5 Basic Steps for Successfully Renting to Section 8 Tenants

Section 8 is a helpful government program that subsidizes housing for low income tenants. While some Section 8 housing is public and government-owned, many Section 8 tenants live in housing owned and provided by private landlords. If you're planning to rent to Section 8 tenants, check out the list below for five steps to ensure you find great Section 8 tenants.

1. Apply to be a landlord
You must apply to become a Section 8 landlord, and can do so by contacting the housing authority in your area. You'll need to fill out a form that includes information about the available space you hope to rent out, and once the housing authority verifies and approves your application, you'll be allowed to list your space as a Section 8 rental.

2. Advertise and show your space
To advertise your space as an available rental, list it with the housing authority. Most housing authorities have waiting lists of people looking for Section 8 housing, so there's a good chance you won't have any trouble finding someone to rent to. Your local housing authority will handle getting word out about your space to qualified renters. (Qualified renters have received Section 8 vouchers from the government, which means that the housing authority will pay the landlord the difference between 30 percent of the renter's adjusted household income and their rent, and the renter will pay the remainder of the rent.) Once potential tenants have expressed interest in your space, have them come visit and inspect it to see if it would be somewhere they would consider renting.

3. Do a background check
In most states, the housing authority will not do a thorough background check on potential Section. 8 tenants, they simply check to see if they qualify for the program financially. So, you'll want to be sure to have any prospective tenants fill out an information form with things like social security number, personal references, previous landlord information, employment history, and criminal record (etc.) to make sure you can run a proper background check. Check and make sure that your potential tenant does not have a criminal background, does not have a history of eviction, and has a good reputation with previous landlords.

4. Write a lease and submit a Rental Tenancy Approval application
Once you've done a background check on a tenant and feel comfortable renting to them, draw up a lease for your space (or have your lawyer help). Have the applicant sign the lease after reviewing its terms, then sign it yourself. If you do not agree on the terms, adjust the lease accordingly until both parties agree, then sign. Also, have your potential tenant fill out a Rental Tenancy Approval Application (RTA), then submit that form to the housing authority.

5. Have your space inspected and finalize the rental
Once you've submitted an RTA, the housing authority will inspect your property to make sure it meets all the guidelines of Section 8 housing. Once your space has passed, you should decide on the amount of rent you'll be paid by the housing authority, then sign a landlord agreement with them. When you finalize your Section 8 rental with the housing authority, you'll need to bring a copy of a government-issued photo ID, a copy of the signed lease, a W-9, and a deed to the property. Once you have done that, make a new set of keys and get ready to welcome your tenant into their new home!


POSTED January 27 2015 1:39 PM

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