How to Become a Section 8 Landlord

May 10, 2024

Are you looking for an investment property and wondering how to become a landlord? Ensure regular rent payments and lower vacancy rates by working with the Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority (PMHA) to become a Section 8 Housing Landlord.

Originating in the Housing Act of 1937, Section 8 is a program that allows local housing authorities to use HUD funds to cover a portion of a low-income tenant’s rent. Funds are given through vouchers and potential tenants must apply and be approved to receive this assistance. The Section 8 program gives low-earning community members access to safe, sanitary, and dependable housing.

Join us as we discuss the process of buying a rental property and becoming a Section 8 landlord, a decision that will benefit both you and your community.

Build a Rental Plan

While working with the PMHA to rent to Section 8 tenants will create more stability for your rental property, it is still important to build out a clear rental plan. Before you make any decisions, think through each aspect of owning an additional property and make sure you’re ready for this responsibility. Below are a handful of steps to consider while looking for rental properties.

Choose a Type of Property to Rent Out

The first step in building your rental plan is determining the type of property you want to purchase and rent. There are two types of properties to choose from: a single-family home or a multi-family home. Consider the details of each type of property:

Single-Family Property: This type of property has one unit, so therefore one tenant. It is a common choice for first-time landlords and has great potential for an additional stream of income. Compared to a multi-family home, your cash return is likely to be lower. You would be responsible for providing or hiring out all maintenance work.

Multi-Family Property: Duplexes (two units), triplexes (three units), and properties with four units or more qualify as multi-family properties. They are more expensive up-front but generate more income due to having multiple tenants. Maintenance for all units is the landlord’s responsibility.

Pick a Location for Your Rental Property

Once you’ve decided what type of property you’re looking for, you can start considering different locations. When evaluating different areas, try to think from a tenant’s perspective: Would you want to live in an area with a lot of vacancies, or a neighborhood with parks and other accessible amenities? It’s important to have your tenant’s best interests in mind when buying a property. When you have decided on a general location, you can begin searching for properties on your own or contact a local real estate agent.

Understand the Financial Commitment

While becoming a Section 8 Housing landlord will create an additional stream of reliable income, there will still be rental property expenses that will be your responsibility. A Section 8 landlord’s financial commitment might include rental property insurance, rental property taxes, home maintenance and repairs, advertisement costs, utilities during vacant periods, and more. Make sure you are ready for the financial commitment of a rental property by subtracting your expenses from your estimated property income – which calculates your net operating income.

Know Section 8 Requirements

To begin your journey as a Section 8 landlord, you will need to fill out some paperwork and agree to an annual property inspection. There are Section 8 inspection requirements for landlords to ensure landlords:

  • Provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing.
  • Resolve maintenance issues quickly and maintain general upkeep.
  • Meet basic minimum housing quality standards.
  • Satisfy all building and housing codes.

Outside of Section 8, you should also understand what is legally required of you as a landlord, such as a Certificate of Occupancy and a business license or permit.

Build A Vacancy Plan

While making your property Section 8 accessible decreases the chances of vacancy due to the long waiting list of tenants, there is still a chance you could face a period of vacancy. Whether there is a lapse in interested tenants or larger repairs to take care of, you may lose this source of income for a period of time. Start thinking about how you will move forward financially from that possibility so that you are not caught off guard.

Working With Section 8 Tenants

When working with Section 8 voucher holders, there are a few extra steps to go through before signing a lease. Your property will be advertised through the PMHA, allowing potential tenants to reach out and show interest in your property. When you hear from an interested Section 8 participant, you should go through the following steps.

Screen Potential Tenants

While all participants will be screened by the PMHA, you should still screen Section 8 applications like you would any other person. In this screening, you might look at their background check, consider their criminal history, ask for references, and more.

Submit a Request for Tenancy Approval Form

If an applicant passes your screening, you can submit a Request for Tenancy Approval form. This paperwork shares details about the unit, such as rent, the address, and utility costs.

PMHA Inspects Property

Before a lease is signed, PMHA must inspect your property to ensure it meets HUD Housing Quality Standards. The Section 8 inspection requirements for landlords will be clearly communicated to you beforehand. Each agency may have different requirements for this inspection, such as requesting your presence or asking that all utilities be turned on.

Lease Is Signed

Finally, the landlord and tenant agree upon the terms of the lease, sign the lease and other leasing documents, and the tenant is given possession of the unit. The housing authority is not party to the lease; however, the landlord/owner will sign a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract, which outlines your responsibility in your partnership with the housing authority, as well as the housing authority’s responsibility in relation to the subsidy. The housing authority urges you, as a landlord, to read the full terms of the HAP prior to signing to ensure you remain compliant.

Contact Us to Become a Landlord Today

Benefit from guaranteed payments, low vacancy rates, and partially screened tenants by becoming a Section 8 Housing landlord. Contact Mckensi Stankiewicz from the Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority at (330) 297-1489 etx. 258 or today to learn more!

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PMHA welcomes your questions, comments and requests.

2832 State Route 59
Ravenna, OH 44266
(330) 297-1489