We receive questions regarding Section 8 vouchers so often that we decided to prepare a comprehensive guide for landlords on this topic. Here’s everything you need to know about renting out to the Section 8 tenants.
What is Section 8?
First things first, for those no knowing, Section 8 is a governmental initiative that aims to improve the affordability of the housing for tenants. Landlords that participate in this Housing Choice Voucher Program can rent out their homes to low-income tenants. With that being said, a Section 8 landlord can set up a steady cash flow since the government will cover a significant portion of the payment.
Here’s how it works. When a tenant is not able to cover the rent price of his/her apartment, he can try and get the financing from the government. To qualify for the Section 8 voucher, he/she will have to prove that the rent prices in the region exceed 30% of the tenant’s monthly income.
Unfortunately for many low-income tenants, this program is so popular that some cities/states decided to close the waitlists years go. The waiting list is so big that LA closed it back in 2004. That’s something HUD didn’t think through, but it’s also understandable that the government is not able to cover the unlimited amount of tenants.
Types of Section 8 Vouchers
Since this is a voucher program, there are two types of Section 8 vouchers available.
These vouchers are tied to the tenant. It means that once a tenant leaves the apartment and decides to move, he still has the voucher and can use it with his/her next apartment.
As we’ve already said, the waiting list is enormous, so they have to follow stringent guidelines and avoid violations, so they don’t lose their voucher.
That’s a type of voucher that is tied to the property itself. It means that this particular rental is available for the Section 8 tenants, but once the tenants move out, the voucher will stay with the property and benefit next renters.
Of course, these properties are in huge demand as well. To get a project-based voucher, landlords have to pass many inspections and work with HUD directly. It requires your time, patience, and hard work. However, if you get this type of voucher, you will forget about vacancy rates forever. We’ll explain why later, read on.
Pros of Renting to Section 8 Tenants
Being a Section 8 landlord pays off, and here are the fascinating advantages of renting out to tenants with HUD vouchers.
Guaranteed Scheduled Rent Payments
Since the government covers a significant part of the rental payment, you can be sure that the payments will never be late. Every month you’ll receive the money straight to your bank account on the same day.
No Shortage of Tenants
Since the waiting list of the Section 8 voucher program is so big, you will always receive numerous applications. Your only headache will be choosing the one best tenant that you’ll get along.
Free Endorsement & Ads
Dozens of websites feature Section 8 properties completely free of charge to help tenants with vouchers to find their next home. So this is one more way to put your property on a spotlight without additional payments for these services.
Already Verified & Screened Tenants
All of the Section 8 tenants a pre-screened, so you can be sure that you deal with the verified tenants. The government doesn’t want to lose their money and assist frauds, so they do a really detailed background check of every applicant.
Disadvantages of Renting to Section 8 Tenants
Of course, there are issues that you can face while renting out to Section 8 tenants. Here are the most popular cons that you may deal with.
One of the biggest headaches that you will face is the number of inspections that you’ll have to pass. There are dozens of specific guidelines that you’ll have to comply with to become a Section 8 landlord. After every inspection, you will have some time to fix the noted problems and call for another examination to finish the whole process. Sometimes it may take a lot of time.
Capped Rent Price
Every local authority that takes care of the Section 8 vouchers calculates the average rent price that tenants with vouchers should look for. This means that Section 8 property owners will generally receive less amount of money for their property. The capped price is usually lower than the real market price, so this is one of the key problems for landlords.
Complicated Eviction Procedure
As a Section 8 landlord, you will be entitled to tenant eviction. However, you will have to use the particular HUD procedure that is way more complicated than the regular one. This may result in a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy nightmare.
How to Become a Section 8 Landlord
Step 1. Apply for Section 8 landlordship through the HUD authority in your local area. Send an application with all the required information about your property.
Step 2. Schedule the inspection of your property.
Step 3. Review the list of required repairs that you’ll probably receive from the inspector.
Step 4. Schedule final inspection, get approved, and start advertising your property to thousands of Section 8 tenants.
Please note that once you find a perfect tenant and decide to eSign the lease, you will have to provide the proof of ownership and information on your property taxes.
Where to Find Section 8 Properties for Sale
The other option for you is to invest in the property that already has a Section 8 voucher and complies with all the program guidelines.
You can either contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to check if they have options on sale or look for a property that is currently occupied by tenants with a voucher.
Section 8 landlordship has its ups and downs, but those who decide to try it usually have reasons that support this idea. Some of them want to be sure that there won’t be late payments, some of them just want to help people, etc.
No matter the reason, we’re glad to help you get through the fundamentals of becoming a Section 8 landlord.