I am currently considering the purchase of a duplex in Baltimore county. One unit is vacant and the other unit has a section 8 tenant who has been living there for six years. I am curious to get a little more information on how section 8 works in Baltimore County. I know it is subsidized by the government but other than that I don't know any of the nuances of how the program works. Thank you in advance for any information you can offer!
I have 2 section 8s in the county. They work great! Usually, the tenant pays for a portion and the government the other portion depending on the situation of the tenant. I realized that most of my section 8 tenants are not as clean as the non section 8, but maybe it's just my experience, but I get the rent always on time from section 8 as opposed to regular tenants that i always have problems with.
@Daniel Suarez Thanks for the info! I'm finding that is the experience a lot of people have with section 8. Although it does seem to have it's own unique challenges not every experience is bad like I thought. In fact, a lot of people seem to have fantastic experiences with section 8. Thank you for your insight!
@Joe Dimaio I picked up a property late last year with a tenant on sec 8 myself. I would advise to be prepared to cover all your expenses with reserves to give the housing authority time to redirect payments your way if you'll be inheriting the tenant. Stopping automatic payments to the previous landlord to redirect your way can take time. In my case, it took a little over a month to see payment but I received everything in full to include the back pay.
@Solomon Morris That's very good to know! Thanks for the tip. Happy to hear you did end up receiving all payment including the payments that were delayed. I'll be sure to keep some extra cash on hand to cover extended expenses especially during these uncertain times where it could take even longer than usual to process.
As with a market rate tenant, it is incredibly important to screen your Section 8 tenants. Many are good people who are disabled, elderly, etc.; however some just work the system and they will work their landlord the same way. Personally I will accept Section 8 tenants if they are legitimately disabled or otherwise unable to provide for themsevlves, but I will not accept tenants who are able but unwilling to work (although with the passage of the HOME Act in both Baltimore County and Annapolis I may have to reassess that approach).
In my experience with Baltimore County's housing department specifically, my biggest complaints are 1) poor response time to emails (calls seem to work better), and 2) their annual inspection process which requires the tenant to wait at the home from 9-5, and strongly encourages the landlord to be there as well.
If you are okay with the program from a personal/political perspective, and this specific tenant is clean, responsive, etc. then I wouldn't hesitate to take her on.
As with any rental property in Maryland, it is important that you are aware of and follow the law applicable to your specific county. All tenants, regardless of their source of income, should be treated equally otherwise you could expose yourself to potential FHA violations. There are, however, some situations, such as terminating the tenancy at the end of the lease, that require special attention when a subsidized tenant is involved. It is a good idea to have an experienced landlord attorney available for advice before certain decisions are made. Spending a little money up front can save you a ton later if an issue becomes a problem.