What is Section 8 (FAQ)
1. How can I list my property through Section 8?
You can list your property for free by using socialserve.com which will take down information on the property and who the contact person is. Once you have listed the property, the information will be provided to any voucher holder looking for a property of that particular size and price. After a certain period, the housing agency may purge the property from its list. You are encouraged to notify the housing agency when the property has been rented so that you do not continue receiving calls.
2. How much rent can I expect from my property?
You determine the asking price for the unit. However, the rent must be reasonable compared to other units of similar location, quality, size, type, and age. If the rent is not reasonable to similar units, you may be asked to lower it to accommodate the tenant interested in moving into the property. Should you rent your property through Section 8, rent increases must also be reasonable in relation to comparable units, the payment standard in the jurisdiction, and what portion of the rent the tenant can afford to pay.
3. How much can I ask for a security deposit?
You can ask for as much is allowable under local law, typically one-months rent. However, you cannot legally ask more in security deposit from a Section 8 applicant than you would ask of any other applicant. Once you have collected a security deposit, you will have to place the money in an interest-bearing account. Please consult local guidelines for more details.
4. How is the breakdown in rent calculated?
The housing agency will pay a check to the landlord for the difference between the jurisdictions payment standard and tenants total payment. The tenant would pay the difference between the total rent and the voucher amount (which would be paid by the housing agency). Both the tenant and the housing agency would pay their portions of the rent to you at the beginning of every month. A delay in the housing agency’s payment may be expected when the tenant first moves into the unit. However, a prorated rent can be paid on a mid-month move. Please contact the housing agency for more details on when exactly you will receive payment.
5. Can I refuse to rent to an individual?
You have the right to select the tenant you want for your unit using whatever criteria you determine. However, you must not discriminate against an individual because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, or disability. In some jurisdictions, you cannot refuse to rent to someone just because he or she has Section 8 (called course of income).
6. Who pays for damages to the property during occupancy?
Damages beyond the normal wear and tear and are tenant-related can be paid for by the tenant. You should have a standard practice listed in the lease as to how damages will be paid for by the tenant. After the tenant moves out, you may take compensation for damages beyond the normal wear and tear from the tenant’s security deposit.
7. What if I have problems with the tenant?
If you have repeated problems with the tenant, you have the right to enforce your lease and take the necessary actions against the tenant. Whenever you do start proceedings against a client, you must follow local regulations. Should you send the tenant any correspondence, such as a warning letter or a notice to vacate, please send a copy to the local housing agency. In some cases, the housing agency may take action against the tenant to terminate the assistance prior to the eviction.
8. What is the housing agency inspector looking for in the inspection?
Before a tenant can move into your property, the housing agency has to inspect the unit by the housing agency. The inspector is looking for minimum Housing Quality Standards (called HQS) to ensure that the unit is in livable condition. If it is not, you may be asked to make some repairs to the unit prior to the client moving in. The housing agency cannot pay on the unit until it passes inspection.