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Section 8 Housing – Good for Landlords?

By JLP | March 12, 2008

As some of you may know, I recently decided to dip my toe into real estate investing - a I’m now completely submerged.

I closed on the property in early February and found out 2 weeks later that Tenant B – who had occupied her half of the duplex for over 20 years – had moved out. Long story. So I found myself immediately dealing with a vacant unit – a situation I didn’t think I’d have to deal with for at least 9 months.

My benevolent realtor offered to give me all kinds of information on how to rehab the property cheaply and market it to tenants. In the course of our discussions, he recommended utilizing Section 8 housing programs. I’d never considered it, but it occurred to me that the only two other real estate investors I know in my state also participate in Section 8.

Section 8 is a housing subsidy program for people who don’t make very much – or any – money (I’m sure there’s a PC term for them, but you get the idea). They generally have unstable income as well, and no credit or bad credit. Essentially the local government agrees to pay some portion of their rent (usually well over half) directly to the landlord. The tenant is responsible for the security deposit and any other portion of the rent.

According to my realtor (also an investor), this program is great for landlords because generally the government will pay you more than market rent to compensate you for taking on higher risk tenants. In addition, you have the peace of mind of knowing that the majority of the rent will be paid on time each month (at least if you have confidence in your local government). Plus he said those tenants usually stay put since it’s such a hassle for them to move, reducing expensive turnover costs. You get to screen them, require a deposit, and evict them if necessary just like any other tenant.

The downsides include dealing with government inspections, having to fill out extra paperwork, and attending a one-time seminar on the program – plus dealing with a high risk tenant, of course.

My first reaction was something like “oh, I don’t really believe in those types of programs.” He looked at me with a blank face. “This has nothing to do with your political convictions.” He said it was about getting a good, stable rent and managing risk and making a profit. I changed the subject.

I didn’t really consider the idea again until I actually had a potential tenant call and ask if I accept vouchers. Turns out she’s a section 8 member (or whatever you call it), and she assured me the paperwork is minimal and that all I’d have to do was fill out the packet she brought me, submit to an inspection, and attend a brief seminar. the local housing authority website says it only takes 15-30 days from the time the tenant gives you the paperwork until you receive your first government issued rent check.

In order to be fair, I told the lady she was welcome to fill out an application – I don’t want to get in trouble with Fair Housing laws by denying her the right to even apply (though I suspect I have the right to refuse section 8 tenants – if not I would probably sue for that right simply as a matter of principal). I never heard from her again, though.

So what do you think about Section 8? Are you opposed to the whole idea on a moral/political basis? Do you think it’s a great program that we need in this country? Regardless of your view, would you participate as a landlord?

More from Meg at The World of Wealth

Topics: Miscellaneous | 73 Comments »


73 Responses to “Section 8 Housing – Good for Landlords?”

  1. Lily Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I don’t have any strong political convictions about this one way or another. But I do have anecdotal and economic convictions against this.

    Anecdotal: One of my friends was beat up in the doorway of his building by a Section 8 tenant of the same building. This was in Chelsea, which generally can’t be considered a dangerous part of New York. This tenant had beaten up another tenant before. Both times, police reports were filed. But for some reason this tenant cannot be evicted. Rumor among the tenants is that Section 8 paperwork prevented the landlord from evicting. Not sure why, since this is clearly grounds for eviction. So just be aware that while there are many deserving people who can’t get better housing for whatever reason, “high risk” does mean that there are also many crappy people who don’t deserve better housing but get it anyway.

    Economic: Why is the government subsidizing rent? I get that there’s some benefit to lifting people out of poverty. But programs like Section 8 create housing shortages. People that are willing and able to rent at market prices without government aid are pushed out because the government subsidizes other renters. This drives up housing costs for everyone, because now the unaided renters must be willing to pay more to keep up with the subsidized price. From a supply-demand point of view, Section 8 and other subsidized housing programs only create inefficiencies in the market.

  2. Danny Tsang Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Just like a non-section 8 tenant, it depends on the actual tenant. Some say that section 8 tenants are usually the bottom of the barrel when it comes to tenants. Rowdy, loud, inconsiderate etc. From my experience, I like section 8. I get a check every month, the tenants need to be behave the treat the property with respect or they risk losing their voucher. I have two long term section 8 tenants. Section 8 is fine for me but I would still screen the tenant.

  3. Jim Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Certainly there are deserving people who could use help with their housing, however it is difficult enough being a landlord without having to take on the burden of many section 8 clients. Under section 8 your property has to get inspected to be sure it is up to code- fair enough,but this will cost you money for typically petty items that do not necesarily make your property unsafe. Additionally the government does not always pay the full amount of your rent- the tenant is supposed to make up the difference. If you get stuck with a low life tenant don’t expect them to come up with thier portion of the monthly rent, and there is little chance that you will be able to get them out. My advice to you would be to stay away from section 8.

  4. SingleGuyMoney Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    As a landlord, I would have no problem renting to a Section 8 tenant. They need a place to live just like everyone else. Just because someone doesn’t have a high income, it does not mean they are a bad person. Good people need help too. Don’t get me wrong, I think they should screened just as carefully as a non Section 8 tenant.

  5. PBJ Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Be very careful with rejecting or turning away potential applicants; with Fair Housing laws you are very often guilty until proven innocent.

  6. Ernesto@InsuranceYak.com Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    As a landlord, I’ve always had terrific luck with section 8 tenants. It’s all in the screening. When I started landlording, I had some hard-knockers in the hood (houses in a rough section of town) . Back in the day, I could scoop these up for around $20K a unit, fix them up for a few thousand then rent then for $450-$500 per unit section 8 and make nice $$.

    When the housing market took off, I sold these units for what I thought was too much money (turns out I was right) then purchased a little more upscale fixer uppers.

    I wish I could get section 8 back but the market rent I get is higher than what section 8 will pay in my area. Also, where I’m located, there are more rentals than section 8 tenants, so some of these people get downright picky.

    Before you make a decision, take the seminar on section 8 in your area. Section 8 does not always pay ‘above market rate’ (this may be a shock to you..sit down..ready? Realtors sometimes lie or exaggerate)

    If your area publishes a chart that shows what they will pay or ‘market rate':

    1BR – $695
    2 BR – $859
    3 BR – $988
    4 -BR – $1178

    Does this mean you can rent to a section 8 tenant and get $859 for a 2 BR apartment? Even if it’s above market rate?

    NO! The $859 is for TOTAL COSTS of the apartment in your area. Cost = rent + gas + electric + water + trash pick up (they have a chart for your city).

    When they factor in rent + utilities for the apartment, they then do their own affordability calculation. If they determine the low income person can afford the apartment you’re showing, they will tell you what their portion of the payment is vs what the tenant will pay.

    They WILL send someone to the area who knows what market rent is. If your trying to get $600 a month for something that you’d rent to a non-voucher person for $350, you’re not going to get approved. A little higher? Maybe double? not gonna happen. Also deposit = first month rent, no more, no less. Make sure they have the $$ to move in (or if a charity is helping them).

    Screening section 8 tenants is the tougher part. Most of the tenants have trash credit so fuhgetabout credit rating. Most section 8 people are single mothers so boyfriend or babby-daddy is usually hanging out somewhere (or living with) so make sure you put in the lease a list of the people approved to live there. I used to work off referral for tenants. Usually a local church or mission will refer you good people who won’t trash the place. I worked with a lady who was a nurse in the area; her husband was a pastor in the neighborhood.

    Last thing: if they say they have a voucher, ask then to BRING IT WITH THEM !!!!!!! Sometimes they’re in the process of getting a voucher which does you no good. Also make sure the # bedrooms on the voucher matches the # bedrooms you’re renting. If you’re renting a 3BR and they have a 2BR voucher, you’ll only get paid for a 2BR.

    Would I do it again? Sure. Good luck to you.

  7. Yana Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I agree with SingleGuyMoney. Also, I’m surprised to see the comments about criminal activity by Section 8 tenants. I’m in California, and I thought the recipients were kicked off the program if they didn’t behave themselves. I would not want bad tenants, regardless of whether or not they used Section 8. Poverty is not a crime.

  8. Kent Irwin eFinPLAN Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    A friend of mine owns 12 units in a very rough part of town and for the most part they have been okay, except for the mad tennant who left and took the copper with them and another started a fire. In addition, the government has some type of lead removal program that helps finance the cost of lead removal, which helps to later increase the value on rehabed property.

  9. Allison Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I own a duplex and live in the other half. Every time the other unit is for rent I have some ask if they I accept section 8. I have decided not to go through with the process based upon my experience of interviewing people. There was one woman who came over and wanted to view the apartment and brought her young son. The first thing that caught me off guard was that she came driving a BMW. Then she bragged about how she was eligible for section 8 because most of her income is by commission. She also proceeded to tell me the location would be great since her son was going to be attending a private school around the corner. I believe that section 8 has a place but there are many times when it is abused. It seems that I have met too many people that see it as a right and not as a means to better yourself so that one day they don’t have to rely on public assistance.

  10. MB Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    I have a couple of good friends on section 8. One is on disability and raising a child, and the other had 2 children while she was quite young and is working while finishing school. These are women who are highly motivated to pay their share of the rent because they want to do what they can to give their children good lives.

    That being said, I no longer rent from a previous landlord because of their bad practices with regard to section 8, among other things. The last place I lived was owned by a large group that was somewhat hands-off and did inadequate screening for all of their tenants, including section 8 tenants. The place wasn’t very pleasant.

    If you want to be able to ask for more in rent, consider accepting tenants with pets. Where I live, apartments that accept pets usually run ~$100 a month more than those that categorically refuse pets. This is not the extra rent for pets, that’s usually another $10-$20 a month. Every apartment in a building that accepts pets costs the extra $100 a month, regardless of whether or not the individual tenants own a pet. I don’t know if this is true elsewhere.

  11. Meg Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Wow, thanks for all the great feedback!

    My objection to accepting section 8 tenants is basically the “Economic” reason listed by Lily. When the government steps in and subsidizes stuff, said stuff gets EXPENSIVE. That’s not fair to everyone who ISN’T having that stuff handed to them by the government (however legitimately needy they might be is sad, but irrelevant).

    Consider college tuition, health care, housing – without fail, soon after the government pledges to help “those in need,” prices start to soar. Why? Because when the government subsidizes, they are (artificially) increasing demand. Prices can only go up, so then fewer people can afford those same things.

    Normally that would make demand drop, and prices would come back down. But wait, the government’s pledging to pay up for all those who can’t afford it? Well, then prices stay high and get higher. And because the government takes responsibility for even more “needy” people, taxes go up too (or the deficit, whichever).

    Sure, there will always be those who are legitimately in need. And I am all for helping those people. But it’s NOT the government’s job. And it only makes things worse when they take over and start “helping.” Accepting Section 8 tenants would be to take a role in that, and it’s something I just won’t do.

    And I’m sorry to rant, but since when is every poor person in America morally entitled to have everything that someone who earns 5 times (or 20 times) what they do has? The same expensive junk food (welfare), the same expensive colleges (grants, federal subsidized student loans), the same expensive health care (medicaid), the same nice housing (Section 8).

    There used to be incentives to work hard, get educated, get and keep a good job. You had to do all those things or else you WOULDN’T HAVE the house, car, food, college for your kids. It was called the American Dream. But now apparently the American Dream is that you don’t have to worry: you’re entitled to have all your basic needs – which include a nice house and college education as well as food on the table – provided to you by the government. Oh, and by “government,” I mean “the rest of us.”

  12. propertydoc Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Hey Meg,
    Section 8 can be great depending on the quality of the local Section 8 administrator. However, you will have to comply with their inspections and correction orders. On the bright side, they will sometimes deal with the tenants for you.

    Congratulations for being a person who takes action and for actually going out there and buying a property. You are about to learn a LOT.

    The key rookie real estate investor mistake you made is to buy a duplex and manage it yourself. This is the absolute hardest way to make money in real estate and a great way to waste a lot of time for a very small return.

    Think about being a passive investor in a much larger Commercial Real Estate project.
    That way someone else deals with ALL of the property and tenant hassles and you get all the benefits of owning cash flow property… including cash flow, depreciation, shelter of Cap Gains with the 1031 exchange… the whole shebang

    My 2 cents with experience to back it up

  13. dong Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    I agree with the posters who said it’s about screening regardless of section 8 or not. As for the politics, I guess I’m on the other side of the fence so I don’t have fundamental problems with the program. Like any program it can be abused, but my parents have had friends who were on section 8 when they really needed it and it really helped them get a leg up and improve their lot.

  14. mobtown Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Meg,

    Here’s what I find odd – based on the abundance of ads on this site and on your blog, you clearly are interested in revenue from these sites. So why you (And JLP) keep driving away readers with your political views is beyond me. I used to come here about once every two days, now it’s once every two weeks or less, and every time I see one of these ridiculous comments bashing poverty programs and the poor in general I am less inclined to check the site.

    It’s not so much that I think the two of you are wrong, as that I think you don’t understand the subject. Personal finance (Which you seem somewhat knowledgeable about) and poverty are not the same thing. I’d suggest reading “The Two Income Trap” or “The End of Poverty” to start if you’d like to have a better idea of what you’re talking about.

    To the commenter who is unhappy about the impact of the subsidy on the free market – I’m curious if you want the mortgage tax deduction removed as well? Or does the free market argument only apply when we’re talking about the poor?

  15. Cory Says:
    March 12th, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    The mortgage tax deduction is a tool the government uses to incentivize home ownership, which has a positive affect on society as a whole. I fail to see how subsidizing rents can create a similar benefit. In rare instances, some disabled persons for example, I could see a program being necessary. But welfare as a whole needs to be scaled back drastically.

    And I find value in subscribing to blogs that have a different political stance than my own. It’s important to understand both sides of the spectrum. To mobtow – I suggest reading “Scratch Beginnings” written by Adam Shepard.

  16. dong Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Cory, I’m not sure I understand why home ownership has any more positive effect on society than helping people put a roof over their head. It could be easily argued that home ownership actually has detrimental effect on the economic welfare of the country as it tends to make the population less mobile. If anything, a mobile job force is one the fundamental pillars of a good economy.

  17. Tom Wilkes Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Meg is inspiring me to jump back into reading Jeffrey Sachs…

    on a lighter note.. check this out … I just found it on AOL’s Money page… it’s set up like the college sports tournament

    you pick stocks to win and the winner gets 10 grand ..

    looks good..

    http://www.smartmoney.com/marketmadness

  18. Tom Wilkes Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Meg makes me want to jump back into reading Jeffrey Sachs

    on a lighter note.. check this out … I just found it on AOL’s Money page… it’s set up like the college sports tournament

    you pick stocks to win and the winner gets 10 grand ..

    looks good..

    http://www.smartmoney.com/marketmadness

  19. Geoff Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Cory, housing policy in this country after WWII has created segregation and has allowed for poverty to persist. The mortgage tax deduction is part of this. Since minorities were excluded from buying homes in most areas, these groups were excluded from the increase in wealth from home equity, which has excluded minorities from increasing their wealth on par with the white majority. Other policies, such as the Federal-Aid Highway Act continued segregation as well as brought jobs out of the city where minorities were basically forced to live. If you accept the mortgage tax deduction you have to accept that past policies have created a burden and the government needs to pay to help bring people on equal footing.

    If the free market really can fix things, how come we depend on oil when it’s been well known that oil reserves are not infinite and the amount of oil being pumped in many locations has decreased over the past decade? How come we still have air pollution problems? There are a number of issues where the free market doesn’t work and government intervention is necessary.

  20. Meg Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Mobtown – I hear you; some people don’t like political discussions, and it doesn’t offend me if you want to skip posts on those subjects. Though I will note that I didn’t include my political views on the subject in my post – I did so in the comment after reading the many other views. In fact, I wasn’t even trying to spark a political debate; as an investor I had a question on a topic that I knew AFM’s great readers would have insight about. I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with me; I just enjoy the discussion.

    And by the way, I would totally support any system that banished the entitlements that even I get (including the rebate I’m about to get). The scratching of the myriad of housing tax deductions would perhaps change my real estate investment plans, but if it was part of a massive tax overhaul that made everything more simple and fair, I’d be downright excited about it.

    I understand and support the government incentivizing certain things that are good for all – like taxing oil and cigarretes to make us use less. I get that they incentivize home ownership because housing is one of the key drivers of our economy – and of building wealth for citizens. If Americans aren’t incented to own real estate (and investors aren’t incented to build homes and apartments), then government will be left with the task of housing the booming population AND of funding our retirements (since more people will have housing payments in retirement and fewer will have home equity to draw from if they need to).

    But once you get started subsidizing this and that, it’s a mess. It would almost be better (in theory) to have a completely socialized system rather than one where many things are socialized, but only for certian people, and only partly. It’s incredibly inefficient and expensive, and inevitably unfair. And most importantly, it takes the power out of the hands of the people. For better or worse, we should all have the power to shape our lives in this country – in my humble opinion.

  21. Meg Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Geoff – I do agree. In this day and age a totally free market would inevitably lead to ridiculous monopolies and abuses. Obviously the government has to regulate certain things (polution being a good example).

    But regulating something that is a direct health threat to all Americans and society in general is different from making moral judgements about what Americans deserve or should have, and then using tax dollars to fund those decisions.

    Obviously I wish every American was well fed, well housed, well clothed, studied hard, got a good job, etc. But I just don’t think that the government CAN or should continue to TRY to regulate and subsidize its way into every home and force that to happen. Besides what I think, it doesn’t work. We’ve spent TRILLIONS on poverty programs since WWII. And guess what? There are still just as many (if not more) “poor” people.

    I appreciate your connecting policy with its unintended consequences – that’s the problem with trying to regulate and make policy to bring about certain events (even good events for people who truly “deserve” them). Policy inevitably begets more policy to fix the problems from the last policy.

    Subsidizing housing – like student loans – sounded like a great idea to help a few people who can’t afford rent where they want to live. But the unintended consequence was to drive the cost of housing (just like tuition) so thate fewer people can afford it – and more people end up in “the system,” relying on Uncle Sam for something or other.

  22. Ernesto@InsuranceYak.com Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Meg,

    Ahh to be young and judgmental again..if only.

    Would you like to see a country where the Gov. doesn’t support education through student grants & loans? A country where the poor get no assistance with housing? Go visit Mexico.

    The best I can tell HUD spends around $10B a year on assistance to section 8 renters. That’s what? About 3 weeks of spending in Iraq? About 2 1/2 months of the NASA budget?

    HUD also runs the FHA & Ginnie Mae programs: The government grease that’s been driving the housing bubble engine for the past few years. What Washington pays out in the next few years to bail out FHA backed loans that Wall Street passed out to anyone who could sign thier name will make section 8 expenditures look like peanuts. I don’t suppose you bought your property with a FHA loan did you? Darn government subsidizing home ownership.

  23. Jim Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Wow, touchy subject. I am pretty sure that most of us agree that there are many people that deserve and should get some help from our government. What is most frustrating though is that the poor can get help but the wealthy are penalized.
    I am in the process of putting two children through college, because I have worked very hard over the past 15 years investing in real estate while working at a full time job, I do not qualify for any government aid. Therefore if I would have spent the last bunch of years watching sitcoms in the evenings instead of fixing drywall, painting, replacing doorknobs, plumbing, etc. I would now qualify for educational assistance which means I would be financially at the same point. When the government provides handouts the incentive to work hard is removed. That form of government has been tried for many years and it always has failed. It results in massive taxes to survive (France, Germany, England, for example)

  24. Geoff Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Meg-

    Housing is considered a basic necessity, and is directly related to the overall health of society. Without housing opportunities, where are people supposed to go? As what often happens now, these people, not by choice, would end up in areas that they can afford, which often are areas of concentrated crime, poverty and other social problems. These areas also have few jobs and few opportunities for upward movement. Without programs like Section 8, these people have fewer opportunities to move higher in society and gain financial independence.

    Housing subsidizes may increase housing costs (although I’m not convinced they are a large factor), but if people have no where to go and are unable to move (disability, job, or many other situations) and can’t afford housing, then what can they do? An increase in squatting or homelessness would just drive prices down and go against what property owners want, which is an increase in value of their property.

    I don’t necessarily agree that everyone deserves help and it shouldn’t be expected, but for the truly deserving, these programs offer opportunities that could not be found without them.

    As for student loans, studies have show little to no connection between rising tuition prices and federal aid. (see http://finance.senate.gov/hearings/testimony/2005test/120506bltest.pdf) Without quality higher education how are we supposed to grow our economy and continue to improve our quality of life?

    And also, we can’t forget the opportunities and services that we have because of people that need public assistance, including child care, landscaping, food service, clothing services, clothes and other apparel, produce, etc.

  25. Ron Says:
    March 14th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I’ll stay away from the political aspects of this argument.

    I’m a Section 8 landlord. Here are the pro’s and con’s as I see them.

    Pro’s

    Guaranteed rent.

    Annual inspections (this is a con, too).

    If the renter stays with the program, they will generally leave your property without trashing it too bad.

    Con’s

    Initial and then annual inspections:

    Sometimes these go well. Sometimes the inspector is an ass who makes unreasonable demands. Example, a couple years ago an inspector told me his boss was big into seal replacement on refrigerator doors. So, I was zinged for that – on a new refrigerator. The cost for this replacement would have been about $80 bucks. I simply flipped the doors and told him it was a new refrigerator, which it was and he passed me on the second inspection. I could give you a dozen more examples.

    The bottom line is this. If you take the King’s money, you have to dance to the King’s music. If you can live with that, or walk away when you can’t, you’ll be fine.

  26. Minimum Wage Says:
    March 15th, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Like it or not, government redistributes huge sums of income upward from renters to homeowners.

    The income tax breaks for homeowners far exceed the government assistance to renters.

    Most states have higher tax rates on rental property than on owner-occupied primary residences – for example, in Michigan, the school property tax rate on rental property is FOUR TIMES the rate on owner-occupied primary residences. Many states have special tax breaks for older homeowners to prevent getting taxed out of their homes – no such breaks for poor older renters.

    Local zoning rules typically are much more friendly toward single-family and owner-occupied development than to apartments and similar rental development. Even an outstanding conservative economist like Thomas Sowell has acknowledged that local government redistributes income from renters to homeowners. The supply of rental property is artificially restricted by government, thereby inflating rents.

    With all the rules rigged in favor of homeowners, I don’t think giving a little back to renters is too much to ask.

  27. Minimum Wage Says:
    March 15th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Cory trots out the common argument that goverment uses the tax code to encourage home ownership because that is good for society.

    Can someone explain exactly how home ownership is good for society?

  28. Sandee Says:
    March 16th, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Ownership of property creates jobs. I built three spec houses when it was still worth the risk. It supported quite a number of people so they could house and feed their families too. Then there is the fixer upper I bought with a guest house. We spent tens of thousands getting it all up to speed and that too supported a number of workers. The property taxes alone support all kinds of services in this community and the upkeep continues to spread the wealth around. Just ask any plumber, gardener, electrician or Home Depot and Lowes employees. When government owns the housing, it all goes in the tank…check any rent control cities. They are a mess. Private ownership should be encouraged since property owners tend to take better care of it than those who have nothing invested. I am renting out my guest house and I wouldn’t dream of taking a voucher. Here in California it’s difficult enough trying to get rid of a bad tenent and there are way more out there than when I was a renter in the 60s. I’m still trying to find Section 8 housing in the Constitution. Did I miss it somewhere?

  29. Minimum Wage Says:
    March 17th, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Are you saying that homeowners create jobs and renters don’t?

    Show me ONE rent control city and housing in the tank.

    Show me some proof that property owners tend to take better care of it better than those who have nothing invested. What about homeowners who got their homes with nothing down – how do they compare with renters?

    The property taxes alone support all kinds of services in the community? In most states, prop tax rates are higher on rental property than on owner-occ primary residences. For example, in Michigan, the school property tax rate on rental prop is FOUR TIMES the rate on owner-occ homes. Looks like homeowners aren’t paying their fair share of property taxes!

  30. Sandee Says:
    March 18th, 2008 at 1:06 am

    **Are you saying that homeowners create jobs and renters don’t?**

    Ah….I searched my post and there is NOTHING in it that even remotely says that. In fact if you READ it again, I said I was a RENTER back in the 60s. So there ya go, even a renter can and does move on up in life and creates something!!!

    Rent control ( socialism ) has been tried in most every major city with dubious effects. Check here for the unintended consequences http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-274.html

    I have no idea what the property taxes are on rental apts. here in San Diego. If they are higher it might make sense in that there is a higher density of people per unit. All I know is what I and my friends and relatives pay. Since we all moved up during the housing bubble…we all pay many thousands a year. And funny thing too. We’re ALL retired ( under 65 ), no kiddies in the schools, don’t use any public services, insurance poor and health insurance poor to boot. Most of us here in San Diego pay at least an average of 5 to $8,000 a year. And you think THAT’S not enough?

    If you’ve never built a house from the ground up then I guess you couldn’t possibly understand how many individual people and companies profit off said construction. And if you’ve never OWNED a piece of property then you can’t ever know what it entails to keep it going. BTW, it took an average of 4 to 6 months to build each house and there was usually someone working on it everyday. It took 3 months just to complete this fixer decent enough to move into it. I had whole crews of people in and around it everyday. They ALL made a nice chunk. Now there’s very few people building anything. The same people I know in the building industry are going belly up. They can’t find work ’cause it is all dried up. So without the entreprenour and capital risk taker…no one eats.

    Anyone today, that saves/borrows $$$ to build anything
    ( Apt or house )takes a huge risk. You take another big risk when you rent to strangers.

    When I got out of school in the mid 60s and rented an apt. it was no big deal and no one asked for anything but a check and rents were low ( no rent control. ) Now, the property owner/land lord wants to know what color under wear you’re wearing! They do all kinds of background checks and finger printing and money up front for future damages. Now why do you think that is? What’s changed? Evidently the vast majority of today’s renters are not the nice, clean and quiet people we used to know. The culture has changed and that is why I would advise against vouchers. As was said earlier, ya takes the kings treasure, ya follow the kings rules.

    As an aside: the home owners in a house next door to me, ( also a construction contractor ) suddenly rented this house to a large family and moved into another house they had been trying to sell. The house next door ( while the owners lived in it ) was always taken care of. Now, the place looks like a hurricane hit it everywhere. I rest my case!

  31. Tim Says:
    March 18th, 2008 at 6:09 am

    I am not in the rental game now and I have been out for a while. However I was in it for ten years. Section 8 has pluses and minuses for landlords. For me the pluses weighed more than the minuses. One thing that was important to me was that if there was damages, Section 8 would pay for part of the cost of repairs. Tenants receiving Sec. 8 housing have an incentive to not damage your property because they will lose their Sec. 8. Those without Sec.8 have zero incentive to destroy your property.

  32. Sandee Says:
    March 18th, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    I can’t blame anyone who has rental property taking Section 8. It’s their property and their choice. And yes the incentive to behave is there but, why is it that so many people fight tooth and nail to prevent it in their neighborhoods in the first place? Because it brings down the property values all around it. We have a number of low income/sec. 8 housing here in the No. county of San Diego. I can drive around and pick them out visually. Why it’s like that I don’t know but I wouldn’t take section 8 simply out of principal. I’d much rather do it the old fashioned way using the open and free market.

  33. amanda Says:
    March 21st, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I work for a Section 8 Housing Department in Virginia. I know first hand what “craptastic” tenants these people are. I would HIGHLY advise against renting to people with Section 8. We only have a handful of “good” clients in our office. The rest of them usually lose their vouchers for various reasons listed:
    1) Move in and never make ONE payment of their portion of the rent causing the landlord to evict. By the time the courts allow you to kick the person out, they have purposely trashed your unit and don’t expect them to pay for damages after they are gone. You will have to take them back to court again only to find out they aren’t even working and can’t pay you even if you get a judgement against them.
    2) Move SEVERAL unauthorized tenants into the property.
    3) Noise violations
    4) Cops called to the rental property too many times for various reasons.
    All I have to say is DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Section 8 Hater Says:
    March 23rd, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    My experience living across the street from Section 8 housing in Jersey City was so horrific that the presence of any Section 8 housing nearby is now a total real-estate deal-breaker.

    As far as I could tell, not one person in this building worked, or even was bothering to learn English. The residents were openly dealing drugs, and liked to set off car alarms (up 25 times a day)and yell at each other and play music on the sidewalk from midnight to 4 a.m. on a near-nightly basis. This was my first observation of such a concentration (roughly 20 households) of absolute scum of the earth.

    Because it was Jersey City, the police did nothing. They would occasionally drive by, but never get out of the car. Thank God we were only renting; other poor idiots were paying millions of dollars for townhouses on this block (Wayne Street, near Barrow).

    Yes, there must be Section 8 tenants who are nice people. I am guessing they are a very small minority, however. I am saying that by taking Section 8 tenants, you are very likely dramatically lowering quality of life for your tenants’ neighbors.

  35. miserable in the bronx Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    My husband and I just bought a house 3 years ago3 bdrm huge yard and are now living a nightmare!!! Our neighbor just sold her house exactly like ours, only to sell it to someone who rented to section 8 family.
    Cannot believe that taxes we pay help to subsidize the crap we are dealing with. Horifficaly loud radio all hours of the night. Parking or blocking our driveway by them or their visitors, and when we bring it to their attention they have the nerve to ask us if we are leaving anytime soon. All kinds of shady people coming in and out of the house including the known drug dealers. The constant smell of grass. How fair is this that we work for what we have and we pay for them to live like kings for free and do what they want whenever they want. Im at my witts end. Housing market for selling sucks right now. Im tired of calling 311 and also complaining to the police. The owner of the other house could care less… Cant believe this….ready to take this to another level and see if I can get politicans involved.

  36. Elliot Yeates Says:
    April 14th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Hi my names is Elliot. My wife and I are scout leaders of a pack and troop in Harlem. We also volunteer and the Salvation Army on 125street and 3ave in Harlem, 6 day a week. We have to boys and a girl on the way. For four years now we have been living in a shelter. This has not stop our volunteer work for the community. On March 25 we got our Section 8 voucher. Thinking this was a good thing for us only to understand how it make you feel less than human. We have been lied to, no call back and on life long waiting list. Let just say we are still in the shelter. Not all voucher are bad. But we all have to pay for the bad ones. elliotmky@hotmail.com

  37. bill Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 5:21 am

    I was a landlord for 20+ years and never accepted section 8 because of the tenants we felt it would draw to our neighborhood. We live in a downtown area and owned 6 single family rental units and did not want to degrade the neighborhood. Before you judge me let me say I recently let go of all but the house my family lives in and the houses around me have since been sold to investors whom bought in to the section 8 program. We now have to call the police on almost a daily basis for loud music, people hanging out and blocking streets, drug dealing, hanging on there front porch drinking and screaming profanity, prostitution, gang fighting, the list goes on and on. The properties are in disrepair with little if no regards to looks. We have shown and given video to the police department of various felonies and have had little if no response. It took me almost 3 years to get a crack house shut down across the street from us, (a newly built h.u.d house), 3 bedroom section 8 with around 30 occupants on any given night. I now fear for the safety of my family on a daily basis. The good news, I’ve only one property left to sell, but not for the amount we had planned for.
    So if you are just an investor whom is looking for a government check and figures the property you own is just a piece of junk, go for it. If you care an ounce about your property or the neighborhood your property is in, I would stick to renting from other sources. I am sure there are section 8 tenants whom are truly deserving of what the program was intended for and respect others property, I just have not met one yet.

  38. My 2 cents Says:
    April 28th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    The problem with Section 8 housing is the fact that communities cannot limit how much of it is actually in their community. Forget the politics and economics. It’s based on sound ideas and theory, but in practice it is a different story.

    If people were actually able to take their voucher and go anywhere they wanted, that would be one thing.

    But what actually happens is that in a given county, a handful of the communities get 90% of the vouchers and people in the better off communities don’t have to worry about it. They can sit back and complain about it as a “freebie.”

  39. PhatKat28 Says:
    May 3rd, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I just wanted to say that I am a single mother of three on Section 8. I work a full time job that I have been at for 6 years and I am a full time student earning my degree. Many people have many mis-conceptions about this program and I didn’t find out until I got on it. First let me say that I first applied when I had my first child back in ’92 and did not get on the program until 2006, this is because even though I am low income, I have always been employed which knocked me out of the high priority box. I have seen landlords who will only rent to Section 8, which is ridiculous and I have seen people turn their noses up at the mention of the program. Its a good program that some people abuse but not all. My credit isn’t great but the house I rent required that I get a co-signer. Also, the inspections are meant to protect the tenant and yes they are VERY detailed. My house failed at first because of a plate missing off a lightswitch in the basement that dosent work! I agree with everyone, that it is all in the screening process. My rental unit, a 3-bdrm ranch, is 850.00 a month with my portion being 540.00. When looking in the genreal area, this is what homes were going for with or without section 8.

  40. PhatKat28 Says:
    May 3rd, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    My2cents, FYI, here in Michigan, a recipient of section 8 can take their voucher anywhere in the tri-county area. After one year, you can move anywhere within the continental U.S, and that’s with all programs in every state.

  41. PhatKat28 Says:
    May 3rd, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Ernesto@insuranceyak.com you said ” Most section 8 people are single mothers so boyfriend or babby-daddy is usually hanging out somewhere (or living with) so make sure you put in the lease a list of the people approved to live there. ” That is such a negative statement against women, single mothers in particular. The reason why most of them are single is because the fathers are NOT around and single moms have no more probability of boyfriends hanging around than single women!!

    /

  42. Jill Says:
    May 6th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I’m grown I pay my rent and I wish someone would try to tell me who I could and could not have in my house.

  43. Jenn Says:
    May 27th, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    A year after I moved into my home, the next door neighbors sold theirs to an investor. They purchased the 5 bed, 3 bath home for $750,000. They promptly moved in a Section 8 renter. It was a family with 5 teens, a working mother and a father with 8 criminal offenses, one is a felony. They moved in at 1am on a Thursday night. They have been unruly, loud, they throw parties any time they please. They keep us up all hours of the night. When you ask them to keep the noise down, they band together and bully you out of their way. Finally after nearly 2 years of this abuse, they shot off a gun in their backyard, less than 50 feet away from my four year old daughter. I called the police, and they responded. Immediately after the police left, the father came over and confronted my husband and I and threatened us. I filed a restraining order. Now I am working with local police to try and have them cited as a public nuisance.
    This has been the most miserable experience. I work hard, saved my money, bought my first home, and have to deal with all this. My four year old is terrified that our neighbor is going to shoot mommy or daddy.
    These Section 8 renters have ruined our neighborhood. These people could work, but it is easier to have the tax payers foot the bill. They are also teaching their 5 teens that this will work for them. These kids rarely go to school, and I have seen them drinking and smoking. If you have any morals or virtue, you will not rent to these people. Make them learn how to work hard like the rest of us and keep them away from our children.

  44. Stevie Says:
    June 5th, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Not Only does section 8 do an extensive background check on its “Members” But they do not allow them in the program if they have ANY Felonies or Any Drug charges.
    They check in on the tenants and make sure they are not Messing up the place.
    Section 8 is like winning the Lotto. The people on the program are not likely to ruin their chances of keeping their children in a Nice home.

    It is like everything else. Assess the individual! Think about what they are saying and if their story checks out. Ask for referrals. Rent to a section 8 participant who is Going to College or Working.

    A section 8 tenant is less likely to be a convict and less likely to do damage because once they move they have to pay the previous land lord every penny required to make sure that dwelling is in the condition it was when it was rented to them. Other wise they will not get another voucher and will be evicted from the program. Usually For GOOD. They may be able to re apply and do another 4 to 7 year wait but sometimes no.

    with Section 8 tenants you will get the rent no matter what!
    You will get paid, every month! And There may be some Taxable deductions for landlords participating in the program.

    I know a lot of good people on section 8 who just needed some one to believe in them. Most are in College and will not be “Milking” the program for all that it is worth.
    Sure some are jerks but some people out of every situation or group is always going to end up disappointing society.

  45. Realtor experience Says:
    June 13th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    C’mon you all need to open up your little narrow head mind. that’s how you people are not so successful these days. Section 8 can only benefits you, forget about the rumors of “he says, she says.” You are guaranteeh to get paid on time, each year there’s something there coming down checking the property of any damages, so the tenants do not dare to damage your property. All of the people who live under section 8 must be filed and reported to their social workers, or else they will lose their place in the home. As for letting random people renting, you never know what types of creeps you letting in. & they do not care about your properties. I am a realtor myself, and i own 5 properties of my own. So I weigh the pros and cons for section 8 and for those who are not in section 8.

  46. Nikea Says:
    August 4th, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    STAY away….!!! especially in NYC…. the section 8 workers wont help you with a bad situation, they tell the tenants what to do to keep you in court. the section 8 workers are overworked and underpaid….so you know their mentality.
    They Still owe me money and the tenant recked the apartment…. My Tenant moved her ex con boyfreind in and he started running his freinds in and outor the house all times of the night.
    All of my freinds that rented to section 8 had horrible experiances . One the her section 8 tenants… turned to water on and flodded her newly constructed apartment..
    Section 8 in NYC area is just the City and Govt passing the problems of the poor onto the poor lanldords… the govt should build more section 8 housing and not luxury apartments.
    Again…Stay away or do some serious research first!!!!

  47. jj Says:
    August 28th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Yes, you’re guaranteed rent, as long as the tenant isn’t violating rules and getting kicked out of the place, then evicting them is all yours.

    Screen very well, and hope they aren’t lying to you up front. It took me 2.5 months to inspected + for the contract to get to me. A hassle right away. Then I found out the tenant was lying to me about who would live there, and Section 8 folks told me who was approved to live there. They will not sign their contract promising to pay you if you present a lease with anyone NOT on their approved list.

    So, I don’t know how you do a lying screen up front, but there are [obviously] manipulators out there. And you need to start the whole inspection + contract process over every time you find a new tenant.

  48. Veniece Says:
    September 11th, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    It’s just luck with Sec 8 tenants. I’ve had great tenants and I’ve had horrible tenants. The most important thing to do is screen tenants. Section 8 will not help when things go wrong. All they will tell you is wait until the lease is up or take the tenant to court. This can be quite frustrating when the tenant is harassing you. The police in NYC do not help with tenant/landlord disputes. Although it’s great to have that income, the frustration is sometimes not worth it. For example, Sec 8 inspects the apartment and items have to be repaired. The tenant does not want to grant access to the contractor for the repairs. Sec 8 says take the tenant to court to gain access, the cops says we can’t force the tenant to open the door. When the repairs are not made Sec 8 does not pay the rent, it’s a catch 22.
    Now you’re stuck with a tenant living not paying rent for many months. You have no money, but to get reimbursed by Sec 8 you have to find the money to take the tenant to court. However, I do believe in people, there are good Sec 8 tenants, as well as bad ones. Be careful, how you choose your tenants. You can still have problems with non sec 8 tenants.

  49. Heather Says:
    September 15th, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Frankly, I cannot believe how judge mental some landlords can be. I am a single mother who works and goes to school fulltime. I also receive a section eight voucher to help pay my rent. I would think with this struggling economy that landlords would welcome a person with a section eight voucher with open harms. It guarantees that rent will be paid, at least the majority, you can’t say that about the average person. Middle class Americans are getting laid off left and right they can’t assure that their rent will get paid, but a low income person like me can.

  50. Broxx Says:
    September 19th, 2008 at 1:20 am

    I received my Housing Choice Voucher May 2008 about 4 months ago, and it has been a nightmare of an experience. Landlords give you the run around, Alot of them are racist, And they pull every trick in the book known possible like, giving you the run around until the voucher expires. You only get a total of 120 days to find a place, I finally found a place i have passed the back ground and credit check, The unit was inspected supposedly because section 8 workers assigned to your case never call you to tell you anything thats going on. Now i’m hearing after a unit passes inspection there can be a total of up to a 3 week wait before contracts are sent to the landlord to sign before i can move in. The next hurdle to climb will be comming up with the full deposit amount and first months rent. This is a awful system for us all to struggle in and it gets worse not better, I’m still in a state of mind of doubt that i will ever move into my new place anything can happen at the last minute in this Good Ole country we call America.

  51. Broxx Says:
    September 19th, 2008 at 1:42 am

    In addition My fear is that in the time it takes to complete the entire process, The resident manager at the apartment building will rent my unit out to the next available tenant. Just incase something shady goes down i have a fair housing worker that will check back with me in a week to see if any progress has been made. And of course the resident manager will not answer her phone, I havn’t spoken to her since she told me about the inspection that was scheduled 9/15/08 which was this past monday. She could have atleast called me and said the unit passed inspection, I’m just waiting in limbo with no knowledge of anything. What a nightmare this entire ordeal has been stressful is a understatement.

  52. Broxx Says:
    September 19th, 2008 at 1:43 am

    In addition My fear is that in the time it takes to complete the entire process, The resident manager at the apartment building will rent my unit out to the next available tenant. Just incase something shady goes down i have a fair housing worker that will check back with me in a week to see if any progress has been made. And of course the resident manager will not answer her phone, I havn’t spoken to her since she told me about the inspection that was scheduled which was this past monday. She could have atleast called me and said the unit passed inspection, I’m just waiting in limbo with no knowledge of anything. What a nightmare this entire ordeal has been stressful is a understatement.

  53. Broxx Says:
    October 5th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    The unit I’m trying to move into passed inspection 9-26-08, This is 10-5-08 and i havn’t heard anything. Neither Housing Authority nor the Owner seem to be concerned about my case, This is a evil cruel world with out a doubt. Then when i visit housing authority they ask me am i the tenant or the owner, When i reply i’m the tenant they give me this attitude like they don’t even have to communicate with me. They say things like you are the tenant not the owner, We will contact the owner then the owner will contact you, I havn’t been contacted by anybody. I’m at the point of doing something drastic that will earn me a spot in prison, Atleast in prison you get 3 meals a day and a place to sleep, And you don’t have to worry about a section 8 voucher anymore.

  54. Mz. Jackson Says:
    November 22nd, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    I recieve Section 8 and some of the views displayed on this site is just down right stereotypical. Yes, there are people who abuse the system, and Yes there are people have made some wrong choices in life that may have directly impacted their need for Section 8. But I’ll speak for me and my friends that have Section 8. I am a single mother of two children and I worked 2 jobs and went to college full time, but I lived from pay check to pay check. Why shouldn’t our wealthy government help those who need help? Are poor people shit out of luck because they are born poor? Should all poor people live in boxes on the side of the road? I understand what Meg is saying about working hard to get things. But to me Section 8 is not a luxury. I have had my tires slashed by other Section 8 reciepients because they had nothing better to do. Some nights I don’t get enough sleep because of the loud parties and fighting. If I didnt have Section 8 I would not have graduated college with dual degrees and cum laude I would have been working just to pay the bills with no upward mobility or real happiness at the end of working all of those hours. I am glad that the Section 8 program was here for me after being laid off twice in 3 years. The Section 8 program has given me upward mobility and I am grateful for this. I don’t feel a sense of intitlement but I am glad to be American. Meg, and others against this program…I hope nothing bad ever happens to you…I hope no one ever stills your identity and burns your house down…I hope that you and your family can handle a health crises such as cancer or the loss of limbs. Because if you want to know how people get into situations where they have to ask their government for help, those are some of the ways how.

    When I become a land owner I would rent to Section 8 tenants, but I would also screen them. The final decision is up to the land lord. It is very against the law not to rent to people solely because they have Section 8. These tenants may have bad credit but is comes with the territory. You can always ask them about hardships that may have prevented them from paying other bills. But for the most part I would rent to a Single Mom who is a full time student. The landlord gets more of a subsidy for this type of section 8 reciepeint, and then 9/10 times they will not destroy your property.

  55. used to work in Section 8! Says:
    December 6th, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Section 8 pays a portion of a tenant’s rent, directly to the landlord.

    That’s it.

    When I worked for Section 8, I encountered a lot of lazy, stupid landlords who never screened their tenants–and then came whining to us when there were problems. Hello, you were the one who screened him (or didn’t) and decided to rent to him!

    Also, tenants who receive Section 8 aren’t somehow magically exempt from the housing laws in your state. You can serve warning notices and evict them just like you can anyone else, as long as you follow the law.

    (CONFIDENTIAL TO LANDLORDS: MAYBE IF YOU’RE GOING TO INVEST SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS IN A RENTAL PROPERTY YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET A CURSORY UNDERSTANDING OF THE WHOLE BODY OF LAW INVOLVED IN RE: SERVING NOTICES AND EVICTION.)

    Also, I’m tired of the stories of ‘Once a Section 8 tenant trashed a house!’ Like that never happens with non-Section 8 tenants.

  56. Big on Principles Says:
    February 12th, 2009 at 7:10 am

    There are a lot of people on section 8 that really need the assistance. For example, the elderly, disabled, those going to school, those who lost there jobs ( which means that atleast they once had a job). My problem is when people use these programs as a way of life instead of as a stepping stone to self independence. Any person with any pride wouldn’t WANT any handouts but sometimes you have to put your pride aside and ask for help. But once you get the help and you are able to overcome the situation that caused you to ask for help, you should have the ambition not rely on the government anymore.

    I own rental property and did not know much detail about the section 8 program; only that they provide rental assistance and that rent is guaranteed. I have one section 8 tenant and she keeps the house clean ( I do 1 yearly inspection and observe informally when I stop by for other reasons). I would not rent again to section 8 though. I think that section 8 has too many loop holes which leaves them open for abuse.There are a lot of people who were brought up on the system and then their children get brought up on the system and the cycle continues which is not acceptable. Section 8 spoon feeds the people too much and this is why the people start to get this feeling of entitlement and have no motivation to do better. For example, Section 8 stopped paying 100% rent for my tenant which caused the tenant to have to pay 35 $ a month towards her rent. You would think that she would have the 35$ ready on the first but no. I have to call her to ask for it. She is never on time. If I only had to pay 35$ for where I lived, I would never be late. This really rubs me the wrong way. There are people losing their jobs and homes and she only has to pay 35$ for rent and it seems that she doesn’t even want to pay that much. I would rather to rent to a hard working person than to rent to someone who just wants to live for free.

    Also when I first went through the process section 8 didn’t want to pay my fair market price for my property ( which was equipped with stainless steel appliances, fresh paint, new carpet). I ended up accepting the rental amount because I had allowed the tenant to move in before the process was complete under a conventional lease ( big mistake). I believe that my tenant knew that section was not going to pay the market rent but section 8 was instead going to negotiate the rent. You have to be careful because these tenants are smart when it comes to the system.

    Even though my unit has always passed inspection and the tenant keeps the place clean, I will never rent to section 8 again. Disabled, and those going to school or those who lost their jobs but is actively seeking are my exemptions. My principles have overshadowed my motivation for economical gain. I believe that if you are healthy and able to work, then you need to work just like the everyday tax payers who are paying for these programs. If you want section 8 assistance then you should not be allowed to live in a good neighborhood and let that be motivation enough to better yourself and get off of the system. If not that, what else would be the motivation not to stay on section 8? Point is, section 8 needs to be more strict with there rules so that lazy people will not get a free ride.

  57. Some hypocrites out there Says:
    March 22nd, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I really don’t have strong feelings one way or another. I definitely see abuse of the system but at the same time I see the need from keeping people from being homeless and we waste more money paying corporations to rip off our armed forces (hint: our former vice president used to run the company) than we ever “waste” on section 8. HOWEVER, what irks me is the hypocrisy of many people. Jim says “I am in the process of putting two children through college, because I have worked very hard over the past 15 years investing in real estate while working at a full time job, I do not qualify for any government aid.”. I suppose Jim turned down his child tax credits or didn’t claim them as exemptions. And I suppose he paid extra property taxes to cover his school district’s costs. You see, I’m paying for Jim to have 2 kids and helping him pay to raise them. I pay $8600 a year on property taxes of which the vast majority goes to support schools and pay the highest income bracket to make up for his tax breaks for having children. So don’t be a hypocrite, until you can honestly say that you aren’t getting a break from the government for the PERSONAL choices you make, don’t judge those who recieve government assistance…because you do too. The easiest way to check is go see if you claim ANY tax exemptions or deductions. Guess what, that was a personal choice you made and I’m being asked to subsidize that choice.

  58. Honesty Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I wanted to add my comment to this list…. I feel that there are alot of different point of views that were stated that could be true or not. I am a Section 8 tentant and I work everyday and take care of my children. I don’t feel that I am a bad person at all. I may be considered low-income, but my morals are RIGHT.. I don’t feel that Section 8 should be sterotyped as poor, rude, disrespectful and inconsiderate people. I have high values and I guess at times having a helping had to help you get on your feet isn’t bad. I feel that Section 8 should be a stepping stone, but some people just don’t have the ability to get up in life. I just don’t like the idea that landlords would sterotype people just because they are on Section 8.. Some of section 8 tentants may have great ways and qualities, even though their credit may be bad or they may have a pass history. Sometimes you might want to look at the person and the situaution before you judge.

  59. shawna Says:
    May 30th, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I would like to just add that I am a section 8 tenant, well me and my 3 month old son. Whatever is said about section 8 tenants is not always true. Me and my fiance were both attending law school when we found out we had concieved. Long story short he still is in law school, married now (not to me obviously) and I am just now getting back on my feet as a single parent with no family living around me to help me care for my son while I work and attend a COMMUNITY college that I am only going to because I lost my scholorship and am now recieving what is called financial aid. So just to make it clear thought the same about people who recieved welfareand such things from the government. Needless to say my situation has opened my eyes and i am much more understanding to people living in poverty. I would not be where I am today I it were not for the state.

  60. COSTRUC4 Says:
    July 13th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    This has been a very intereting read. I only came across this page out of curiousity. A new tenant who moved into the building I reside in is a section 8 person. One month on moving in and there is more garbage in the front and back of the property than I have ever seen. Loud music and the boyfriend / baby daddy lurking around. Just like many individuals with section 8 experience have written here. My conclusion, is that there is a small percentage of people collecting section 8 who are descent, respectful, hard working people. But the majority, 90 percentile, are just GHETTO!!! One bad apple spoiling the bunch does not apply here. Its the bunch and seems to spoil it for a couple.

  61. Thinking in Maryland Says:
    July 26th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Wow! Very interesting comments from both sides of the fence. I have never been on section 8 because I was told I made to much money. I needed and wanted the assistance that others were getting, however, the only way to do that would be to severely cut back on my work hours or quit altogether. Neither was an option for me so I perservered in my quest to become an RN (I became a phlebotomist after graduating high school and worked for 15 years before beoming an
    RN). My cousin, full time student, section 8 program, never really worked until she went to college and became an RN was a model section 8 client. I say this to say I am planning to start in the world of real estate investing and I plan to rent to both. Everyone needs a helping hand sometime. Screen your applicants, ask for report cards for the kids to tell if mom or dad is serious about child’s education; ask what mom and dad are doing now, are they working? are they going to school? Are they involved in their community? Ask the tenant how they feel about rowdy neighbors and how they would handle a situation if they felt neigbors were rowdy? Have a tenant meeting offer incentives for keeping the property up. Their are a host of ideas you can offer up. There are dead beat non -section 8 people too. Screen all applicants the same way.
    Good luck to you all, and God Bless.

  62. AMI Says:
    July 28th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I cant believe people still look at things from a prospective of social status or economic status. These days people with “GOOD CREDIT” are now filing bankruptcy at no fault of their own. Or the “Upstanding citizens” that have done everything right so they say, who are now committing crimes to keep their lavish lives they are custom to. I own 3 50 unit apartment complexes and 16 homes and yes I rent to section 8. I have a tenant that was a VP of a company that I will not make comment on but is now paying rent and working for thousands less than he did before. For all of my tenants I do housing inpsections of their prior residence before moving them in. This way I learn how my potential tenant maintain their current residence before letting them into mine. I also do yearly inspections of my units to make sure they are taking care of it and it is all legal. Section 8 or not I make sure all tenants are screened the same. As long as I am paid I dont care about the program. Most people who dont accept section 8 are people who really can careless about the moral thing its usually people who dont want to up keep their properties. GOD forbid I loose everything I would hope I can get help with a program like section 8. In addition for every section 8 unit I rent I get a tax break.

  63. BlueThunder Says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Yes section 8 is great for greedy,selfish,money hungry landlords who can care less about the house they are renting as well as the community around it.WHY?Because they themselves do not live there,nor would they ever tolerate these people living near them.Its truly disgusting.All these people care about is the guarenteed rent-they can care less about the noisy,violent,leechy losers that they allow to move into your area.Yes there are VERY FEW good ones-but chances are you will get the crappy one that will turn your block inside out.Maybe some of these landlords can buy and live in some of the houses right next to their rental.Just my 2 cents

  64. Sierra Marzette Says:
    August 25th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    People are very ignorant when it comes to section 8. Its not for people with bad credit or no credit, its a voucher that helps assist people who can’t afford to pay the full amount of rent. For person who work and on section 8, the tenent must pay 30 percent of their income. And its a shame that people think that section 8 is means your a nothing and a nobody. But thats America for you.

  65. Tex Says:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Other than the close-mindedness of some, this has been a really good discussion and will help my decision whether to accept sec. 8 vouchers or not.

  66. Ben Says:
    December 18th, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    I have a great section 8 tenant.. older woman with a daughter & her kids. You just have to screen them like any other tenant.

    It was a real pain to work through the program, but well worth it as this is getting someone in a property that was very difficult to get rented.

    In our case, the gov’t pays all but $1 of the monthly rent.

  67. reggie grimmett Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 11:49 am

    You rent to a hud tennant, you get the home perfect for move in,passes inspection, after one year you recieve another inspection that will generally fail due to all the damage the tennant has caused, then you get a letter,failed inspection. Landlord must repair broken bedroom doors, holes in walls,cabinet doors off cabinets Ect. I only have three hud tennants now,almost done, after they move, then i am going to be hud free from then on. Never again will i contribute to such ignorance as this. Beggars trading places with successes. I will never again become the beggar in exchange for money again.

  68. reggie grimmett Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Ninety percent of the calls i have gotten the last seven years for section 8 tennants has been abuse. Example,If a tennant wants to rent a beach front property for more money than sec.8 will allow they will tell you this; I pay my landlord 200.00 dollars extra each month that hud dont know about and i can also pay you the difference. After they move in, most of the time, it is a female, many times doing financially well with tips from waitressing or dancing,then the live-in working boyfriend shows up. Of course he doesnt live there he just stays all night every night to help her out while visiting his kids. This is the ultimate setup if you are lookin to build wealth illegally and no punishment enforced. Government at its finest. However, the rich evil landlord can be blamed for taking advantage of these poor helpless down & out people just trying to get by and didnt know what they were doing. BEWARE…A country is doomed when it learns to vote itself benefits

  69. Shawn Says:
    May 14th, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Very interesting point of views. I am currently a section 8 tenant, and consider myself one of the “good” ones. I applied to help cover cost while attending school (tuition increased 3x’s during my freshman year). I am also a single mother, as well as being a full-time student and working part-time. I have no family around, so it’s just my 3 yr old son and I. If it wasn’t for being on section 8 I and my son would be homeless. I wouldn’t have had the means to continue my education along with caring for a young child. It’s hard being a section 8 recipient because some individuals will judge you strictly on that fact alone. I have lived in my apartment almost 6 yrs, 3 of which with a section 8 voucher. I have no violations, bills paid on time, and I generally keep to myself. I respect the property as if it were my own, so I, of course dislike being lumped in with all the stereotypical assumptions about section 8 tenants.

    It’s a good, helpful program. However, there are those that abuse it and make it even more difficult for tenants like myself who just needed a helping hand in working toward making a better life for their family. I honestly feel embarrassed and less than, having read some of the comments posted here. It all depends on the person, not so much the economic level they reside on. We aren’t all ghetto, wild, loud, unappreciative, lazy bums looking for a handout. There are those of us who indeed just needed a hand gaining solid, stable footing.

  70. Rachel Says:
    May 20th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    WOW. so much for taking responsibility! Section 8 Tenants are like all the other “groups” whether you group by color, job type, nationality, whether you hang your toilet paper against the wall or not.. meaning that there are good and bad in all groups. If the section 8 renter across the street from you is a horror, chances are the landlord lives offsite and couldn’t care less. Obviously that landlord is in it for the money and the screening process is non existent for them. If the Landlord cared about the property and the neighborhood, proper screening would ensure that the ‘undesirables’ do not move in. By the way the WHITE HOMEOWNER next door is the one that has the loud parties, the rude and noisey teenagers and apparently a drug problem based on how many times a van comes over while hubby or wife run out and hands over cash… the SALVADORIAN section 8 renter next door works, goes to night school and has polite children . So the landlord next door did a great job of screening his tenant..I have no one to blame for letting the homeowner next door into our neighborhood, though I have a feeling that there will soon be a drug bust..oh and by the way I am a white German woman. Stop generalizing and categorizing based on color, housing etc. There is good and bad in every group and to the Section 8 employee in Virginia… shame on you for being as bigotted as the others!

  71. Rick Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    A lot of great comments here.

    I would just like to address the point made Meg who said, “Accepting Section 8 tenants would be to take a role in [promoting government assistance programs], and it’s something I just won’t do.”

    While I agree with some of your points, I feel one amazing difference with the Section8 program is that it’s the only assistance program I know of in the entire country where WE get to decide who benefits from it. Landlords pick their own tenants in Section8. You get to decide if someone is a system abuser and you can decide not to rent to them. Or you can decide to rent to the hard-working single mother who’s just trying to make a better life for her kids by getting them out of the bad neighborhood she would otherwise afford. If all Section8 landlords kept this in mind (which they don’t) the program would be better. But by having people who could be potentially great screeners NOT participate in the program, it also loses something.

  72. Clay Says:
    January 6th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Lily’s “economic argument.” The question about subsidizing rent is mostly a political argument not economic. Your argument that it causes a housing shortage goes completely unaddressed.

    If anything Sec. 8 places more money into the rentable housing industry, which would support the rationale for building, developing, and rehabbing more rental properties. In the long term it can help increase housing supply. Yes, Sec. 8 might make it harder for some non-sec 8 tenants to find housing in a locale temporarily, but there might not be as much housing supply in general without sec. 8 either.

    For example, without sec 8, whether he accepts it or not, there might not have been enough total renters on the market for the blog writer to become a landlord without the increase in demand from local section 8 usage.

    Also, your anecdotal evidence is based on one situation. I think whether or not it is a sec 8 or non-sec 8 tenant the trick is to screen them and collect enough evidence for any reason you reject a potential tenant, but not others. I’ve personally seen bad tenants (non-sec 8) kept in an apartment building from legal threat from the local ACLU. I normally respect them at the national level, but they make some really bad decisions on the local level.

  73. Heather Says:
    November 4th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    It is actually legal for a Section 8 recipient to rent a place that costs more than the Section 8 allowed amount and chose to pay the difference if they are able. Maybe they would rather pay a higher rent than have cable t.v., internet or spend money partying. If a Section 8 tenant “trashes” your apartment, rather than bring it back up to code and allow them to continue to live there for another year, EVICT them or DON’T RENEW THE LEASE. It’s not rocket science people. Anybody who would fix the place up and then sign another lease with a Section 8 tenant who has trashed the place is just an idiot.

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