Posted by Max W. on January 31, 2002 at 18:01:13:
You will no doubt get responses to this post on both sides of the fence. In addition to the posts, you may want to run a search in the archives for more feeback.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to Section 8. My personal experience has been that the tenants are far BETTER than my normal tenants (in the $585-$850 rent range) because they know they have an outstanding benefit and don’t want to mess it up. Also, I never have collection problems, the checks never bounce and the rent is ALWAYS on time every time. The big disadvantage is that the inspection process (depending on the agency) can be extremely hard to pass. Most of the houses here don’t pass the first time. For example, a hairline crack in a light switch cover plate can fail a house and require a reinspection in my area (lost income). The Section 8 inspection in many cases EXCEEDS the building code requirements.
Contrary to popular belief, Section 8 tenants are not all lazy, uneducated bums that don’t work (all of mine do). I have single moms that have 4 year degrees, work and still qualify due to medical problems. Most of my Section 8 tenants keep the property in great condition and are very good neighbors as well. It is necessary to screen them just as hard as you would any other applicant though.
The fair market rent that Section 8 pays exceeds what you could get on the open market in many areas (especially for modest 3-4 bedroom houses/apartments)
You don’t need to sign up to be a landlord until a Section 8 tenant finds you. If you mention in a newspaper ad that Section 8 is welcome you WILL get the calls. If you accept the applicant, they will have the paperwork for you to sign to get the ball rolling. You can always contact your local housing authority (Social Services will have the number if you can’t find them) The authority will usually have a landlord information packet for your review including the Fair Market Rent Schedule for your area. I hope this helps.