Anyone have any experience of renting to "Section 8" recipients

So I’m thinking of moving out of the home I purchased in the East San Francisco bay area, currently looking at the various options w.r.t. renting versus selling.

I talked to a property manager today about my options for renting out my place. He made convincing case for renting it out to “Section 8” tenants. But I am not convinced, having heard to many horror stories about such things.

Has anyone rented to “Section 8” tenants in the past ? What was your experience like ?

You always get your rent, which is in itself pretty sweet. Screen the tenants just like you normally would- not all section 8 folks are lowlifes or anything at all like the stereotype might be, but- just like regular tenants- if you don’t thoroughly screen, you might end up with your property being messed up.

You shouldn’t have to worry about evicting them for not paying. That alone saves you from rebuilding a new house after they leave. They would shit and piss all over the house before they leave, pull the copper, hammer holes in the wall, bust out all the windows, and much more. They can get creative too… It’s not all of them though. Some are very grateful to have made it past the waiting list and would hate to get back on it.

In some states, it’s very difficult to evict a Section 8 tenant. Since you’re guaranteed your rent on time, you have to have some other reason for eviction, and other things can be hard to prove. For this reason, IME, you have to screen Section 8 tenants a little more carefully. We’ve always made sure to talk to at least two previous landlords, in addition to the screening we usually do.

Now that sucks, but still I believe people have to be happy to even get a section 8 house. I heard the waiting time was 10 yrs here. Having to wait 10 years should filter out a lot of weeds. I’m not sure if that is the same for everywhere though.

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.

Other posters made similar comments. But it isn’t so clear to me, for two reasons:[ul]
[li]The Wiki article linked in the OP makes it sound like the government only subsidizes the rent. Granted that it goes straight from the government to the landlord, so there’s no worry that the tenant might divert it, but are we talking about the entire rent, or only a portion of it? How many Section 8 tenants get a 100% subsidy?[/li][li]Is there any worry that the tenant’s finances might improve to the point where they are no longer eligible for the government subsidy? Isn’t it possible that the government payments might suddenly stop one day with no warning to the landlord?[/li][/ul]

[quote=“Keeve, post:7, topic:575818”]

Other posters made similar comments. But it isn’t so clear to me, for two reasons:[ul]
[li]The Wiki article linked in the OP makes it sound like the government only subsidizes the rent. Granted that it goes straight from the government to the landlord, so there’s no worry that the tenant might divert it, but are we talking about the entire rent, or only a portion of it? How many Section 8 tenants get a 100% subsidy?[/li][/quote]

As I alluded in a different post, around here at least, HUD strongly disapproves of a landlord letting an apartment to a Section 8 tenant if the Section 8 payment isn’t a 100% subsidy. They can’t stop me from saying “OK, HUD will pay $390.00 of this, but then you’ll still have to pay me another $60.00 a month”, but they don’t like it.

I don’t know what would happen in this instance, and haven’t encountered it. Certainly it would be something to consider.

I think we’re talking about two different things. If HUD says the place is worth only $390, they don’t want the landlord asking for an extra $60. That makes sense.

But I’m asking a different question: Suppose HUD agrees that the place is worth $450, but the tenant qualifies for only $390 in subsidies. Would HUD say “Sorry! You gotta find a cheaper place”? What if there AREN’T any cheaper places around?

In my area there is a percentage that is paid directly from the renter. I think the percentage depends on the income of the family but I don’t believe anyone pays zero out of pocket.

For us, the section 8 allowance was actually more than what we were offering the house for- the guy told us we should raise the praise to match that. So, I suppose my point is that it goes both ways.

I think around here, it can’t change during the terms of the leasing period. Once the lease is up, they can adjust.

My experiences are in WA as a resident manager. We liked Section 8 applicants overall. We did our normal screening for criminal history and such, but we really didn’t care about the credit check portion, since the state always paid 100% of the rent, and we got our normal rental price. Since Section 8 didn’t negotiate for free months or rate reductions, it meant we often got paid better. We didn’t have any more noise or other complaints about those tenants compared to our usual tenants. (If anything, it was less).

If there was any drawback to Section 8, it’s periodic inspections. However, we maintained our property above their standards, and a typical inspection ended as soon as the inspector could find some minor flaw to note in his report.

In fact, the inspections were good for us - half the time, the problem was a leaky faucet that the tenant hadn’t reported to us. Since we paid for water, we wanted to repair those as quickly as possible.

I imagine that a “slum lord” would find those inspections more troublesome, though. Especially if you have an older property.

Interesting, the property manager I spoke to said this would not be a problem.

26 years of handling Section 8 tenants. Yes, Section 8 only pays a proportion of the rent, and you have to get the rest from the tenant. And if the rent is more than the tenant’s maximum amount, Section 8 will refuse to subsidize it. Since accepting additional monthly rent from the tenant was very illegal, and they could report it to Section 8 if they had a problem with you, we would demand a year’s extra amount upfront for the use of the basement for storage or garage or something.

Section 8 inspects once a year. Even if the problem is the tenant’s fault, you as the landlord have to fix it.

Put in the lease that this is a Section 8 rental and unless the rent is received paid in full on time every month, the tenant will be taken to court for eviction. THEN DO IT! Do not play to their request to pay it later. Make sure they understand if it’s not paid by the fifth, they will be charged a 5% late fee. On the 10th, it 10% late fee and they are taken to court.

If a Section 8 tenant is evicted for non-payment, they are ban from the program forever. Make sure they know that.

Put a detailed list of the tenants names and ages on the lease. Make sure the tenant knows that if anyone else moves in, you have to approve it. If you don’t they will be taken to court, and Section 8 will be notified.

Anyone know if this applies in CA ?

Though I thought it was incredibly difficult to evict any kind of tenant in CA.

We haven’t noticed it’s any harder to kick out a Section 8 tenant than anyone else. If anything, you can call their case worker if you’re having any issues- usually the threat of losing their benefits will make them clean up whatever they’re doing (usually it’s letting random people not on the lease live at the house).

One more thing: Put on the lease that any llegal act will be cause for immediate eviction.

One Section 8 tenant who was living there with her son and her husband let her other son move in when he got out of prison. For drugs. He immediately turned the house into a drug den, moved several other people in, with the kicker being that two people were shot (one fatally) at the house. And they left a bunch of bullet holes and shot out windows at the house.

After we threw them out, the guy’s girlfriend tried to rent the place and claimed discrimiation when we wouldn’t rent to her drug dealing ass. We told her to forget it.

I’ll relate this and you can draw your own conclusions: I used to be the construction director for a public housing authority, which means we had a lot of Section 8 tenants. Almost without fail, when we went in after they moved, it required extensive renovations. Whether this is more so with Section 8 folks than with anybody else is up for debate. You don’t have the luxury of having a housing authority to look after your property, so any repairs will be out of your pocket. It’s an extremely good idea to include the right of entry and inspection in any contract you sign with a tenant, and to fully understand tenants’ rights in your state regardless of who you rent to.

Are these tenants people discharged from the armed services for being crazy? :confused:

That’s an entirely different Section 8.