Section 8 Housing Requirements For Landlords

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

The federal government provides Section 8 housing vouchers for those who qualify. Some apartment complexes decide to accept tenants on Section 8, others prefer not to. Here are the Section 8 housing requirements for landlords.

"Qualify with Local Housing Authority"

People who may not have a lot of income may need a little help with their housing. They can turn to the federal government program called Section 8, which disburses vouchers to the tenants. This housing program has its origins back in 1937 under the "United States Housing Act."

There are millions of low-income households using Section 8 vouchers to subsidize their income. The United States Department of Housing Development (HUD) is the primary manager of the program using local housing authorities to handle the applications. This is a "tenant-based" housing program for both apartments and homes.

HUD also works directly with certain rental properties to allocate a portion of their units directly to tenants on Section 8. There is also a subsidiary program for homeless veterans.

"Advantages of Section 8"

Once a landlord accepts Section 8, he has immediate access to millions of more rental applicants. He can advertise that his property takes this voucher, which should increase the tenancy rate for his complex.

Section 8 is for any size rental unit. Landlords should apply to the local housing authority to qualify for this program. Both the property owner and property must qualify. The property must pass an inspection and adhere to all HUD guidelines.

"Potential Drawbacks to Section 8 Tenants"

Some landlords prefer not to accept Section 8 tenants. The program is primarily to low-income participants. Moreover, having two entities responsible for rent - the tenant and the government - can be difficult if there are any disputes in court. For example, who does the security deposit belong to? Bad renters will oftentimes blame the government.

Landlords might not want the additional paperwork, the added federal regulations or the potential problems if the program funds are cut. Once a property owner starts to take Section 8, he cannot accept money outside the contract and cannot raise his rent above the "Fair Market Rate" level set by the government. Landlords do not need to accept Section 8 if they don't want to.

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