Section 8 Inspections

10 Replies

I looking at some apartments in a building that I know have been rented under section 8, because I have seen them advertised that way on Craigslist. 

1. If the unit I am looking at is currently rented under section 8 (and has passed all codes), is it worthwhile to get my own inspection. 

2. If it has not been rented by section 8,   could I stipulate acceptance by housing authority as part of the contract?

If you know it is currently being rented as Sec 8, you are probably safe in assuming it can again. I certainly don't see a problem with stipulating Sec 8 acceptance in your contract. You would just have to confirm this during your inspection period.

You could possibly reach out to one of the inspectors and ask for a list of requirements. My experience has been that the inspection is pretty simple. They have always dinged me on nit picks stuff like window screens and windows that wont stay open. Most of the fixes are simple and relatively cheap.

1. A section 8 inspection does not check for everything, they are mainly trying to make sure the unit is livable. So if you're talking about getting a standard home inspection, then I would certainly not rely on the fact a section 8 inspection was done.

2. A section 8 inspector won't come out unless you have a tenant lined up (and they are often pretty slow) so I don't think this would be a practical clause. If the unit is in good condition, it should pass (or only need a few minor things to pass) the section 8 inspection.

It has been quite awhile since I have been a section 8 landlord. The list of items they would give us were always nit picky and not overly expensive, although they can add up when the list gets too long. For example, replacing a ceiling fixture because it was not designed to have a cover over the light bulbs. Really? Someone is going to burn themself on a light bulb 9 feet up?

You may want to think about whether you really want to be a section 8 landlord. Eventually, we decided not to do it anymore. It was nice to not worry about the rent being late, but, while the HUD rates for one bedrooms were ok, the rates for 2-3 bedrooms were lower than we could get on our own. And all the risks are still your own. We had a section 8 tenant vandalize our house, then walk out on the lease. HUD just continued to pay his rent elsewhere, leaving us holding the bag for repairs and finding a new tenant.

@William A.  

I'm not sure you could stipulate that units would pass a Section 8 inspection just because no one would likely do an inspection on the units during your inspection period. You can, in theory, have units pre-inspected for Section 8 before a tenant is lined up, though it is rare that a PHA offers this to landlords as an option as they're usually a bit backed up. I would just make sure that the major things for the apartments are taken care of, everything works and looks good. It may be annoying to adjust a door to latch properly after you buy, but its a quick cheap fix. So long as the major things like appliances, water heater and heater/AC are in good order, of appropriate size, and would pass, that's about all you can really ask for. 

Depending on your municipal, heating/AC do not have to be installed so that may or may not be a factor.

An inspector would charge $295 to inspect the condo that is just over 500 square feet.

The condo has a refrigerator, electric stove, and window air conditioner. Since the unit is occupied, I am sure these are all working. What else could possibly be wrong? The HOA is responsible for heating and exterior. I am thinking that 295 might be better put in my maintenance fund.

@William A.  

My experience with condo inspections is that the value is outside the unit. The inspector will tell me whether or not he/she sees future costs/special assessments in the form of a new roof, new siding, etc. This helps me run my numbers based on whether I expect a future assessment sooner rather than later.  If the building needs a new roof next year, then this may not be a good investment. I always ask for condo reserves and whether there are any planned assessments, or if they just completed paying off an assessment (best case). Hope this helps, but feel free to ask more specific information.

Thanks @Brian Ortins   that does make sense.   That is also a good question to ask a  inspector. I had just talked to an inspector on the phone, and he told me that he normally does not inspect roofs in condos.

Does anyone know if adjustable window screens are acceptable to most housing authorities?  Otherwise it will probably not be worth my time to replace the missing window screens.

@William A.  

Find an inspector that will inspect the roof and exterior! You are paying for the service, find someone that will give you full service.

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