Section 8 Surprise - Posted by Tony Colella
Posted by Tony Colella on February 18, 2011 at 07:14:38:
Most if not all of us who have been in this game for any length of time have had people leave units owing us money (shocking, I know).
This may be for back rent or damages but in either case we end up losing money when these folks leave and no judgement is going to change that.
As many of you know I am a big fan of the Section 8 Housing Voucher program. Now it is my understanding that although this is a federally funded program it is administered locally (by county) and that there seems that there can be a good deal of difference on how each program is run by the local administration.
I am very happy to say that in the nearly 10 years I have been renting to section 8 tenants I have found my local administration to be very fair (not pro-tenant and not pro-landlord). I have found them strict on rules (for both tenant and landlord) but also quite reasonable when they see efforts being made.
Over all these years I have only had to evict a handful of section 8 tenants because they know that an eviction means they will likely lose their housing voucher.
Over the years I have only had to file a few evictions per year and out of those I think only 2 or 3 actually went to a writ which means the Sheriff had to come out and force the tenant to move. I credit these low numbers to this program and others like it.
Every non-section 8, working a job tenant that I had to evict left me holding the bag for money and damages and were never seen again.
Of the few section 8 tenants I have had to actually evict via the writ and Sheriff, 2 have later called me to negotiate paying me money owed (so they could re-apply for the section 8 program).
In both cases I had long ago re-rented the property after clean and fix up. These two were the only tenant, of any income source, that have ever called me to ask to pay me back.
Now I realize these folks do not have much money and I don’t wish to exact any revenge upon anyone. I usually came up with a number that both of us knew was less than I was owed but a number that was reasonable for them to afford. Both showed up and paid me cash and in exchange I agreed to provide written notice that we had reached an agreement on money owed and the tenant no longer was in debted to me.
This allowed them to re-apply to section 8. Now I don’t know if they both were accepted because section 8 made them jump through a lot of hoops in order to prove they had changed their ways. I suspect they will not repeat their behavior now that they realize that their voucher’s can be taken away and that they will not receive a 3rd chance.
A few things I have learned over the years:
You never get all you are owed so don’t expect to or you won’t ever sleep at night.
When you get money you didn’t think you would ever see, don’t be greedy or mean, just accept what they can afford. Who should complain over found money?