Are you considering becoming a Section 8 landlord?
Then you’re probably wondering: how does Section 8 housing work for landlords? The Housing Choice Voucher, commonly known as “Section 8”, is funded by the federal government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Section 8 program is designed to help eligible low-income households to pay private landlords for rent and utilities. Tenants undergo a screening process that determines how much of their rent the Section 8 voucher will cover. The tenant pays the remaining balance. Tenants are free to rent any approved unit that meets cost (rent must be reasonable given the location, type of unit and amenities) and housing quality standards (inspection guidelines).
Whether you are listing your first rental unit, or you’re interested in getting existing units Section 8 approved, the following are benefits of Section 8 housing for landlords.
Guaranteed rental payments are one of the biggest benefits of Section 8 housing for landlords.
Since the monthly housing assistance payment covers all or some of the Section 8 tenant’s rent, you can count on receiving payment each month. This means consistent, guaranteed income for your rental business. Even if the tenant is responsible for a portion of the rent, a much smaller amount is at risk than when you receive full payments from tenants.
By becoming a Section 8 landlord, you safeguard some of your monthly income from tenants by receiving money from the government instead. Unlike receiving full rent payments from non-Section 8 tenants, you won’t need to worry if you’ll get paid on time or at all.
The monthly housing assistance payment is issued via direct deposit to your bank account.
Partially Pre-Screened Tenants
Concerned about who will live in your rental units? Unfavorable tenants can make your job more difficult, and often, more costly.
The good news? Property owners should complete the same tenant screening process they would for any other prospective tenant as part of the application process. Although the housing authority conducts criminal background checks on all adult household members prior to voucher issuance, this does not take the place of any screening the owner should be doing.
Consistent Base of Tenants
Section 8 housing rarely sees problems with demand. There is always a high volume of people applying for Section 8 housing. As rental costs and costs of living rise without wage increases, especially in metropolitan areas, more and more people are in need of housing they can afford.
Also, due to misconceptions about Section 8 tenants (see above), many landlords don’t accept Housing Choice Vouchers. But as more people ask how to apply for Section 8 housing, more landlords are needed. This means in addition to high demand, there is low supply of housing for Section 8 tenants. If you choose to become a Section 8 landlord, you will be providing a much needed service in an undersaturated market.
That’s great for your business, and great for families looking for affordable housing.
Lower Vacancies & Turnover Rate
Since demand for Section 8 approved housing greatly surpasses supply, you also don’t need to worry about long vacancies.
Section 8 tenants often have a difficult time finding landlords who accept their vouchers. This makes them more likely to stay long-term. Since finding affordable housing is so difficult, tenants like to hold onto their Section 8 approved housing as long as possible.
Low turnover and vacancy rates mean higher profits for you, as well as a smoother business and lower workload.
Section 8 landlords benefit from additional advertising and marketing resources. Whether you choose to market your properties online or in person, you can take advantage of your Section 8 housing authority’s advertising resources to spread the word about your rental units.
For online advertising opportunities, consult with your Public Housing Authority. PMHA, for example, encourages Section 8 landlords to list their units on our website so members can easily browse available rentals.
Other websites specifically for advertising Section 8 approved rental units include GoSection8 and WeTakeSection8. Of course, advertising on popular real estate websites like Zillow are also an option. If you go that route, be sure to indicate on the rental listing that the unit is Section 8 approved.
Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority
Section 8 is PMHA’s largest housing assistance program.
If you’re interested in learning more about Section 8 housing guidelines for landlords, click here for more Section 8 housing information for landlords.
Or, reach out to us with your questions! We’re always happy to assist landlords and tenants alike to help make Portage County a better place to live.