Besides working for Rentec Direct as the Social Media Director I’m also a landlord and as such I try to pay close attention to the ever changing rental property and landlord/tenant laws. My friend, also a landlord, has a rental property that is currently vacant and she was asking me just yesterday about renting to people on HUD/Section 8 and what the laws are about the requirements to consider Section 8 applicants and getting a rental property “approved” by HUD. I didn’t have all the answers she was looking for but as luck would have it came across an article about The Housing Choice Act which went into effect July 1st, 2014. The Act prohibits landlords from refusing to rent to someone solely based on the fact that they receive federal housing assistance as part of their income.
Let me back up a minute just to clarify, Section 8 is a federally funded program administered at a local level by housing authorities that are there to help low income families and people find housing. Those who meet the income qualifications are given a voucher that covers a percentage of there monthly rent payment.
A landlord does not have to rent to someone on Section 8 if they do not meet other tenant selection criteria such as criminal background check and credit reports. Section 8 does have a provision that if the tenant causes more than $500 in damage to the property the landlord can file a claim in small claims court against the tenant. There is a mitigation fund setup that will cover up to $5,000 in damage. It is at the judges discretion if the damages are above normal wear and tear and is therefore the landlord or property managers task to prove that the damages exceed what would be considered normal wear and tear. If the judge rules against the tenant then the landlord is reimbursed the funds.
What is your take on Section 8 tenants? Having rent payments guaranteed and a damage fund are both compelling reasons to want to eagerly accept voucher recipients.