Knowing what is Section 8, can open your United States rental properties to a larger pool of potential tenants, slash your turnover rates by introducing longer term tenants and allow to enjoy earning stable rent checks straight from the government. We will explain what is Section 8 and what you need to do to qualify for this program as a landlord.
Section 8 is a federal housing voucher program in the United States. It was started in 1974 as a way to help people with modest means afford their housing needs. Unlike most types of subsidized housing, Section 8 provides its members with more choices when it comes to their rental home.
As long as a rental property meets certain basic requirements and the landlord is willing to accept a Section 8 voucher, a tenant is free to choose his own place to stay.
The way the program works is that a tenant will receive a voucher to pay for a portion of his rent. In general the occupant must pay 30 to 40% of the rent amount. The rest is paid by the government in the form of a voucher, hence the term Housing Choice Voucher. The tenants' eligibility for the program is reviewed every year.
When asking the question, "What is Section 8?" many property owners are concerned with what type of tenants they will meet from this program. While Section 8 tenants do have a lower income, this does not mean that they will make poor tenants.
You will encounter a wide variety of people, just as you would when screening conventional tenants. The bottom line is that you should screen all your tenants carefully whether they are from Section 8 or not. It's important not to make assumptions about a potential tenant based on their Section 8 status; treat them as you would any other potential tenant.
It's easy to become a Section 8 landlord. There are no formal steps required. Once you screen your tenant, you will need to have your rental property inspected by the housing authority to ensure that it passes Section 8 housing standards.
The certifying agency will also verify that the rent you are asking is reasonable when compared with similar units in the area. Once the inspection is complete, you'll finalize the paperwork and agree to a few simple terms set by the housing authority in your area.
Some landlords only realize what is Section 8 when they are approached unexpectedly by a prospective tenant who is from the Section 8 program.
However, you don't have to wait for Section 8 tenants to find you. Simply get in touch with the public housing authority in your area and tell them to you wish to make your rental property available to Section 8 tenants. You can also indicate in your advertisements that you are willing to accept Section 8 vouchers.