Sec 8 / Veterans Outreach

7 Replies | Boston, Massachusetts

What are people's opinions of section 8 renters?  How about Veteran's outreach?

Pro's Con's?  How has working with the offices been?

I've been told that you can call the local offices if one of your tenants is being a pain and they can give the problem tenants a courtesy call to scare them straight a bit.  Thoughts?

I suppose every local housing office that administers Section 8 vouchers is different, but I have personal experience with the Lynn Housing Authority office (nicknamed "LHAND") and have found 2 people there who are difficult to deal with, and 2 people there who are angels to work with. 

As a general statement, anytime you're dealing with government bureaucracy things can sometimes get frustrating. I had a particularly difficult situation that was ultimately solved by the top guy there, who overruled the previous decision of someone else. So if you're going to go down this route, as always in life, focus on relationship building with key people so you can turn to them when you need some help. If you treat people poorly, they won't be likely to help you. 

@David S. That 100% makes sense people will want to help those who they like and know.

But with that being said, do you feel that the scary "section 8" fear is true? - meaning sec 8 residents cause more issues and are more problematic - or is it the other way that they know they are getting help to live somewhere and because of it, and they don't want to do anything to jeopardize that benefit.

Or is it that like anything, it's a crapshoot regardless of section 8 or not, where some tenants will be bad and others good?

I only have experience with one Section 8 tenant and have only been dealing with her for 4 months so far. Overall she's been fine - she's older and doesn't speak English so well - there's only been a few minor issues here and there, but luckily I've been in contact with her daughter who often helps problem-solve when the housing authority won't. So again - relationship building has been key for me. 

I know other landlords who love having Section 8 tenants due to the reliability of payments. I'm sure there are plenty of horror stories too. As most things in life, I think it's combination of luck, your skill with navigating the system, and your ability to build positive relationships.  

I think Section 8 tenants are fine, but recommend you don't think of them or any other demographic that way.  No one can say Section 8, veteran, white, black, female or any other demographic are "good" or "bad" as a group.

I recommend you approach your tenant prospect screening exactly the same regardless of their background.  The only things different about Section 8 are they have an additional income line (assistance) and some additional regulations on the property as a result of the Section 8 lease and inspections.  The assistance is a wonderful thing - arrives like clockwork.

The inspections highlight issues with the property I think a landlord should address anyway and I haven't found them onerous.  Some landlords may feel they are required to spend more than they have to, which is true.  For example, I need to put a CO detector in my units.  For the price of $30, it's well worth it if it saves a life.  There is variation in the quality and consistency of inspectors, as with any large operation.