Government Housing Programs
How Does Housing Choice (Section 8) Housing Work? From An Landlord’s Perspective
One of the most popular assistance programs is known as Section 8. With this program, a tenant’s rent payment is subsidized by the government. For landlords willing to deal with extra paperwork, and willing to do a little extra at the behest of the government, it’s possible to find stable tenants — and receive a regular rent check as income for your rental property.
Becoming a Section 8 Landlord
If you want to be a section 8 landlord, you need need to jump through some hoops. First of all, you have to fill out an application to be considered a Section 8 landlord. You will provide personal information, as well as information about your rental rates. In order to be accepted as a Section 8 landlord, you will need to keep your rates around the median for your area. If your rates are too high, you might have to lower them in order to be accepted by the Section 8 program.
Your property also needs to be inspected. Your rental property has to be up to code, and everything needs to be in proper repair and working safely. Realize, too, that in some areas you might be required to provide air conditioning. The inspectors will let you know if you need to make changes in order to be accepted into the program, based on local building codes.
That’s pretty much it. Once you go through the application and inspection process, and you are approved, you can begin accepting Section 8 vouchers from tenants. That Easy Right, Not exactly that is why you need a Property Management Team like Anita I. Hale that is capable of handling this entire process for you.
The Role of the Property Manager
Should you hire a property manager? If you’re thinking about applying for Section 8 status or have recently been approved, I would suggest that you retain Anita I. Hale Property Management.
As with any rental housing, there are local, state and federal laws that must be abided by. Furthermore, you may not be up-to-speed on the proper procedures for screening tenants, handling tenant issues, and more. Each of these issues raises a number of property management issues that aren’t for rookies.
Case in point: Did you know that federal law prohibits discriminating against housing applicants on the basis of familial status or sources of income? As with all rental housing, if you don’t keep good records concerning your Section 8 applicants and your approval criteria, it’s easy to run afoul of federal housing discrimination laws, even assuming the best of intentions.
To stay out of hot water, and to avoid some heavy fines courtesy of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, you’ll want someone in your corner who has some experience renting to this market.
Sure, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will direct deposit the rent right to your account, on time and pretty hassle-free. So your collection woes should be minimal. But the property manager can add a lot of value by helping protect you from liability and tenant headaches.
Renting your property under Section 8 status has some unique issues to tackle that can be seen by some landlords as disadvantages.
Frequent Inspections. For those who are unfamiliar with Section 8 housing, the yearly inspections performed by your local Public Housing Authority can be an unexpected part of the equation. Each year a Section 8 inspector will come to view your property, even if there has been no tenant turnover. They will check to ensure your property continues to maintain the 13 inspection points. If you fail an inspection, you will be provided with a list of items that need to be fixed. Once fixed, you can reschedule the inspection.
Delayed First Payments. Due to frequent administrative backups, it is not uncommon to wait several months before receiving payment. Once you receive the first payment, however, consistent payments should roll in each month. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you do not have the financial means to wait.
No Security Deposits., But Anita I. Hale Property Management collects a Security Deposit Section 8 only provides housing vouchers for the tenant’s rent; they do not include payment of security deposits. Anita I. Hale Property Management will collect a security deposit, you must obtain it directly from the tenant. There are other agencies that Section 8 tenants can appeal to for assistance. As with any tenant, it is always advised to collect a security deposit prior to move-in.
Property Wear and Tear. True or not, there is a stigma that Section 8 tenants are harder on properties than traditional tenants. With that being said, damage to property can happen with any tenant you rent to. This is why it is vitally important to screen all tenants properly.
Rental Amounts. Be aware that there is a maximum amount that Section 8 will pay. Every year, HUD releases their list of Fair Market Rents, the amount you will receive is calculated using this data, as well as the number of bedrooms within the home. The amount of rent is typically between 90 and 110 percent of the Fair Market Rent. In some cases, depending on your property and the Fair Market Rent calculated for your area, you might be able to rent your property for a higher amount to a non-Section 8 tenant. On the other hand, many landlords report that they are able to charge slightly above-market rent. This is highly dependent on your area and property. A qualified local property manager can give you insight in this area.
These are just some of the many pros and cons to consider. Thankfully, many landlords have had tremendous success renting to Section 8 recipients, and some find the process quite rewarding both personally and financially. It’s nothing to be scared of with Anita I. Hale Property Management.