One of the most well-known U.S. housing assistance programs for low income families is known as “Section 8”. This is a governmental housing program in which the government subsidizes a tenant’s rent payments. Although Section 8 isn’t suited for all landlords, it works exceptionally well for others and has been a very important part of stabilizing my rentals and increasing my income. If you’re considering becoming a Section 8 housing landlord, here’s what you need to do, along with some of the program’s advantages and then we’ll dispel the myths.
Bryan breaks down the benefits of becoming a section 8 landlord
The first step in becoming a Section 8 landlord is completing an application, as well as providing personal data. This includes stating what you require for rent payments. Your rates should not be too high for your particular area if you want your application to be accepted.
After your application has been approved, there’s a rather in-depth inspection on your rental property to ensure it measures up to all the local safety codes and building regulations. A typical property inspection entails checking locks on doors and windows, besides ensuring plumbing and wiring is working and is safe.
Building structures are examined to make sure they’re safe. Safety ramps and handrails may need to be installed. If changes need to be made, you’ll be informed so that you’ll be able to be accepted as a Section 8 landlord. Once your property has passed inspection and you’re approved, you can start receiving vouchers from Section 8 tenants.
HQS Housing Inspection Video
A few of the main benefits of being a Section 8 housing landlord include:
- Receiving regular, monthly rental payments from the government—Unlike receiving rental payments for tenants, you don’t have to worry if you’ll get paid. Payments can be received by checks in the mail or can be directly deposited into your bank account.
- Tenants are already pre-screened by the Section 8 office. Tenants are screened on the level of income. During this process, criminal records are examined, such as evictions because of drug problems that have occurred during the last three years. If tenants do have drug-related evictions, they won’t receive Housing Choice Vouchers. (We still advise that you provide additional screening)
- A consistent base of tenants is another perk as there is a long list of people who want to be in a Section 8 housing program. This means you don’t have to be concerned about vacancies.
- Ideal marketing opportunities is a benefit. Marketing can be done online or in person. If you choose to advertise online, you can use Section’s 8’s website, gosection8.com. Also, consult your local Public Housing Authority branch to see if they have a website in which you can list rentals.
- Increased rents—Once a year, landlords are allowed to reassess rent payments they receive from tenants, meaning they can charge their Section 8 tenants higher rental fees.
Dispelling the myths
There are also some myths to being a Section 8 housing landlord.
- “Rentals may be subjected to more wear and tear”—Wear and tear is a reflection of management. Period. This is mainly due to the lack of inspections by the landlord. At the end of the day, it is the job of the property manager or landlord to regulate the relationship. Anything negative is never a reflection of the tenant. It’s a reflection of the landlord or property manager. Same thing can be said for anything positive.
- “Too many inspections”— It is up to you to inspect what you expect. That is a chapter in my book. There is nothing wrong with inspections. If you are doing everything correctly, the you shouldn’t be afraid of anyone inspecting your rental units. I say the more the merrier because there is no one inspecting my rental units more than me. I inspect my units on a monthly basis, so if section 8 or any government program comes, they won’t find any problems. I inspect what I expect on a monthly basis, changing AC filters and walking the units or having our maintenance team walk the units. We check under the sinks and all of the vanities and include moderate checks here and there as small issues can end up growing into large costly ones. At the end of the day, inspection is key.
Interested in learning more?
The Landlord Property Management Academy partners with local housing authorities to offer free training to landlords that want to participate in the section 8 program. We also offer scholarships for Section 8 landlords to obtain advanced property management training as well as discounts on everyday supplies you’ll need to manage your properties. To find out more about how to thrive as a landlord participating in the Section 8 program, please contact us anytime.