Section 8 and the Income Property Owner

As an owner of income property sooner or later you will be asked if you accept Section 8 tenants. Before you answer the question it is my hope that you will have thought about the question in advance. Because my answer to prospective tenants is not a simple “yes” or “no”. It goes deeper than that.

To many landlords all Section 8 is the same. But nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll give you a for instance at the risk of recurring wrath. In my future dealings I will never again recommend to my clients, or myself, to take on a tenant from the Kansas City Housing Authority. And sadly, my decision has nothing to do with the tenant! It has to do with the KCHA. In my dealings with them, and I swear I am not making this up, I have called them over 80 times for every 1 phone call I get back from them! (And yes, I have logs.) Employees leave without ever terminating their voice mails. Inspections are skipped. Reports are never forwarded. Calls not returned. Have some fun some time and try to call in on the main number. Let me know when they answer.

On the opposite side of the issue you have the Independence Housing Authority. Here you have a group of people who understand they are in a business that deals with human beings. Calls are always returned, sometimes within an hour, or so. Communication is excellent through mail. Appointments are kept. Payments mailed on time, every time.

Now I ask you, as a landlord, who would you want to accept tenants from?

Another thing for the savvy landlord to consider is the security deposit. Most (I haven’t run into any) housing authorities will not pay a security deposit. So if you are going to get one, and I recommend you do, it will have to come from the perspective tenant. If they cannot get a SD, I recommend you move on.

And lastly, as far as this blog is concerned, an issue of fairness and compliance must be addressed. I have heard landlords quote different prices to tenants based on their ability to pay or if Section 8 is to be involved.

“The rent is $695/mo with a $500 security deposit.”

“I am Section 8 approved up to $725/mo.”

“Well, for Section 8 the monthly rent is $725/mo.”

Be careful. For here you are on very dangerous ground…

To discuss this topic further be sure to leave a comment or email me!

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