Section 8: Does basement bedroom count? - Posted by Ron (MD)

Posted by HR on February 09, 2002 at 08:40:58:


Spoken like a true section 8 vet. I would absolutely recommend, Ron, you do all the above. Here’s a case in point.

I have a small 2 bedroom house that I decided to put on the 8 list. I called the woman in charge, on her private cell phone, told her who it was, she was pleased, and added it to the list without inspection and without having to fill out the paperwork. Why? Because I’ve got a reputation for having high quality rentals, I treat my tenants well, I take the section 8 folk out to lunch occasionally, etc. You’d be amazed how few people do this for them. All they usually get is complaints. If you’re the friendly guy who solves some of their problems, they have a positive association with you.

Personally, I don’t think the government puts phones in the section 8 offices. I’ve never had anyone answer it. And when they did return the call (rare), it was over a week later.

Finally, my tidbit for you, Ron, is to get a free inspection. The officials will do a curteosy inspection for you, for free, and you should take advantage of it. Find out in particular what may be needed, and then add it into your renovation.

Also, while many features are not required, like closets, I always put them in. I’m currently using the white melomine snap-togethers from Home Depot for about $100. They have been holding up well. While it’s not required, the tenant appreciate it, and I want them to stay for a long, long while.



Section 8: Does basement bedroom count? - Posted by Ron (MD)

Posted by Ron (MD) on February 08, 2002 at 20:14:34:

I’m considering buying a two bedroom home and wondered if I could rent it as a Section 8 three-bedroom if I finished off the basement. Does anyone know?

I called my local Section 8 office two days ago and still haven’t gotten a return phone call.


Ron Guy

Re: Section 8: Does basement bedroom count? - Posted by jim(WA)

Posted by jim(WA) on February 09, 2002 at 11:34:11:

I cannot speak to Section 8 rules but you will want to make sure that the bedrooms complies with egress requirements of your local building codes. Out here in WA we use the Uniform Building Code which requires that each bedroom be provided with means of egress directly to a yard or public way (usually a window). I would bet whichever code you use In DC will have very similar provisions. If so, the window will have to have a minimum clear area (when open), a maximum sill height from finished floor, and stipulations regarding minimum opening dimensions (horiz & vert) of the operable portion of the window. There are other requirements if you need a window-well.

These requirements are easy to find, I am sure you local building dept. could provide you this information.

Hope this is of some benefit.


Re: Section 8: Does basement bedroom count? - Posted by ShermanDC

Posted by ShermanDC on February 08, 2002 at 20:38:38:

Ron - Real Quick Three (of many) Rules For Successful Section 8 Renting:

1 - Never use the phone, go visit the office personally, and while you are there get to know people in the Section 8 Office and make sure they know you;

2 - Before you go there put on a suit (or at least a jacket and tie) brush your teeth and wear a big smile. There is way too much doom and gloom in most government offices, particularly Section 8 Housing. So go in there looking and acting like a real estate professional who has quality places to rent. Let them know up front that you are a Landlord, you will be treated differently right up front.

3 - While there, sign up for the Section 8 Landlord’s Orientation Session. At the orientation session ask lots of questions at the session and get everyone’s business card who speaks on behalf of the Housing Office then go back and get to know them each personally.

Remember the Golden Rule: “He who makes the rules (or at least understands and can influence them) Keeps the Gold”. R - Kiyosaki

There are a ton of rules to the Section 8 game, and the only way to successfully navigate them is to know the people who make (and enforce) the rules.

Now to answer your question: In most cases, any room that has a door, a window of at least 5 square feet in area and is no higher than 42" off the floor, can qualify as a bedroom. It does not have to have a closet. The only way I know this is because I have gotten to know the Chief Inspector for our Section 8 Office :wink:


Re: Section 8: Does basement bedroom count? - Posted by Jim Rayner

Posted by Jim Rayner on February 08, 2002 at 20:37:38:

it could provided it meets the condition in this post

i have several unit that are 8 qualified that are daylight basement units.

room must have a window, egress,electrical outlets and be no smaller than 10 by 7 in either dimension for example a 9.5 by 6.5 would not qualify.