My experiences. - Posted by John J.
Posted by John J. on December 13, 2000 at 09:31:42:
I have had Section 8 tenants off and on for the past 15 years. I now have 3 such families.
Screen Section 8 applicants as you would any others, although credit and income is less critical, but check the criminal background and references, including previous landlords. The Housing Authority will do an inspection before signing a contract. I have never had a problem with that since their requirements are very reasonable for providing decent housing. They will also do annual renewal inspections which forces the tenants to fix any damages that they are responsible for on an annual basis. One of my three Housing families is somewhat rough on their place. The repairs that they had to perform to pass the latest inspection included sheetrock repair, fixing a broken screen, window, and a stair railing. Passing the inspection is an issue between the tenants and their case workers. I do not get involved. Their deposit should cover any remaining damages at move-out. When I have had non-Section 8 tenants that were this rough, the damages would just accumulate over the years until the place became unlivable for them, then they stopped paying rent until I evicted them at which time they just skipped out.
Most of my Section 8 tenants stay for a long time, so it reduces turnover. Be aware that the Housing Authority has maximum allowable rents that are based on local market surveys that can be a bit out of date. Make sure that the rents that they allow are acceptable to you.
I use the standard HUD contracts rather than my own. Theirs includes a number of rules for the tenant to follow (as mine does) for good behavior. If the tenants violate these rules then they will lose their housing subsidy, which is the last thing they want to have happening. Whenever I run into problems, I always let the case worker take care of it and never have had a problem with them enforcing their own contract. The other two of my current Section 8 tenants are model residents; they keep their homes and yards in immaculate condition.