A common question we get is: What is Section 8? As a landlord, you might get the occasional call of a prospective tenant asking if you accept section 8. If you know about Section 8, you might have perceived that there are a lot of misconceptions around it. Many landlords that have never had a Section 8 tenant and they think that they will get a terrible tenant and that working with the housing authority will be difficult.
What is section 8?
It is a housing assistance program. Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies(PHAs). It helps low-income families to afford housing by the government paying a portion of the rent for the tenants on the program. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Housing can include single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.
Benefits of accepting Section 8
One of the best benefits is that the government pays housing vouchers on time and directly to the owner. The tenant has to pay on time or they run the risk of losing the voucher if they are late on rent. Another really good benefit is that section 8 tenants usually renew their lease because they have a difficult time finding and qualifying for housing, so they tend to stay once they are approved. Some landlords have the idea that a section 8 tenant might be trouble but for a tenant to be eligible to receive the assistance they must meet certain requirements. They are previously screened by the authorities so you have extra protection. Among those requirements, there is an eviction history requirement. The vouchers will not be granted to anyone who:
- Has been evicted from a property within the last three years for drug-related criminal activity.
- Has been convicted of producing methamphetamine in an assisted housing project
Can my rental qualify for Section 8?
The first step is to contact your local Public Housing Agency, review all of their requirements, and make sure you meet them. Then you need to complete a section 8 application including the property location and the amount you want to rent your property for. From there, an appointment for inspection will be. An inspector from your local Public Housing Office will perform the inspection, they will make sure your property meets all the housing quality standards and also to verify that the rent you are charging is reasonable. If your property passes inspection, then you are good to go. If it fails, then you need to fix whatever did not pass the inspection.