I wanted to talk a little about section 8 tenants & houses for rent by owner accepting section 8. This is a common question we get from both landlords and from tenants about whether we rent to section eight tenants and what we think about the program.
Houses for Rent by owner accepting section 8
As a general rule, we’ve got nothing against the tenants who are receiving section eight assistance.
In our experience, most of the tenants are great. They take good care of the property, they’re responsible tenants like anybody else.
Of course, there are a few bad apples here and there, but that’s the case with tenants who aren’t receiving section eight assistance also.
So that’s nothing special for that class of tenant. So the problem doesn’t really come in with the tenants.
The problem with section 8 is the housing authority. So when you’re renting to a section eight tenant, you’re not just dealing with that tenant.
There’s also a middle man involved, which is the city or the county housing authority that is basically dispensing the money that the government is providing for that tenant’s housing assistance.
So they cut the check to you for however much assistance they offer that tenant. So sometimes they’re paying that tenant’s whole rent.
Sometimes they’re just paying a portion of it. Sometimes they’re providing utility assistance.
It just depends on the individual’s situation, how much money that tenant makes, and various factors go into what they, how they decide what that tenant receives.
But they’re basically acting as a sort of middle man in the situation, to be that dispenser of that money for that assistance.
So they think that gives them special rights, to tell you what to do.
So if you want to rent to that section eight tenant that they’re providing that assistance to, they make you submit to an inspection of your property that they conduct with their vendor where they make determinations about what they think you have to do to your property.
Housing Assistance Program Agreement
They also have you sign a, what’s called a housing assistance program agreement. And basically it acts as a sort of pseudo-lease that overrides your normal lease agreement.
So there’s a lot of provisions in that half-agreement that restrict your rights as a landlord and place all sorts of additional burdens on you.
For example, you have to submit that property not just to that initial inspection, but to yearly inspections and that inspector is going to come in and he’s going to tell you what you need to do to your house.
So let’s say you’ve had this section 8 tenant in your house for a couple of years and the inspector comes out for the second inspection and he decides the carpet needs to be replaced, in his opinion.
Well you go out and you look at the house, the carpet seems fine to you. You just think it needs a professional cleaning, which your lease says is the tenant’s responsibility to do.
And which state law doesn’t say is the landlord’s responsibility. There’s no requirement in state law for you to replace the carpet in the house.
But the housing authorities inspector is telling you you have to do it.
And furthermore, they’re telling you in their notice that if you don’t do it, they’re going to cut off their payments assisting the tenant.
House for a Couple of Years
So now you’ve got a tenant that’s been in the house for a couple of years, it’s a good tenant, you know they haven’t done anything wrong, but the housing authority is telling you to spend $4,000 for this unnecessary repair, just so you can keep this tenant and their housing assistance coming in from the government.
And if you don’t do that, we’re gonna cut off the money and most likely the tenant is not going to be able to pay. So obviously this creates a bad situation.
And because of this, we don’t like to deal with housing authorities.
Issues are the Housing Authority
This is just one example of the problems we have. Other issues are the housing authority is in no hurry to pay you.
We usually receive checks from housing authorities around the tenth of the month, sometimes the seventh or eighth, but even that is completely unreasonable.
Our leases say the rent is due on the first of the month and it’s late if it’s not paid by the second.
Even landlords that are a little more lenient say that there’s a late fee after the fifth.
But the housing authority doesn’t care. They’re gonna pay when they’re gonna pay and they’re gonna tell you you can’t charge the tenant a late fee for them getting the rent to you late.
So you’re left in a situation as a landlord where you’re basically having your rights as a property owner and as a landlord infringed.
What your Rights Are
The housing authority is basically deciding what your rights are. They don’t care what state law says.
It doesn’t matter to them. They’re just setting their own rules and you have to abide by them if you want to keep getting that rent.