I’m A Fan
Let me say at the start, as an investor, I am a fan of the Section 8 housing program. We rent approximately 10% of the housing we manage to tenants who are getting assistance from Section 8. (For a full description of what the Section 8 program is all about visit http://portal.hud.gov.)
A Section 8 Voucher Alone Does Not Qualify A Tenant
Section 8 will pay up to 100% of the approved monthly rent amount for a qualified applicant. The money is direct deposited into our property management trust account on the first of every month. This is, of course, a wonderful thing. However, an applicant with a Section 8 voucher does automatically get to rent through us. Just like anyone else they must go through the application and screening process and many times we choose not to rent to them based on their past rental history, landlord references or criminal background.
Why It Works For Many Of Our Owners
Section 8 determines the maximum rent they will approve for a house based on the number of bedrooms it has. In my experience, the Section 8 maximum rent guidelines are very fair but they often restrict tenants to lower-income neighborhoods. No landlord that I know would rent to a family with a Section 8 voucher if the approved rent were less than market value. If you work in lower-income areas as we do however, the program has a lot to offer.
Having said that, some owners refuse to work with Section 8 on principle. In exchange for regular rent over the term of the lease, the home has to meet their minimum standards for safety, functionality and security. While the vast majority of our owners expect their properties to meet these minimum standards anyway, some simply don’t like being told what to do and when to do it.
The Section 8 Inspection Process Can Be Aggravating
There are also some deviations among Section 8 inspectors. Some inspectors are more ‘picky’ than others. This sometimes means additional repair requests are made that another inspector may not ask for. The inconsistencies can be frustrating and a primary reason why some owners refuse to work with the program.
It All Comes Back To Relationships
In our experience, like everything else in this business, it comes down to relationships. We strive to develop positive and productive relationships with everyone who works at Section 8. They know we respect the job they do and what it takes to do it, and they in turn respect what we do. That is the key to success in the program.
Care To Learn More?
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For more information about The ROOST Landlord Advantage™ property management system, visit us at www.ManageWithROOST.com.