Designed to help low income tenants find and pay for quality housing, Section 8 is a nationwide program in which the government pays up 70 percent of the tenant's rent for them. For landlords, Section 8 housing can seem like taking a dip into a pool of low quality renters, but this is not always the case. In fact, most of the nearly 2 million Americans who receive Section 8 vouchers are families with children just looking for affordable rents in a decent area. By offering Section 8 housing to these families you are not only helping them get a better quality of life, you are also enjoying some unique benefits from a program that could actually give you higher occupancy rates, more profit overall and high quality renters.
Full Occupancy of Your Units
Because the demand for Section 8 housing is so great in most urban areas of the United States, the chances are high that you will be able to fill up all of the available units you place on the market right away. Although you do have to have intensive inspections and comply with all of HUD's rules for landlords, the truth is that the waiting list for these properties is often so long that your listing will be in high demand and the application and approval process should take no longer than a month or two. In fact, in areas like Los Angeles, some families have been waiting for ten years to get on the program due to the fact that there aren't enough properties on the market.
Once you are approved, the Housing Authority will list your properties and then send you prospective tenants based on your facilities and criteria. There are also online sites, like GoSection8.com, where you can list the property and even screen potential rentals through their online profiles. In almost all cases, the demand for your new Section 8 properties should be so high that you will have no problem filling your units up even in a down market.
To participate in the Section 8 program, you must also list your properties at a fair market rate. While this might not be too attractive to landlords in super competitive rental markets like Manhattan or San Francisco, for many this "fair market" amount will be identical to what similar properties are fetching on the traditional rental market. In lower income areas, many landlords are actually able to get higher rents than what is being charged for neighboring units simply because HUD bases the number on the property's actual value after they inspect it, not on what your neighbors are paying. Fair market rents plus full occupancy means that many Section 8 landlords are doing much better financially than they would with their properties on the traditional market.
The government payments are sent directly to you as a Section 8 landlord, so more than half the rent is guaranteed to be in your account on time. The rest of the rent is paid to you by the tenants themselves, but because they risk losing their voucher if they fail to pay the rent, they have strong incentive to be on time. For this reason, Section 8 tenants are often much more responsible when it comes to making timely payments than traditional renters.
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