What to Know About Section 8 Tenants

Landlords often seek out or simply accept a commonly used government housing funded program often referred to as Section 8. But what should landlords know about Section 8 and the tenants that benefit from it? Read on to learn more:

What is Section 8?What to Know About Section 8 Tenants

Section 8 refers to a particular federal law out of the Housing and Urban Development codes for government funded rental payments on behalf of low income or indigent citizens. Under the Section 8 program, the federal government provides funds to individual states. The states then use these funds through local housing commissions. It is the housing commission where tenants apply for Section 8 assistance. The housing commission is also the entity that approves a particular property and pays the rent to the landlord.

Section 8 Considerations

Landlords see a tremendous value from the Section 8 program because the housing commission always pays its portion on time and never seems to run out of money. However, there are also two serious considerations: 1) government oversight of the rental relationship and 2) the financial abilities of the Section 8 tenants.

Government oversight

Your rental house has to be “approved” for occupancy by the local housing commission before you can accept Section 8 tenants. The housing commission will send out its own independent inspector to ensure your house meets their standards. Until the house is approved by the commission, your rent payments don’t start.

However, just because you the housing commission approved your rental house doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way. The housing commission is required to do annual inspections. If the housing commission finds deficiencies in the home in their re-inspection, that can put your house and tenant into abatement.

Financial status of Section 8 tenants

The other aspect to consider when evaluating a Section 8 opportunity is the financial status of the prospective tenant. When a tenant with a job breaks something in your house, they have the financial ability to fix it. Section 8 tenants may not have this ability. As stated previously, a Section 8 tenant is only receives government benefits because they either have little to no income. If a Section 8 tenant fails to pay for utility bills, their portion of the rent, late fees, or damages to your property, you may have little to no real recourse to make yourself whole.

Section 8 tenants can be a great asset to landlords of both single-family homes and multi-family apartments. However, landlords need to understand what they are getting themselves into and the potential consequences. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Aaron D. Cox have extensive experience with Section 8 tenants and programs. To learn more, contact us today.

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