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How to Become a Section 8 Landlord

By on March 8, 2012 in Money

How to Become a Section 8 LandlordWith home values in the United States tanking over the past few years, many individuals have considered becoming property investors. If you can buy a property with a 20% downpayment and have someone else pay for the mortgage and associated expenses you have a pretty good deal going. If you can clear a few hundred bucks every month on top of it then you’re building up a side income that can propel your wealth.

However, renting property can be a hassle. If the tenant doesn’t pay, you eat the cost of the mortgage, tax, and insurance that month. Then you have to start eviction proceedings. And you’re hoping while they are being evicted that they don’t decide to steal your appliances and rip the copper out of your walls. (Then again, that is what landlord insurance is for and you would just file a vandalism claim.)

One way to avoid the problem of not getting paid by your tenant is to become a Section 8 Landlord. Section 8 renting is tied to individuals that qualify for housing assistance from Housing and Urban Development. HUD provides funds to local community development corporations who then screen candidates for the program. If the person qualifies the government will provide a stipend directly to the landlord for the rental.

In short, you don’t have to worry about whether or not your tenant will come up with the cash every month to pay you. The money from the government is never given to the tenant, it comes straight to the landlord.

How to Rent to Section 8 Tenants

With the guaranteed payment from the government you would think it would be difficult to become a Section 8 Landlord. The truth is there are just a few requirements that must be met to begin renting to Section 8 renters.

Apply with Your Local Community Development Corporation

First you must get in touch with your community’s local community development corporation and apply to be a landlord in the program. The specific regulations that your LCDC has will be clear and posted.

Get Your Property Inspected by the LCDC

You must have your property inspected by the development corporation for habitability. Even though your property may be in great condition, not everyone who rents to Section 8 is as honest as you. The LCDC’s job is to make sure the home is in decent condition. The definition of decent will be spelled out in the corporation’s regulations. A common list includes ventilation (meaning the windows open, not necessarily HVAC), working heat, a flushing toilet, a bathtub or shower, a basin sink in the bathroom, and doors and windows that lock.

Post the Vacancy

Once your property is approved by the local community development corporation you will need to post the rental to attract tenants. You are not locked in to only renting to Section 8 tenants. You can usually post the vacancy on the Section 8 site of the LCDC. If you post it elsewhere you can include wording that indicates you accept rental assistance payments.

Screen Tenants

From there the process is fairly similar to renting to non-Section 8 tenants. You screen the tenants as you normally would (making sure to keep the requirements equal to avoid discrimination). If you select a Section 8 tenant, you will sign a contract with the development corporation and begin receiving payments from them once your tenant moves in.

Eviction

Section 8 tenants are held to standards by HUD and the LCDC. The rental may be inspected twice per year to verify only the people who are receiving assistance are living in the rental. If Section 8 rules are broken, you can evict the tenants just as you would with non-assistance tenants.

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