Section 8 Housing - Posted by Nicole

Posted by Redline on December 14, 2000 at 15:56:09:

That is my understanding also after talking with a Sec8 rep in my area … the landlord is on their own when it comes to damages and evictions.

And yes, most of the section8 properties I’ve seen could easily be red-tagged and boarded up.


Section 8 Housing - Posted by Nicole

Posted by Nicole on December 13, 2000 at 08:05:56:

I am thinking about purchasing a house which would have tenants from Section 8 Housing. Should I get involved with Section 8 tentants? Generally, are they usually good tenants? Do they pay rent on time, etc.?


Re: Section 8 Housing - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on December 13, 2000 at 13:34:12:

I don’t do Sec8, nor do I expect to. About the only good thing that I could say regarding it would be that the rent shows up on time.

I deal in area where there are numerous Sec8 properties. When I see these properties they typically look like they have been lived in hard. I just bought an REO where the house next door was Sec8. The tenant was throwing dirty diapers out of a second story bathroom window onto my property.

The theory is that these tenants take care of the property because they don’t want to be kicked off of Sec8. Good theory. But what I see in practice is that the properties look beat up, and that the tenant doesn’t get kicked off the program.

Maybe I’ve missed something. But I’d rather lease/option these houses to someone who has something at stake in taking care of the house.


Re: Section 8 Housing - Posted by Mark (SDCA)

Posted by Mark (SDCA) on December 13, 2000 at 10:29:05:

The comments below are fairly representative of Section 8. I won’t go into my details. My results with the program have been less favorable.

Alll I want to add is that in general I would not rent a HOUSE Section 8. Apartment, yes. House, no. I can get a better grade of tenant for a house.


My experiences. - Posted by John J.

Posted by John J. on December 13, 2000 at 09:31:42:

I have had Section 8 tenants off and on for the past 15 years. I now have 3 such families.

Screen Section 8 applicants as you would any others, although credit and income is less critical, but check the criminal background and references, including previous landlords. The Housing Authority will do an inspection before signing a contract. I have never had a problem with that since their requirements are very reasonable for providing decent housing. They will also do annual renewal inspections which forces the tenants to fix any damages that they are responsible for on an annual basis. One of my three Housing families is somewhat rough on their place. The repairs that they had to perform to pass the latest inspection included sheetrock repair, fixing a broken screen, window, and a stair railing. Passing the inspection is an issue between the tenants and their case workers. I do not get involved. Their deposit should cover any remaining damages at move-out. When I have had non-Section 8 tenants that were this rough, the damages would just accumulate over the years until the place became unlivable for them, then they stopped paying rent until I evicted them at which time they just skipped out.

Most of my Section 8 tenants stay for a long time, so it reduces turnover. Be aware that the Housing Authority has maximum allowable rents that are based on local market surveys that can be a bit out of date. Make sure that the rents that they allow are acceptable to you.

I use the standard HUD contracts rather than my own. Theirs includes a number of rules for the tenant to follow (as mine does) for good behavior. If the tenants violate these rules then they will lose their housing subsidy, which is the last thing they want to have happening. Whenever I run into problems, I always let the case worker take care of it and never have had a problem with them enforcing their own contract. The other two of my current Section 8 tenants are model residents; they keep their homes and yards in immaculate condition.

Re: Section 8 Housing - Posted by Brian

Posted by Brian on December 13, 2000 at 08:33:04:

Actually, my wife and I just signed contracts on a duplex and a quad with section 8 tenants. I’ve been told to just bear in mind right up front that the place will probably need to be cleaned top to bottom when you move a new tenant in. Get a big deposit up front, and stipulate that the deposit can’t be used for last month’s rent.

The positives are that you’ll recieve your housing authority checks each month (which can amount to all or a large percentage of the total rent due).

Four of the six tenants I’ve just acquired are section 8, but in meeting them, they seem to be very happy and resonsible.

Re: Section 8 Housing - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by JohnBoy on December 13, 2000 at 13:51:40:

I remember about 8 years ago when I was looking at a house for rent. The owner was there showing the property to a bunch of people. He would just set appointments for everyone to come around the same time within an hour time frame. He was collecting $25 on each person filling out rental apps. You knew the guy already knew he would know who he was going to accept and was just making extra cash of collecting rental apps. He was only interested in renting section 8.

While I was talking to him he was telling me how he rents all his properties to section 8 tenants only. At that time he said section 8 would pay for any damages a tenant caused after they moved out. The carpet in this house was BAD and needed to be replaced. He said he would file a claim and get paid from section 8 for the cost of replacing it and then he’ll just have it cleaned and leave it at that making a profit of section 8 from the money they paid him to replace the carpet.

I don’t know much about section 8 but I think they have changed a lot since then. But if this guy was getting paid for damages to his property after his section 8 tenants moved out and just pocketing that money instead of fixing up the properties with that money, then it’s a no wonder why a lot of the section 8 properties look the way do.

Re: My experiences. - Posted by Dave (CA)

Posted by Dave (CA) on December 13, 2000 at 13:53:23:


Are you saying that when the inspector finds issues with the unit, they expect the tenant to fix them? That’s contrary to everything I’ve ever heard about Section 8. What happens if the tenant doesn’t fix them and Section 8 withholds rent?


Damages - Posted by John J.

Posted by John J. on December 13, 2000 at 15:43:24:

It used to be that you could collect no or only a very small deposit from Section 8 renters and HUD would pay damages after the tenants vacated - up to one or 2 months rent. This changed a few years ago. I now screen my Section 8 applicants as I do everyone and charge as high a deposit. I usually have a neighbor show my vacant units and give their opinion about the applicant. I take the calls and screen them by phone. If they meet my standards, then I have them contact the respective neighbor to make an appointment to see the unit and fill out an application. Most neighbors have been very willing to help out, as this will give them much say in who I rent to: if they don’t want them next door, then I don’t want them in my units. If the neighbors say that they look or behave like slobs, then I won’t even check their credit, etc. This has also cut down the complaints from the neighbors in the few cases where we did make an error in judgement.

As a rule, Section 8 tenants are low-income people and certain generalizations do apply to this population segment. That’s why careful screening is in order to protect your real estate investments. When everything checks out okay, but I am in doubt about their tidiness, I sometimes drive by the address that they are moving away from to see if their front lawn looks like a junk yard or is in immaculate condition. This will help me make a decision.

Re: Section 8 Housing - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on December 13, 2000 at 14:08:09:

Another good point. The landlords in some cases are as bad as the tenants!

My understanding here by the way is that Sec8 does not pay for tenant damage. They can kick them out of the program…but the landlord is left to recover damages from whatever the security deposit is…or pursue this tenant who doesn’t have a dime to their name.


Sectin 8 Inspections - Posted by John J.

Posted by John J. on December 13, 2000 at 16:08:06:

The owner is responsible to fix all items that do not meet the HUD standards before the tenant moves in. If at the annual renewal inspection the Housing Authority finds problems then the contract will not be renewed unless the problems are rectified within 30 days. If the problems are clearly due to the tenant’s neglect - broken windows, doors off the hinges, missing battery in smoke alarm,etc. - then I will give the tenant a choice: fix them (they can hire me to do it) or move. If they do move and leave the landlord unreimbursed for such damages then they will not be eligible for further housing subsidy (i.e.: they get kicked off the program), which is a big stick. During the last inspection refferenced above, also some repairs came up for which I was clearly responsible: replace wa orn out light switch and malfunctioning smoke alarm and install a tub liner to cover up a bad bathroom wall. I would have done these repairs anyway, had the tenant notified me of them.

I have had many more positive than negative experiences with Section 8 tenants, but I have learned to screen the applicants carefully and manage the process well. The rent money is automatically deposited into my bank acount on the 2nd of each month, the tenants are long term, and if there is a problem with a resident then the 3rd party mediator is the one that holds their purse strings.