Yes, it does suck. And we’ve had plenty of Section 8 tenants over the years that were very good tenants, and plenty of tenants that sucked that weren’t Section 8, and everything in between.
Another problem with renting to Section 8 tenants (at least in my area) is that Section 8 may disagree with me about what an apartment is worth. If I have a unit available that I’m trying to rent for $450.00/mo and a Section 8 inspector comes in and says “We’ll allow $375.00/mo for this unit”, then I have to decide: do I take the $75.00/mo hit in cash flow in an effort to guarantee that I’ll get paid on time? Or do I tell the inspector that the $450.00 is ‘firm’ and non-negotiable, so I’ll wait for a self-pay tenant?
Years ago, in Baltimore, it used to be that if a unit rented for $450.00 (to stick with my above example), and HUD would only pay $375.00, the prospective tenant could still contract with us, agreeing to self-pay the balance. I understand such deals still take place, but they are not sanctioned by HUD any longer. In fact, they are very much discouraged. Even if there was a $75.00 difference, and the prospective tenant said to me “Yeah, I know it’s not as much as you want, and I can’t afford to pay more, but if you rent to me, I’ll keep all the grass mowed, the building trim painted, the front porch area cleaned up”, etc. HUD really discourages this.