nor invests in NH - it's from HUD and NH state law)

https://www.hud.gov/states/new_hampshire/renting/t...

NH Fair Housing laws can be found here:

http://gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xxxi/354-a/35...

And lists the protected classes (but read through it completely)

II. To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privilege of sale or rental of a dwelling or commercial structure, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of age, sex, race, color, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, religion or national origin. In addition, no person shall be denied the benefit of the rights afforded by this paragraph on account of that person's sexual orientation.

Charlie MacPherson, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9532146)
781-412-4151
Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

" I am sorry , this property will not pass a Section 8 inspection "

 and you could find yourself on the end of a lawsuit where you'll have to prove that you wouldn't make adjustments for a non section 8 applicant.

Thanks, Everyone. I thought I had posted in the NH section of the forum, so was only expecting NH responses.

@Ann Bellamy - I agree with what you've said here. Thanks!

Originally posted by @Ihe O. :
Originally posted by @Matthew Paul:

" I am sorry , this property will not pass a Section 8 inspection "

 and you could find yourself on the end of a lawsuit where you'll have to prove that you wouldn't make adjustments for a non section 8 applicant.

I have steps going into the basement that are too steep and narrow . There is no way to change them . They wont pass a section 8 inspection .   

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :
Originally posted by @Ihe O.:
Originally posted by @Matthew Paul:

" I am sorry , this property will not pass a Section 8 inspection "

 and you could find yourself on the end of a lawsuit where you'll have to prove that you wouldn't make adjustments for a non section 8 applicant.

I have steps going into the basement that are too steep and narrow . There is no way to change them . They wont pass a section 8 inspection .   

Where did you get that from. I had a Section 8 tenant in a house with steep and narrow steps going down to the basement and it was never brought up on inspection.

It was 3 years ago when I had an inspector come out .  It  didnt help when they bumped their head on a header as you go down the steps 

I've had about 6 section 8 tenants for over 10 years.  They just need to be screened like anyone else and my overall experience has been positive like with @Rick Stein .  

Half of my section 8s don't have cars so they are attractive to me in my buildings with limited parking and/or with parking lots that need to be plowed in the winter.

The red flag to me here is the applicant dictating to you / telling you 'the law'.  That type of tenant will most likely be combative and a problem. Attitude is huge.

As far as the dwelling not passing a HUD inspection, one of my old 1913 converted to apt buildings is not section 8 friendly. It has brick walls 1ft thick and no bathroom exhaust fans. No window either. We retrofitted 2 units to have fans but the cost was prohibitive and 'unreasonable'.

There are legitimate reasons why a unit cannot pass a HUD inspection.

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