Renting property to the Section 8 tenants has its pros and cons but there are sure some advantages that overweigh the drawbacks.
If you are landlord looking to rent your property for the first time or in the business already, you must have considered renting your property to Section 8 tenants. Its benefits include government-subsidized income and free advertising. There are certain hardships of being a Section 8 landlord that overshadow the prospective rewards.
Here are the strategies for the landlord to adopt, in case you opt for renting out to low-income tenants of Section 8 housing program.
What is Section 8 and the initial procedure?
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, which was founded in 1937, is an inexpensive housing initiative that permits landlords to rent homes at comparatively lower market rates to qualified low-income tenants.
In principle, this program pays the balance of a rent payment that exceeds 30% of renters monthly earnings. Being a federal program, run by Housing and Urban Development (HUD), it is carried out by the local Public Housing Authority of the individual state.
Before approval, building/ property is inspected and accepted by the local housing authority and the leasing amount must be at or below the Fair Market Rent set by HUD.
The Public Housing Authority will directly pay the subsidy amount to the qualifying property/landlord. The remaining amount of rent will need to be paid by the tenants.
There are following two types of vouchers
- The tenant-based voucher is connected with the tenant and this assistance moves with the tenant. The demand for Section 8 housing far surpasses the supply. Means vouchers are limited and applicants have to register in long waiting lists. And when the vouchers are received the tenants have to abide by strict rules.
- The Project-Based voucher is attached to a specific property. When tenants move into such property, they receive the same type of financial assistance with a difference that if they move the Section 8 program benefits stay with the property, benefiting the next resident.
Advantages of Renting to Section 8 Tenants: PROS
Renting to tenants having housing vouchers is a great decision for many property owners with a range of reasons; it is profitable, it is easier to work with the housing authority more than many people think, and properties usually rent more quickly. The manner in which it will work for you as a landlord chiefly depends on how you run your business. For example, huge property management companies easily handle the extra work that accompanies Section 8 rentals, while private landlords may not have the time to invest in the program. The benefits of renting out to tenants with vouchers include;
1) Regular Rent Payments: The property owner is prevented of the delayed payments by the low-income tenants as the major portion of the rental amounts are paid by the Government and the tenant are also bound to pay their share on time.
2) Pre-Screened Tenants: the tenants are prescreened by the authority for the criminal history and drugs testing for all family members providing extra protection to the property and the landlord. The program also provides you with current and previous addresses of the tenant.
3) Constant Tenant Base: With the long lists of tenants in waiting in urban areas, your property remains rented continuously, improving the market-worthiness of your property and better chances of getting it rented.
4) Free Advertising: HUD offers information to potential tenants, regarding the eligible housing units and lists of landlords ready to accept housing vouchers. This free advertising also increases the value of your property.
5) Business Support Scholarship: Section8 landlords are offered scholarships by companies, to obtain property management training and discounts on property maintenance supplies.
At the same time many property owners consider the following as the disadvantages in renting their property to tenants of Section 8 housing program:
- The landlords have to follow Rental Pricing Regulations like Fair Market Rent(FMR).
- The properties in Lower Income Areas involve Risks of Renting like increased chances of property damage and water/ safety issues being ignored by the city authorities.
- The owner has to wait initially for the rent as voucher payment is received after the tenant moves in
- You will not be entitled to the security deposit(which is typical in most rentals) as HUD does not pay security deposits and pay only the monthly rent, which could be a problem for some owners.
- Annual Property Inspections are made to check around 13 aspects of security and you have to continuously keep your property meet the set criteria with becoming difficult with some unruly tenants.
- Sometimes owners find it difficult to sell their property with Section 8 tenants. Potential buyers, not interested in accepting vouchers may not want to deal with the hassle of ending leases to be able to rent to the free market again.
With the long tenant wait list for low-income rentals, you will always have tenants ready to move in and sign a lease. At the same time, you have the luxury of renting to the prescreened as renting to the free market, you cannot be guaranteed the tenants will be the most responsible. While in renting to the section 8 tenants, who might be paying you as per FMR (which also increases 8% annually) but you got some government guarantees assurances of the damages to your property. The tenants in the section 8 program are also long term occupants.