terrible experiences with section 8 ??? - Posted by IZZY from new york

Posted by Anne_ND on July 16, 2002 at 12:44:42:


Thanks for your comments. I don’t blame the HUD program for the fact that I missed things I should have caught when screening- the problem is the tenant lied on the form, and I didn’t catch it. Since then I have not accepted tenants whose work history I couldn’t verify, even if they were okay otherwise.

I won’t rent this house to section 8 again because of our experience with the housing coordinator. According to the city inspectors who came through the house, the coordinator is known to be trouble. Since HUD obviously tolerates her (and she has caused me much grief), I’m not doing business with them again.


terrible experiences with section 8 ??? - Posted by IZZY from new york

Posted by IZZY from new york on July 15, 2002 at 10:14:33:


I was talking to a landlord in my neighborhood about section eight tenants I was considering.

he told me that “unless your house is close to new condition, section 8 tenants know too much and they will drive you up the wall much more then regualr paying tenants”.

any truth or experiences with such tenants you can help me with?

Re: terrible experiences with section 8 ??? - Posted by Aaron

Posted by Aaron on August 25, 2002 at 16:40:49:

I have had the unfortunate experience of being a tenant in a high-rise Section 8 building. It has been a horrible, awful experience to live in this place. The thing that ruins the building is the section 8 tenants themselves. They are a bunch of lazy weirdos who stay drunk and high 24 hours a day. They throw trash everywhere, blast music at incredible volumes day and night, engage in all sorts of criminal behavior from drug use and selling to prostitution, and will steal anything in the building that is not nailed down. They are a group of very devious people who know how to work the system and get as much stuff out of the government and other agencies as possible. Basically they behave like maniacs most of the time, and the administration of the building does nothing about it. If a tenant complains to the administration about a problem nothing is done. Also the management will tend to try to scapegoat and discredit the person complaining to make it look as though that person is the problem. Administrators and workers in the building constantly come and go as they are fired for various reasons, sometimes for criminal behavior, sometimes for just being incompetent. All in all, section 8 housing is a blight in any neighborhood it is put in. The system is a joke and is poorly managed. Most of the tenants are criminals, drug addicts and alcoholics who make no effort to overcome any supposed disability they claim to have. Most of them consider it to be party time when they get into a section 8 building, time to get high, blast music and behave like morons all day and night, all at the taxpayer’s expense. Take it from somebody on the inside, this is the truth. And the buildings are poorly managed and maintained. Once in a while there is an inspection, and you should see the management and the maintenance workers going nuts and working overtime, Saturdays and Sundays until one or two in the moring trying desperately to get the place in shape. Then when the inspectors leave it all goes to hell again. So if someone tells you section 8 is a good thing, DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT! It’s bad all around and should be eliminated. As I said, take it from some one on the inside.

Re: terrible experiences with section 8 ??? - Posted by JoeS

Posted by JoeS on July 16, 2002 at 22:33:18:

Where I live properties are appreciating on average about 5% per year so I do not buy and hold, except for 1 property I had to take back. It was a 3 br. sfr. and I rented it out to a young lady who paid her rent on time every month for 1 year…never heard from her about this or that.

When she moved on with her life I rented to a Section 8 tenant, wife with 2 last names, 2 kids and a husband who was in terrific physical shape but could not work for one reason or another.

The moment they moved in the place started falling apart…they went through the new storm door in 2 months. Mine has been on my house for 20 years! Every little nit-picky thing they called us for. They even called us to put in new light bulbs!

During the course of the year her sister and 3 more kids moved in, further destroying the place. When the year was up I wanted them OUT! No renewal! Now I have to spend time and money to fix up the place to sell it, guess what? Section 8 will NOT reimburse you for any damage! They can merely move on to the next target of destruction.

Bottom line? As far as I am concerned, and this is only MY opinion, NO MORE TENANTS FOR ME UNLESS THEY PAY THE RENT. No more free-loaders sucking off the system! They have zero responsibility!

Re: terrible experiences with section 8 ??? - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on July 16, 2002 at 06:40:45:

Hi Izzy:

In dealing with various types of tenants, I keep in mind that I have to deal with a certain attitude.

For instance, I avoid business owners as tenants because every thing to them is a business deal, and things must be done at their conveneience. I got a business owner tenant right now, and my contractors got tired of him putting off repair appointments. But, then he doesn’t mind getting contractors there himself to do the repairs and paying for it himself, at his conveneience. So go figure - is he a good tenant or not?

I avoid section 8 tenants for the same reason. By and large, most of them, not all, are experts in “working the system”, and avoiding responsibility. Then, a minority are just good people who hit a patch of bad luck and needs a helping hand. So are we expert enough to distinguish one from the other??

My neice’s husband is a rehab contractor, and makes a good living right now rehabbing apartments when section 8 tenants move out. I visited his work site not long ago where he was intalling brand new kitchens and bathrooms, sheetrocking and retiling the whole place.

I remarked to him that it was nice of the landlord to upgrade the place. He answer was "No, they usually do this when section 8 tenants leave since its just as much work to repair and patch a place that’s trashed.

The landlord is the owner of a large apartment complex, so he does dozens of these rehabs every year. But according to him, this is expected, and the landlord had already priced it in as the cost of doing business, and the volume of work allowed him to keep several crews busy.

I thought to myself that I’ll probably go broke installing new kitchens and bathrooms every time a tenant leaves.

Frank Chin

Re: terrible experiences with section 8 ??? - Posted by Richard

Posted by Richard on July 15, 2002 at 14:39:20:

I have never had a really bad experience from NON-section 8 tenants - and while every section 8 tenant I had wasn’t bad, every bad tenant I ever had WAS a section 8.
You remove a lot of control from YOUR hands when you rent to a section 8. I’m not talking about sub-standard housingand I’m not talking about taking advantage of people. I’ll simply let my first statement speak for itself. (I managed 450 rentals and got OUT of the sectin 8 business all together because of bad experiences).

Re: terrible experiences with section 8 ??? - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on July 15, 2002 at 14:29:47:


Interesting comment from the neigborhood landlord. I suppose that means you should only rent to naive, youthful renters? The renter’s experience and knowledge of the laws is probably uncorrelated with
the section 8/not section category. You should simply be selective. I have fine section 8 renters.

Good Investing**********Ron Starr**************

Re: terrible experiences with section 8 ??? - Posted by JFinke KC

Posted by JFinke KC on July 15, 2002 at 13:10:21:

I doubt that Section 8 tenants are much different than regular tenants. There are good ones and bad ones. You have to screen out the bad ones. If your property is in poor condition, you will have complaints regardless of where the rent is derived. If you are renting Section 8, the Housing Authority has a set of standards that must be met. In my opinion, a property should exceed these standards. If you’ve taken care that your property is high quality and in working order, you should have many complaints.

Section 8 tenants want a decent place to live just like anyone else. Landlords who can keep their properties in decent condition and complain about making repairs shouldn’t be landlords. They are the reason landlords have a bad name. Our responsibility goes beyond mere rent collection. Our tenants rely on us to provide them with quality housing, and many of them rent because they don’t want the responsibilities of ownership. If you can’t handle that responsibility, get out of the business!

Good Luck,

JFinke KC

section 8 ??? - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on July 15, 2002 at 10:26:24:


My only section 8 experience was as you described, but a number of landlords on this newsgroup have had great good luck with section 8. I suggest that you search the archives for some helpful info.


you paint with a broad brush - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on July 15, 2002 at 14:14:17:


I agree that the standards that HUD sets are reasonable. In my case, HUD approved the house five months ago and then put the tenant in. The tenant has lied (about putting the utilities in her name), stolen (two dehumidifiers), commited welfare fraud (I was contacted by the welfare fraud division) and now won’t pay her part of the rent ($30/mo). The dispossessory was filed today.

The housing coordinator has been even worse than the tenant: she has lied to me, to the state agency, and probably to the tenant. I have much of this in writing from the housing coordinator (did I also mention that she’s stupid?).

We treat our tenants really well and provide them with high quality housing. We also rent to pet owners, which no one else around here will do. Most of my tenants have been great, but I did have one guy drive through the front of my nicest 4-bedroom rental. Tenants have responsibilities as well as landlords. That’s the power of a great lease: it’s all spelled out.

I will not be renting to section 8 again. And it’s not because I “can’t handle the responsibility”.


Oops, typo… - Posted by JFinke KC

Posted by JFinke KC on July 15, 2002 at 13:13:28:

“If you’ve taken care that your property is high quality and in working order, you should have many complaints.”

Supposed to say “should NOT have many complaints”.

Got typing a little too fast, sorry.

JFinke KC

Re: question - Posted by Jim Rayner

Posted by Jim Rayner on July 15, 2002 at 16:28:39:


you mention the power of great lease

did the HA refuse to allow you to use your own lease? they should not have. the lease between you and the tenant can be your own its your choice.

When you say the HA put the tenant in, they did allow you your normal screening process?

sorry to hear that you had a bad experience. sounds like your HA might not be doing their job.

Re: you paint with a broad brush - Posted by JFinke KC

Posted by JFinke KC on July 15, 2002 at 15:02:52:


I’m sorry to here of your misfortune, however, I go back to my original premise, Section 8 tenants are no better or worse than non-Section 8. Similar stories are heard time and time again in the non-Section 8 market. There will always be someone trying to take advantage of their landlord, this will never change. I once had a non-Section 8 tenant stiff me for 3 months rent, does that mean I will never rent non-Section 8 again? Heck no, that wouldn’t make good business sense, I’ll just be more careful in the future. I think its unfair to judge an entire system because of a few bad apples. Doing so makes your brush just as broad as mine… :slight_smile:

Although an adequate screening process filters out most of the riff-raff there will always be a few that know how to beat the system. Not knowing all the facts, I can’t say for sure, but its sound like your Housing Authority didn’t do an adequate job in your case. As I’m sure you’ve done, I would make a complaint to her supervisor. Different HA’s operate very differently and some are not as good as others.

I agree that tenants have responsibilities as well. But the orginal generalization made was that Section 8 tenants are more trouble than non-Section 8, and I don’t think that’s true, I think they are all equally as bad.

I took the original post as meaning repair complaints which prompted the whole “responsibility and quality” angle. I may have made an incorrect assumption, but I’ve looked at properties with the landlord complaining about Section 8 standards when their property wasn’t even fit for the roaches scurrying under the oozing refrigerator! Not kidding!

Hopefully, one day your HA will improve its service.

Good Luck,

JFinke KC

used my lease - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on July 15, 2002 at 17:03:42:


I did use my lease, as well as several addenda taken from Louis Brown’s lease, so I have a strong lease. My mistake was in the screening process- we prefer to rent to (responsible) pet owners, and I overlooked some other things that would have tipped me off to the problems we are having now.

This tenant is very clean, and treats her dog very well. Unfortunately she also knows how to work the system, and for some reason has a slippery housing coordinator on her side. We plan to file complaints with HUD about the coordinator once the tenant is gone.

Believe me, I have tightened up the screening process.


PS- Four months after this coordinator approved the house, when I started telling the tenant she had to pay us what she owed, the coordinator had the tenant call in the local building code and fire inspectors. They went over the house, found a few little things (which we’ve already fixed) and told the tenant that she had a nice place to live. The housing coordinator, however, sent me a list of things we had to fix or else she would stop payment on HUD’s portion of the rent. We have also fixed these things. Meanwhile, no rent from the tenant this month. I don’t have any idea what’s going on, just want her out at this point. The tenant has also personally threatened me, and has been asking about where I live, etc.

Re: you paint with a broad brush - Posted by CH

Posted by CH on July 15, 2002 at 23:25:54:

In general, Sec 8 properties are much harder properties to manage?.Ask any professional property manager! Sec 8 people need money from the gov?t to help pay their rent for a reason??

Re: used my lease - Posted by Tony-VA

Posted by Tony-VA on July 16, 2002 at 10:37:15:

Anne, I too believe that you problem has been located in your screening, not necessarily with section 8. Yes, it does sound as though you would not wish to do further business while this housing coordinator is in place but for other people considering section 8, the problem here was the screening process. We all get burned from time to time.

Anne, I ask you honestly, could this same tenant, if not on section 8, still have defeated your screening process? It sounds like she is a pretty smooth talker and can present herself well when necessary. If so, channces are she could still have defeated your screening process by getting you to let your guard down.

It has been my experience that most landlords are more intensive when screening section 8 tenants than others because of a stories of such horrible expreriences.

Section 8 or not, screening is important. Prompt action to terminate the lease when things go wrong is equally important (which it appears you have done).

A great lease is one thing but I do caution that there is no “be all, end all lease”. I talk with landlords who have 17 page lease agreements! This is not reasonable and I do not believe such things will ever hold up in court. Overloading a lease with pro-landlord clauses can actually work against you in court. I am by no means stating that you have done this, just something to keep in mind.

Best Wishes,


Re: you paint with a broad brush - Posted by brad

Posted by brad on July 16, 2002 at 11:37:53:

i have been on both sides of the coin. not personally as the renter on section 8 but as the bf of the renter. i would watch the people next door throw a party get into a fight and bust up the apt. then they would overload the place with people not on the lease. the land lords around there would forgive/forget about the tenants part as a form of damage control. rents were 400 per month in this building. the same building across town was renting for 650 because there were not any sec 8. i will not say all people on sec 8 are bad. but i will say that people do not apreciate a handout. they start to feel like this is there right. i personally would not rent sec 8 unless i have multi units. till i get there it is cash customers. think about this a broken light switch will hold up your rent how many 10 cent switches will you replace before you replace a tenant?