Real Estate Investment News & Blog

Section 8 Rentals: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Do you remember the Clint Eastwood western movie, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”? Renting to Section 8 tenants is pretty much the same. Some landlords love Section 8, and some landlords try it and find it’s bad and ugly to deal with.

section 8 rental

With Section 8 tenants, you are guaranteed on-time rent every month.

What is Section 8

Section 8 is a government program that dates back to the Housing Act of 1937. Section 8 pays rent for over 3 million low-income households. A variety of Section 8 programs are available to low-income tenants, but the most popular is the voucher choice program. This program will pay either a portion of the tenant’s rent or all of the tenant’s rent depending on the individual tenant’s financial situation.

Most tenants pay about 30% of their take-home adjusted income for Section 8 housing. The adjusted income takes into account deductions for dependents, disabilities, and other medical expenses. If the tenant is unemployed or has a several children they may become eligible to have their entire rent paid by this program.

The Good

Most Landlords either love or hate the Section 8 program. They love it because they don’t have to worry about receiving full payment of their rent on-time, every single month. They don’t need to worry about checks being “lost in the mail” and a million other excuses tenants use to not pay their rent on time every month. And they love it because they can charge a lot for their rent.

Depending on their voucher, tenants are fitted for a 1 – 3 bedroom property. Rent for each of these properties is pre-set by the local agency administering the housing voucher. The good news is that the monthly rent is often a little higher than they can achieve with non-Section 8 tenants.

The Bad

One of the reasons that some landlords don’t like Section 8 is the government regulation involved. They don’t want the government involved with their rental properties. The government puts regulation on all Section 8 properties. The regulation includes a safety inspection when the tenant moves in and ongoing inspections at least annually.

After the inspection process, you’ll need to fix every item on their list before the tenant is approved for move-in. The inspection criteria is more stringent than most landlords expect, so the expense can be costly.

Because Section 8 is a government subsidized housing program, you can expect the process to move very slowly. The Section 8 workers are always under-staffed and over-worked. They are not able to provide the level of service you’d expect. This results in a slow process of getting through the inspections, the contracts, tenants moving in, and waiting for your first check to arrive.

The Ugly

Another primary concern is the quality of the tenant. Landlords fear that Section 8 tenants will be rough on their property, not change the furnace filters, call the landlord for leaking water, and generally not properly maintain the house.

Sometimes the tenants have large families or invite others to move in with them to share remaining expenses or even sublet out the couch.  Extra people can lead to heavy wear and tear on the property.

The way to minimize this is to fully screen Section 8 prospects just as you would non-Section 8 tenants. Landlords need to pull criminal background checks, call previous landlords, and check everything regardless if the tenant is in the Section 8 program or not.

Bottom Line

Some landlords love the Section 8 program. I know real estate investors who have 100% of their rentals filled with Section 8 tenants. Others hate Section 8 because of the challenges managing the whole process. How about you? What are your Section 8 experiences? Did you try it out, stay with it, or drop it as fast as you could? Share your Section 8 stories with us right here in the comments section.

CLICK here to subscribe to our mailing list and get unique, fresh content like this delivered right to your inbox.

Loading subscribe form...

About the Author...

Jim Ingersoll is a real estate entrepreneur who has bought and sold hundreds of homes. He is the author of Investing Now and Cash Flow Now (both available at, and enjoys speaking and coaching others on how to obtain their financial freedom.

You can visit Jim at and

You can find Jim on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Richard Powelson says:

    I owned 35 four plexes or 140 rental units, all section 8. I hired a management company to handle it. I strongly recommend that. They ran it like they owned it and screened all tenants and inspected each unit on a regular basis. They eliminated the bad tenants and were selective on good tenants. Without somebody else handling it, I don’t recommend it at all.

    • Jim Ingersoll says:

      Congrats on finding a great way to handle that many units. It is not easy to find great property managers who manage like they own. Thanks for sharing


    • Cassaundra. W says:

      Hello Jim ,
      I want to be like you when I grow up in the property business…Smiling.
      I’m very impressed with the way you decided to manage you rentals. It is my plan to have rental properties with tenants in the section 8 program and I may need some advice from people with more experience in that area in time such as yourself, if that is okay. Again, you did well and thank you for the helpful comment!
      Cassaundra. W

      • Michael says:

        Welcome to the club Cassaundra, I too am doing my homework and now all I need is an investor or business partner.

    • Maria says:

      How did you find the property management company? How were you able to tell they are a good, honest company? Did you have to go through a few before you found a good one? What is a good price for a property management company? Is 10% of rental income too low? I understand it depends on how much responsibility we give them, but we already have a super who just needs coverage during vacation by someone the property management company recommends, and we will handle collecting rent and managing finances.

      I’m taking over my parent’s real estate business and when my dad initially bought a 16 unit building, he had a property manager who was also an attorney who he found out was stealing from him. He hired another attorney to take him to court to recover the lost money but the guy ended up fleeing the state. This was in 1980 so it was harder to track people back then. My dad defaulted on his mortgage and almost lost the property because of this scumbag, a property which was also our home.

      Since then my mom does not trust any property managers and because of that harrowing experience is hesitant to hire help. I’ve tried asking around for recommendations but don’t trust the few recommendations I’ve gotten because when I try other professionals they recommend they either don’t do a good job or want to charge more money than we can afford since right now the property isn’t doing as well as it should because of all the bad tenants we’ve had in the past who don’t pay rent and cause property damage. One person quoted 10% of rental income while another 25%. What is a fair percentage?

    • Mary Peri says:

      This is a super slum section 8 company that does not live in the city where they section 8 properties with no interest in getting good people in. How do I report them???

      When I go to the State website it gives a 800 number that has somebody refer you to a local level where NOBODY EVER picks up. How is this allowed by the State???

      This is the SLUMLORD here..

  2. Merlin says:

    All the points raised in this article are valid. As a former landlord my experience is that ultimately Section 8 rentals are more profitable for the landlord, all things considered. A non-section 8 tenant that you properly screened can still damage your property, owe rent and make you go through a costly, time-wasting eviction process. When they finally leave, you can hardly trace them to recover your repair costs or unpaid rent. Even if you can trace them, recovering your money is another matter.

    But Section 8 tenants are bound by rules, and serious damage to property can cause them to lose their voucher if the landlord files a complaint, even after such a tenant vacates property. Include that clause in the lease agreement and point it out to tenant when they are signing it. That is an incentive for them to prevent damage to your property. Therefore, if your property qualifies for Section 8, go for it.

    • Merlin says:

      To add to my previous post, I once had to forcefully evict a Section 8 tenant through a court process. She had informed Section 8 office that she would not renew her lease at my property. At lease end, Section 8 office stopped sending rent, but she refused to vacate because she couldn’t find another property to relocate into. And of course she did not pay rent for the extra two months she over-stayed.

      I obtained eviction judgment, took the judgment debt to Section 8 office and was refunded for the extra two months and up to the date of judgment. They also told me I could file a complaint to have her voucher revoked, but I opted not to pursue it.

      • Debra Barner says:

        Merlin, I recently experienced the exact same. I had to forcefully evict a Section 8 tenant through the courts. When your rental is in the Rent Control Area, you must abide by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance just cause eviction provisions, if you need to evict them, which I did. To me, the landlord is screwed and stuck with a bad tenant who continues to damage your rental unless you seek an attorney to evict them. I did submit the judgement debt and the 2 1/2 back rent notice to Sec 8 so I am hoping they refund me. But that still doesn’t repair/replace the extensive damage that the tenant causes, one being water damage and mold as a result of the tenant’s neglect and irresponsibility. Sec8 tells me that I have to take them to court for that.

        • Audra says:

          I understand what I are going thru , but I lived in a house where a section 8 tenant paid all her rent on time, living on the first floor of a two family house very nice area , upstairs was a tenant who owned a beauty parlor and the landlord had to come to her house all the time for rent and kept making excuses about every little thing that was wrong in the apartment just to not pay rent and it was going on for months …she ran out of defenses and then turned to the illegal basement he was renting out so wen he took the court for non payment of rent he couldn’t evict he because she told the judge his basement was rented out and he dismissed the case charging him with an illegal 3 family house , he then had to take her to Supreme Court paying a huge fine and fees just to get her out end up selling the house , and the new owner kept the section 8 tenant and the old landlord got her out eventually but it took a long time , being said…it’s not the program / nationality : origin / race…ITS THE PERSON…

          • Hazel says:

            Yes it is. I can Attest to this. I am a section * voucher client and it’s hard to find a decent place to live because of people who don’t want to pay their rent or leave the place in an uproar. It makes me sad in a way because I work and pay my bills and I just want to live in a nice place with decent working people and my kids can go outside and play worry free

      • lijayjay says:

        God Blessed you Beautiful soul!

    • Jim Ingersoll says:

      Good points, thanks for sharing! They definitely don’t want to lose their vouchers once they are finally in the system.


    • Ted whiley says:

      At, landlords can list their section 8 properties for free. I put one up there a year ago and found a quality section 8 tenant.

      Tenants can also use this open resource to find a section 8 landlord in their area. They also explain how the section 8 program works, you just have to find good tenants and screen them.

  3. Henry B. Torn says:

    Excellent article Jim. You hit the ‘nail’ with the pros and cons of Section 8 tenant investing. IMO, the added layer of red tape is the ‘Price of Poker’ you pay for any additional rent you collect vs. market rent. Investors must also consider the quality of tenant based on the percentage they pay. No skin in the game is in and of itself a higher risk vs. 20% to 30% of their income which presumably will give the tenant more of a vested interest in maintaining the property and not trashing it.

    Keep in mind as well that you the investor might not receive your first rental checks from Sec. 8 for 3 or 4 months. Happy Investing!

    • Jim Ingersoll says:


      The speed to start section 8 is one of my frustrating points and everyone needs to be aware that the bureaucracy involved with getting set up can take a some time… good point.


      • Cassaundra. W says:

        After section 8 gets past the initial part, where the rent payment take forever to come, then, start coming, do the payments tend to start coming on time every month after that?

        • Marcella O. says:

          Yes, usually I have to wait one month before the payments come regularly. Section 8 tenants are like any one else. You have to screen them just like anyone else. I have tenants who are not section 8 & that tend to pay late often. The section 8 tenants who rent from me are long time tenants. The section 8 waiting list here is frozen. They are not excepting anymore. Places are hard to find so they know that if they don’t follow the rules it would be very hard to find housing that accepts section 8.

  4. Jeff M says:

    I agree with all of your comments in the article above. I have been a landlord of low income properties for a little over 10 years. I have rented to Section 8 tenants and I have rented to ‘private” tenants. I prefer a Section 8 tenant for one main reason… in our area, the tenant is held responsible to uphold their end of the lease. If the tenant fails to pay their share of the rent, or, if the tenant causes damage to the property, etc. the tenant is thrown off the program (once you get a court judgment against the tenant and give a copy to the Housing Authority) and can no longer get subsidized housing. To me, that is a HUGE HAMMER over the heads of the tenants. Dealing in the low income end of the market, if a “private” tenant fails to pay the rent, or does damage to the property, I can go to court and get a judgment, but I have little to no chance of ever collecting on that judgment. In other words, there is no real hammer over the head of a private tenant. As far as tenant quality is concerned, I have 10 single family homes and have had good and bad experiences, although most of them have been good experiences. I have had 2 tenants over ten years (out of a pool of around 25) that have been dirty. They were dirty when they lived there, and left the place dirty when they left. In both of these cases, the security deposit was enough to cover the costs of cleaning the properties. One was a Section 8 tenant and one was a private tenant. I do screen by running a credit/criminal background/eviction check, but, I believe the MOST important screening is when I “drop in” to the prospective tenants current home only giving them a 30 minute or so “heads up”. I usually use the excuse that I need to have them sign a form. When I get to the house, I explain that I need to do a quick inspection of where they are living. If the tenant will not let me do that, I reject the tenant. Otherwise, I look around and see the care and cleanliness of their current property. The two dirty tenants I referred to above lived with their parents before they rented my houses, so I couldn’t really make a judgment about the tenant’s cleanliness and care. In the future, I will not make that mistake again.

    • Jim Ingersoll says:

      Thanks for sharing your screening secrets to finding great tenants and congrats on your accomplishments managing property!


    • Cassaundra. W says:

      Hello Jeff,
      Congrats also on the way you have handled your properties and the way you sreen. I try to get all the helpful hints I can before I start with managing of certain investments. Question: Do I need to have written in my paper work somewhere that I actually do that as a prescreening incase they end up saying something about it, or incase something happens while I am in their home? Thank you!

    • Russ Bayley says:

      Thank you for spelling it out fairly, Im sorry to say that I am on the program with my wife and two kids. I dont longe about or wreck the property as we are so often accused of. I pay my bills and my portion of the rent is paid before noon on the first every month. I’m trying so hard to not be the stereotype that we are unforunately branded with. This is our first year on the program so we have to do the one year lease before we can move which is fine. Our issue is in fact just the opposite than what is usually discussed. We moved in here off of the streets after a year of hell, my kids went to school but life was hard. We had each other and some food and such but i wouldnt recommend it to any one. Any way we moved in here and while the process was going on,(yes its slow) i paid my landlord the “approx” amount plus utilities. She demanded cash and kept promising me reciepts. Our portion was 194 and she started demanding 269. I had tried getting ahold of my worker but that was slow too. I asked her for recipts numerous times over the eight months or so and she always pushed me off and if I got grouchy about it she would mention how she could just as easily put us back on the streets,(she’s a paralegal as well). She kept assuring me that she knew how to work the system and would do so to hurt us. So finally I get fed up and start paying the EXACT amount with money orders and she went nuts. She’s started harassing us accusing our worker of not doing her job and for the last two months she has sent our money order back saying how she has an “unlawful detainer” against us. We went to the courts and obtained a copy of it that she hasen’t even filed the proof of service with them so no case. My wife is disabled so she should have filed a ninty day by law and she didn’t even serve a thirty day,(and shes a paralegal). Our workr had contacted her about siging a paper so we could move and she refused saying that “our staying here is malicious” on the UD! She did an inspection that i videoed and then turned around and wrote a letter to HUD saying things that weren’t true such as “the smoke detector and CO2 detectors were dissasembled and removed” when in the video your can clearly see it over her shoulder, I’ve tried reporting it to fraud but they actually told me that since it wasn’t especially a high dollar amount the DA wouldn’t even consider it. This woman is breaking the law, law all you other GOOD landlords respect while treating us human. It hard enough to find work and care for a family one of who is disabled, my daughter too but its not official yet, and find a section 8 place that isn’t in a trashy part of town. I have vidoe, e-mails and such and she still keeps this up. We dont even get the garage thats attached to this place yet the other two tenants get it? Whats going on? I’m not racist at all having mixed blood children,(with the same girl i married twenty years ago) but I have to wonder because she’s from peru and our neighbors are Hispanic but not me in white,(scotch irish decent). We DO get held responsible for our behavior thats one of the driving forces to actually behave in the same way we did when we weren’t on the program and were solvent. Our neighbors love us, we’re quit respectful and help them if they need it with small things its just how we are. Its good to know that all section 8 landlords aren’t like this. I’m just looking for a chance to get our lives back on track, statistically it takes at least two years but I dont want to wait. Thank you for your time

      • Dee Sandman says:

        I truly know how this man feels. I live on section 8 in Tampa Florida and a lease stating that I am responsible for {repairs} to my unit even though it was prrevious damage. My case worker just says for me to put it in writing and send it to her. I am low income and barely make it by month to month. And could not repair all the damages made by the previous tenants. The law seems to to back slumlords and I could just end up being evicted instead of having my unit fixed to prper conditions. My a/c unit needs repairs and is on a half slab of concrete. I have propted it up with brricks and it needs full service yet I was denied after a a/c company came out for a inspection. My landlord sent me the bill. Reality hit home when after I re=read the lease we signed I found that I am to repair all cost to the unit. She is responsible for only lawn and garbage.I do not understand how a Goverment run program allows such landlords to be on the Section 8 program and get away with all the code violations that are visable daily plus force tenants to pay for all previous damage. The law seems to be on there side not ours and we are the victims. If I write a report to The Housing Authority I could be evicted and or lose my voucher which I desparately need. This is a no win situation except for the landlord. The Tampa Housing Authority gave me a packet which clearly states that the will back me and help me with any probklems. Yet after reasearch I find that the landlord has all the rights not me.Why does our Goverment allow this treatment of the people there suppose to protect from slumlords. So I will pay my portion of rents and fulfill my one year lease with this landlord. If something breaks I pay for it. Including all broken appliances that were here in qwhen I moved in. Im upset and angry that this goes on daily in many parts of tampa and The Housing Authority allows slumlords on there program with out penalty except for all Section 8 tenants. I have no idea how the Housing Authority inspector missed all these problems. Except that the property owner was present and either said she would make the repairs which she did not and had the inspector sign off on a day after we were told to sign the lease. My unit was inspected on the 18th of May yet the inspecter put the 19th.Nothing was done to our unit as promised and we live in these conditions with the threat of eviction by the landlord if we complain. My husband is a Disableled veteran yet she left him with un-even carpets and carpet that was coming up on the staircase. I nailed it down myself in fear that he would fall. The upstairs toilet smells like a urinal as the toilet leaks and the flooring under the tile remains damp from urine from the previous owner. My floors were covered with 15 year old dirt and paint from the half paint touch up she allowed in the unit. I could go on and on but since the laws protect her and not the renter I just feel defeated. I will write The Housing Authority but only to say that since she has all the rights and I could lose my lease get evicted and lose my voucher. that I can only hope at the end of my lease she does not make me pay for all the current repairs thats needed from the previous renter. Section 8 seems to allow slumlords on there program and we are to feel gratiful to be treated less then human. We are THOSE people..Free Riders off goverment programs Not people that truly need help. We are elderly so it doesn’t look like we have much to look forward to of whats left of our lives. Everybody should take notes as this to could happen to you

  5. Richard Sunday says:

    One of my biggest problems with section 8 is that the agency does not hold applicants resopnsible for their behavior.
    When a tennant breaks something-its the landlords problem and they wont approve a new rental term unless its fixed. y
    When a tenant leaves the property in a shambles with a major cleaning bill, damaged premesis, junk all over the place-its the landlords problem-AND-the tennant has already found a new apartment in which to do the same thing!
    When a tenant acts irresopnsibly, disturbing other tennants, degrading the complex, costing me the loss of good tenants-it is very difficult to get them to change their ways or to remove them from the premesis.
    Finally, it seems as though the tennants know more about ways to get a free lunch than the average landlord. They have lots of free time to strategize while I am repairing their former apartment!
    I understand the need for this program and have had some excellent section 8 tennants who respected the property and were thankful for the government assistance-but they seem to be in the minority in South Florida.
    Why wont section 8 emake the program more user friendly for the landlords and the good recipients who really need the help?

    • Jim Ingersoll says:


      Good point on the tenants knowing how to get a free lunch, definitely be aware that most of them know the system inside and out and making repairs can be a pain.


      • Cassaundra. W says:

        Hello Jim,
        Are we able as landlords to have a stipulation in our lease even with section 8, that if the tenant destroys something after we have passed our inspection and have pictures of the good condition of how the propery was prior to the tenant moving in, that the tenant, or section 8 be responsible for us getting reinbursed for the cost of the damages? Thank you!

      • Russ Bayley says:

        Thats sad because you’re right there are much more bad abusive tenants wanting a free ride than not. It makes it hard for those of us to get back on our feet. “free lunch” thats kinda harsh, I look for work constantly and care for a sick wife. I’m grateful for the help I get from ANYONE and do my best to reciprocate as well as NEVER ask for more than we need. If i could make someone hire me or even somehow get an inverstor to help open my own business I would. All I can do is keep trying and keeping my familiy safe. I didn’t complain when I was working two jobs and doing special effects on the side that my taxes were “helping” someone. No never in all the twentiy years in my career as a meat cutter did i begrudge the money. Any one I have ever rented from, and since this is the first time I’m getting section 8 I have been PAYING MY WAY, albiet with help a times, I have offered to do things to help them at anytime, small repairs etc. So even as a lowly poor person I’m trying my best. The system IS slow I’ve had to talk to my workers bosses boss to get results at times, its geared to make us fail. I’m just one of those dregs who isn’t afraid to speak out, see one thing that i’ve found out and it is pretty sick and degrading is that the paler you are the harder you have to fight for benifits and respect. They all seem to think I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth or my parents are filthy rich, niether of which is true. So now I have to suck it up for a few years and listen to the accusations and stereotypes. The agencys ae overworked but alot of the staff in them is cold and uncareing as well, remember im down here in the trenches dealing with them. They are rude and really dont even seem to want to be at work,( I’ve offered to work for these agencies and even filled out the paperwork but since i dont speak spanish i’m passed over). Be specific when you bash us please, or somebody post some tips on spotting the “bad” ones because all the negative comments do is make it hard for those of us really trying. I walk in to a place to rent and everything goes fine untill I ask if they take section 8, you can literally feel the atmosphere change as you are told no and you realize its time to go. It hurts so please remember that we are human too just like you.

  6. Please don’t generalize. Unless you’ve worked with the hundreds of agencies nationwide who administer the Section 8 program, you can’t assume that they’re all ” always under-staffed and over-worked. They are not able to provide the level of service you’d expect. This results in a slow process of getting through the inspections, the contracts, tenants moving in, and waiting for your first check to arrive.”

    • Jeanne Ekhaml says:


      I must apologize that my editing of Jim’s article may have changed his sentiment. His original message was that he’d been told by Section 8 workers that “they are always under-staffed and way over-worked.” I’m sure readers realize Jim is speaking from his own first-hand experience with Section 8 and the slow process of getting through inspections, the contracts, tenants moving in, and waiting for your first check to arrive.

      Jeanne Ekhaml
      Creative Real Estate Online

  7. I’ve been looking at how to learn more about Sec 8 investing, and once attended a webinar on the matter. Is there anyone who can point or coach on how to get started, etc, what is needed? The information I got, is that you have to pay for the property upfront in full. I”m not sure if there other ways to go about it. If anyone can enlighten me on how to get started, it would greatly be appreciated. Thanks

    • Jim Ingersoll says:

      Hi Vinn

      Can you elaborate a little? Do you own a house or apartment that you want to rent to section 8?


      • Sorry late reply Jim. To clarify, I want to learn the proper way to analyze and get into the SEC.8 side of investing. Is there any link, or source where I can learn more about it? and no, I don’t own any properties yet. -Vinn

  8. J. Suzanne Topper says:

    Our Section 8 rental rents for less than the market rate. Less = about $100 per month less than market. Our tenants are nice people. They are a family of three with their single mother. She loves her home and family and is a good homemaker. Having the security of good landlord-tenant relations is worth $100 a month. We had to make a few repairs although not expensive. We would have had to do them anyway. The process is a little slower than usual but not by much. Be polite, pleasant and patience.

    • J. Suzanne Topper says:

      woops. Be polite, pleasant and PATIENT.

      • K.L.M says:

        Wow sounds like me actually. Not everyone on section 8 are dirty and some are actually good people. I’m glad you found a nice family. I think the problem is also you have to get a good interview with the potential section 8 tenant. I know for me I’m a single working mom who is back in school so I don’t want to be on section 8 forever. I’m very neat also. I make everyone (even my landlord take his shoes off upon entering). My dad has rentals and has gotten screwed by people who aren’t on section 8. They leave the house disgusting and it’s cost him thousands. I now interview everyone thoroughly for him , so I see things from an owners side and tenants side. He has one section 8 person. She has been late with her portion once, but was responsible and told my dad her situation. I usually give her a day or 2 notice when I come and her house is neat. Maybe she only cleans when I come not really sure, but as long as everything looks neat when I’m there I’m fine. It’s hard not to judge people I get it. I judge my landlord when he doesn’t do his job and my rent is never late and my portion is sometimes paid a month in advance. And I only call him when it’s absolutely necessary like when I had no heat. So I totally agree with you when you say be polite, pleasant, and patient!

    • Russ Bayley says:

      Thank you so much Miss Topper its too bad there isn’t some way good tenants could get hooked up with good landlords. All my wife and I want Is a place to live and finish raising our kids with no drama. I even enjoy doing small maintenance on the property since I live there and care as well. Its so hard here in los angeles to find anything good unless you want to live deep in the hood. I just wanted to say thank you for the kind words and a voice among the landlords. My wife and I are moving out of Los Angeles soon with our kids so hopefully we’ll find someone as kind as you.

  9. I’ve rented to Sec 8 tenants for nearly 15 years. In the beginning it was great. I got higher than market rent and had the feeling that Sec 8 personnel were appreciative of landlords. That all change about 6 years ago. Now I get lower than market rent–after all the extra costs–and Sec personnel seems to side with the tenants.

    Also, Sec 8 personnel now turnover at such a high rate that it is not uncommon to have two case workers in one year for one tenant. One case worker was so overwhelmed, he was tossing out paper work and telling his supervisor that with I or the tenant never sent it in.

    While he was a rogue case ( I hope), the general trend is very much against landlords. I had a tenant who moved without giving notice. She got a case worker to find her another property. I was not called for a reference or given a chance for a walk through. I only found out she was gone when the rent was not paid. And the tenant had cut of the heat and opened the windows during a week of 20 degree weather. I complained to the head of the local office, but she refused to do anything about it. In fact it took three weeks to even get a return call.

    I had 2 duplexes side by side and each building had one Sec 8 and one paying tenant. Over a four year period, the Sec 8 tenants cost me several thousand dollars more due to the annual inspections and subsequent demand for unnecessary repairs by Sec 8. The non Sec 8 tenants were nice people with good jobs who paid on time and were happy with the property. But the Sec 8 inspectors wanted their buddies–my Sec 8 tenants–to live nicer than their neighbors. They demanded new carpet (which looked fine to me) every other year and paint every year and many repairs that were not necessary. If I did not do the repairs, I did not get paid any rent. Complaints to the head person were ignored again.

    I am now down to a few Sec 8 tenants, and only because the properties are located in an area that was recently turned into a subsidized housing project (it was a good area before that). Now only Sec 8 people will live there.

    I recommend that you talk with landlords in your area before jumping into Sec 8. It can be great or it can be hell. I’ve experienced both.

    • Cassaundra. W says:

      Hello Jack,
      Sorry for the bad times you experiened! Question: 1. Did secton 8 reinburse you for the time that tentant was no longer there, that you were not aware of, if you don’t mine me asking. 2. Is there a certain lenght of time that we as landlords have to give notice to section 8 that we no longer want the tenant, or to renew a contract with section 8 for that particular tenant? I think if they (the tenant, or section 8) had so many requirements that always caused what I thought to be unnecessary, I would probably either work toward replacing them when the contract is almost up, or if the convienience of getting the money every money is that good, I guess I would just prepare to have the money for the new carpet they are probably going to ask me for. This thought is coming from me, a person who has never done this, which is why I am asking. Thank you!

      • 1. Sec 8 reimburse money? Are you kidding? Not going to happen.

        2. You can only get out of your HAP at the end of the lease period. I typically give both tenant and case worker written notice 45 days, then 30 days, then 15 days prior to that. Things get “lost” you know.

        I have noticed that now most Sec 8 workers resemble (in behavior and speech) most of my Sec 8 tenants. So maybe they hire former Sec 8 tenants to be case workers. Bottom line, the whole systems now seems to exist to benefit tenants at the cost of landlords.

        I have to admit that most of the landlords in my area who will rent to Sec 8 are ruthless and have very low-end properties. By contrast the Sec 8 inspectors were always impressed with my properties, at least at first. Then during the next “annual” inspection–6 months late, the inspector decided I was an easy mark and needed to make it even nicer.

        If I could find a competent, trustworthy management c. (oxymoron) that kept me completely out of the process (except for cashing checks :-}), I’d be in it in a big way. But I would never tell anyone I owned those trashy properties and I’d carry huge liability insurance.

        You mileage may vary.

        • Russ Bayley says:

          WOW Jack, I’m sorry for your experience but why even bother if you hate it so much? I have a BIPOLAR daughter AND a DISABLED wife and still find time to work here and there and i AM A SECTION 8 TENANT! FYI section 8 does NOT help you look for a place NOR do they side with the tenants “every time” they follow THE LAW. You even state in your post that your section 8 tenants would be living in “TRASHY PROPERTIES” wow again. So even though the black community has been raising cain about racism and being different here you are saying we aren’t good enough for nice things? I maintain my household, I’m NOT trashy at all, I PAY MY BILLS ONTIME! Maybe your right, you should get trustworthy management, they would probably trat YOUR tenants a little more respectful. Here you blame HUD for your issues when by your own writing it’s clear you have something against those of us who are trying to get back on our feet. Section 8 requires you to be ON YOUR TOES and keep at them in order to get ANYTHING. Its the system NOT the tenants all the time. I have had many phone and face conversations with my workers boss in order to get things done. Please stop this bashing of us, if you dont like the program stop useing it. As long as you follow the laws and dont try to make your tenants live in the bare minimum or even cheap settings you should be fine, screen them. Me personally I ALWAYS pass my background checks. All your doing by your trash talk is makeing it harder for good people to get back on thier feet.

          • roger jones says:

            Well what about people who have criminal backgrounds? Should they too be treated like trash and no be given a chance to as you so bluntly put it “GET BACK ON THEIR FEET”?

          • To respond to roger he is just trying to say that just because your’e on section 8 doesn’t mean you have a criminal background . I read the whole thing regarding what he said and he never said that people with criminal backgrounds should be treated like trash.

          • Marcella O. says:

            NO ONE should be treated like trash! Most of my tenants are on section 8. I respect them & treat them as I would anyone else after all they are helping me to pay for my houses ( as well the section 8 program). If they call me for a repair I am right on it. My tenants have told me that I am one of the best landlords that they have ever had. Don’t get me wrong. I have had my share of ‘bad apples but for the most part my tenants are good people.

  10. Derrick Broughton says:

    I live in Atlanta and would like to here from owners in my market.

  11. Jim Ingersoll says:


    Thanks for sharing your perspectives. Some investors do love it and others do not like it. Personally, I like having a small mix of them so that a chunk of rents are on-time without thinking about it. I don’t need to worry about tenants losing jobs, etc. The section 8 tenants I currently have are all very good and I have some that are multiple year tenants without any problems…. Same is true for non-section 8 tenants.

    I like having some of them but would not want my entire rental portfolio full of section 8 either.

    Keep sharing your stories and insights to your experiences.


  12. One important point is that Section 8 is a NATIONAL program… but it is administered at the LOCAL level. That means that the local housing office is KEY as to how the program will work for you. I have had Section 8 rentals in 2 adjoining cities. One was a joy- the other was a disaster (the HUD supervisor- a FEDERAL employee- had to actually intervene as the local workers were WAY over-stepping the bounds of their authority.

    • Jim Ingersoll says:


      That is a great point. Even in the same city, different agencies operate differently when administering the program. For instance, here in Richmond we have Richmond Redevelopment and Independent Living. One is super easy to work with and one is more challenging.


    • marilyn 13 says:

      i agree ,That is a great point. Even in the same city, different agencies operate differently when administering the program.L employee- had to actually intervene as the local workers were WAY over-stepping the bounds of their authority i have a inspector that always pass inspection for section 8 tenants,and always keep the apartment in good condition ,,know he have giving me a hart time about a wall that had been Spackle,,way before i had bye my home and know is s issue,when that was never a problem with other tenant before is not broken or no bubble i had call the director she docent return my calls or letter ,the tenant that leave there had broken all the rules and regulation of section 8 had damage the apt 2 times ,party ,company all different time of night late ,music very loud cursing at me and threaten my family they don’t take her out it look like she have a connection there in section 8 , i had to replace a new stove ,my wall in my kitchen came down from her heater up second floor .she had hit all the heater on the same spot ,i had spend a lot of money even doe is not my fold to keep up and section 8 don’t care to see about this tenant doing aim disable person and my experience with section 8 hud in Paterson is the worth tenant ever they had one time a criminal that came out of jail it was a night mare,,they said the check background,,i don’t thing they do,,and the inspector is a arrogant ass if he don’t, like you he be sure to make you life miserable, after all this experience i don’t think i ever rent to section 8 ,,this program thing they own you house and they don’t give you respect as a person and owner you help them and that what you get ,,that why in 2007 they had arrested all employee for doing illegal stuff and know they sure need to be investigated again
      you go to the office and they don’t want to talk to you or heard complaint they the employee of section 8 in Paterson n,j were the office is located ,they scream at you like you in the ghetto and is them the way the act i think they should have new stuff staring with the director ,,she is the other one who don’t do anything ,,they all there have abused of power and don’t know how to deal with owner or tenants

    • Russ Bayley says:

      True too true, when went first started on this program it was before we moved from our last place. They told us that since we were presently living in a place we weren’t eligible,(even when we showed them the notice). So me my wife and two kids ended up living on the streets. We pushed hard for the process the whole time, At one point my worker asked for a mailing address and I told him we were living on the streets and didn’t HAVE one he said we needed one in order to be eligable to continue.(?) As soon as we used my sister in laws address, We didnt live there shes not that nice, they sent me a letter saying how since we lived in torrance we didn’t need section 8 and would be put back on the list. I sent all of the e-mails between me and my worker to his bosses boss that detailed the conversations we had and within two days we had our voucher. My next worker is a wonderful caring woman who is a pleasure to deal with, she’s helping us to move since my present landlord has been extorting us for extra money. So there are good and bad workers, the key is to go to the top untill you get what you need, landlords AND tenants. Be careful of the inspectors as well some are corrupt.

      • Nikki says:

        I thank you for your story. You are so right!! I am going though with a Landlord who as not fixed a leek in months. They left a hole open and wet nasty toilet paper came down and felt on my sink. Yes I feel that not all tenants are bad, but the bad ones make it hard for the good ones. I have lived in five different States and up north are the worst ones. I have went to go look at apartments because hey make sure you can’t afford a single family house_ vouchers not enough. They don’t clean the apartments from tenant to tenant. I just finish a two year college degree and I went back to school for nursing. I am waiting on someone to give my a chance to work in my degree of no experience so I can buy my I house. The section 8 program is not as easy as it seems. Their are lots of corrupt people in this business just for the money they get every month, you just have to take a chance. All in all I guess all tenants are not bad because I have read some of these stories and I am glad you guys found or got a place.

  13. wondering if there is grants available out there for building sec 8 housing.Thanks in advance

    • Jim Ingersoll says:


      Not that I am aware of. Good thought and let me know if you find any.


  14. Barry says:

    Are there tax advantages to section 8 housing?

    • Jim Ingersoll says:

      Hi Barry

      No tax advantages. The main advantage is having assurance that your rent will be received on the 1st every month


  15. Hello to all.I have had great success with section 8.I do screenings,references,and the whole nine yards.I figured out if we landlords help the low income families on the program .Simple things like OIL-BASED PAINT.They could keep the walls cleaner.Harwood floors instead of carpet ,would be easier for them to clean then carpets.So I just thought I would give alittle food for thought.Best of all you learn from your experiences.I wish all of you the best of luck with your property’s .

  16. Julio A. Shea says:

    After an agoninzing two years with section 8 tenants, I finally got rid of it and have had much better results in the quality of tenants, by advertising and screening them on my own.

  17. Sasha Chakovski says:

    It’s so nice to finally read some positive comments regarding Section 8. I’m a Section 8 tenant due to my disabilty and I’m always very frustrated at the way I’m treated by landlords who assume I’m some kind of “lowlife” just because I’m on Section 8. We are all lumped into one group and generalized as bad tenants who don’t take care of people’s property. I have amazing credit and great references and I know there are many others on Section 8 like me who get judged for the bad actions of others. Thanks for this article and thanks to all you landlords who give people with Section a chance! Hopefully more landlords will learn to be openminded. God bless 🙂

    • Russ Bayley says:

      Amen Sasha thank you we feel the same sick of being persecuted and treated worse than minorities

  18. Section 8 Renter says:

    I am on Section 8
    1) I’m VERY lucky I have a half decent landlord. Most other people I know on Section 8 have landlords that constantly do illegal things to the tenant.
    * Enter with their not there
    * Charge extra rent on top of the 30% (This is happening to me now)
    * Charge extra fees for pet deposit because they are Section 8 (My place pople have to pay double if your on section 8)
    * Refuse to let anyone come over ever

    Turn the tables and be fair – report what a TENANT goes through! I was lucky I found my place but I sent out over 100 emails and made dozens of calls before I had even 5 places that said they would take Section 8 in a half decent area. I’m now on a Section 8 waiting list for 5 other cities in good areas that I know I won’t be able to move into for 7 to 10 years. On top of that the tenant has to go through crazy paperwork and willingly sign over ALL rights to personal information for the Section 8 program to use as they want which includes media! I don’t want to be on this program! But I am literally fighting just to receive physical therapy so I can heal and eventually someday go back to work.

    There are at least two sides of a story. Consider at least two.

    • Wow, I’m a responsible Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher holder. I’m disabled, otherwise paying the rent wouldn’t be a problem. If my landlord pulled any of that stuff I would file suit. If I were not as knowledgeable I would pursue the same course in small claims court. Most areas a small claims case is around $50 to initiate. Maybe $10 to to serve the complaint.

    • Russ Bayley says:

      Yeah mine too our portion is 194 and she demands 269, (it makes up to the 1,500 that hud even refused to pay) I even called and reported fraud and they told me there wasn’t enough money involved to bother the DA with it! She’s harassing me like filing an unlawful detainer with out bothering to serve us notice and then she further goes on to just return our checks , the UD isn’t valid yet because she hasn’t filed a proof of service, and its been two months now. Meanwhile we are hoping to find a good landlord and are working with our worker to get out of here. I would like her to go down for this, she has twelve other HUD tenants, shes a paralegal so who knows how many court cases she screwed up. She has to be stopped but thats hard for us poor folk when it comes to legal matters. I have all the evidence and its frustrating because I need that final ingredient and cant get there. The agencies who are supposed to stop this aren’t doing anything, kinda makes it look like they ACCEPT this behavior. Im tryng to get my story out but dont know what channels to go through

      • There’s nothing she could of done but to psy your portion and if she didn’t accept it hold on to it like putting it in a seperate account then when she tried to take you to court for non payment yoiu can take your section 8 rent portion paper and let the Judge know you have al the rent and the situation what is going on. Make sure you have plenty of pictures printed out and any other legal documents to represent your case.

  19. Inspections from the govt i don’t view as a bad thing, but good. Slum lords won’t like it. I try to keep my properties in top shape and the inspector may catch something i miss or just hasn’t come to my attention yet. Also if it is something the tenants have done they make them fix it. Little things go a long way, for any tenant. Example … a tenant had dirtied the carpet and was told to clean it. When i enquired about it she said she had rented a steamer but it wouldn’t work. I stopped by and it just wasn’t connected properly. It was a small area so i connected it and cleaned it (single mom). I don’t make a habit of this but every once in a while a chance to do something minimal to help comes along and makes a big impression on the tenant.

  20. Hi all! i am looking to get into the section 8 housing investment side of things and was wondering what resources there are for finding section 8 approved properties for purchase? Thanks!

    • Lisa F/NC says:

      There is no section 8 approved homes to purchase that I am aware of but you can get a list of what needs to be done or have to pass Section 8 from your local Section 8 office. Then you can use the list to determine if it will pass or willing to do what is necessary to pass.

  21. Doing this the first time with 1 tenant. I really enjoy getting rent paid electronically each month. Though the tenant was a good/average tenant upon intial review. However as time passes the issue is the behavior. It ruins the quality of my property amd makes for more trips to find out whats going on..I don’t think I would do this again. Perhaps If I owned a property in a really bad low income area and I wanted guarenteed rent. Where I rent Sect 8 has got a very bad reputation. I am begginng to see why.

  22. rob polli says:

    I have a few section 8 rental properties . I have noticed that the tennants who work and have to pay a portion of the rent are somewhat responsible. I also have tennants who dont pay anything. the govt pays it all. and guess what . they trash the place and the home is filthy. go figure. my advise is to rent to someone who pays a portion of the rent because they want to somewhat keep the place nice being money is comeing out of there pocket.

    • kit kat says:

      I think that the section 8 tenants are not fair to landlords. They threaten to stop the monthly payment if you, the landlord, does not fix an item, no matter how small. Yet, they do not hold the tenants responsible for maintaining the property in the manner in which it was rented to them. I know of a few landlords who have had to spend thousands of $$$$$$ for repairs after a tenant moves out. One landlord I know spent $8,000. Another $4,000, And yet another, $3,000. All these properties were left in deplorable condition. There should be a move-out inspection by the Section 8 administrators, the same way they demand a move-in inspection, but they don’t!

      I recently called Section 8 to request they come view the state of the property after their tenant left. The told me to file a judgement against the tenant. They don’t really hold the tenants accountable and so the tenant is approved for another rental and so they move on to another property to continue the same way.

      Maybe someone needs to start a class-action suit against the Section 8.

      • I have had experience with 3 section 8 tenants and all 3 have been a disaster as far as keeping the property clean and damaging the property and appliances. My present section 8 tenant has gone through 3 sets of appliance in two years, and my local property manager is always fixing something at the house monthly, which cost me plenty. I am sure there must me some section 8 tenants that care for the property but I have not had that experience yet. I have, however, also had regular tenant I had to evict for non payment of rent. So it can happen both ways, however in general I truly believe if you spend the time and research all prospective tenants you can do better with a regular, non section 8 tenant. Unfortunately “good” section 8 tenants are not in the majority I have found.

  23. rob polli says:

    also if your going to let the govt pay your tennants rent I only advise cdc or section not rent to dss which is the dept of social services . if the tennant misses there dss appointments they stop the rent. section 8 and cdc rent is guranteed .if the tennant is there they still have to pay you no matter what.dss will not pay you and you are screwed

    • M.Johnson says:


      Please clarify-what dept is “CDC”.

      How can I get more info on CDC, Section 8 vs dss(Dept of Social Sevices).

      Thanks Rob.
      Mike J.

  24. As of June 2013 the sequester cuts are begining to hit the Section 8 voucher program hard. Waiting lists are closed and many are being tossed in the trash altogether as county agencies realize they will never be able to offer more vouchers, in fact, they are now in the position of reducing the number of vouchers they have already issued.

    Here in south Florida some counties are “expected” to cut their vouchers by as much as 8% just this year alone. Politicians are in no mood to expand entitlements and I believe the writing is on the wall for Section 8. What was great just a few years ago is slowing turning into a situation that could leave you high and dry. I would definately keep a diverse portfolio in my pocket, don’t go 100% section 8, the program could be shut down tomorrow and you are out on your butt.

    Being a government program, the rates paid by the government can change overnight and without notice, this is something to be very aware of. Renting at overmarket rates can be great when the going is good but if the government cuts the funding your stuck getting far less for your property and your stuck with a tenant who can’t pay market rate.

    I plan on slowly divesting myself of my Section 8 tenants before the roof falls in and I’m stuck with a bunch of renters who can’t pay the rent or afford to move and may take their frustrations out on my properties when faced with eviction. With the job market coming back here in south Florida I’m hoping to get back to 100% market rate regular renters. There is no guarantee in anything but getting the government out of my finacial picture seems like a good idea at this point

  25. Almost every potential section 8 tenant told me they would pay the difference between the rent I asked for and the rent allowed by section 8 office and can also sign a separate contract. I put my ad in craigslist. What will you guys do?

    • Russ Bayley says:

      You should know thats FRAUD and that by admitting it you could be liable for some trouble. There is a reason people are on section 8 and its not because they are finacially solvent. No what you are doing is getting a kick out of not only snubbing the FEDERAL govnt and STEALING FROM THEM, at 400 its a felony, but you are also extorting people who need help which is really sick. My landlord tried that and shes not very happy anymore. What would I do? Report you, refuse to pay you the extra and then when you started your harassment and illegal behavior I would sue you and try to put you in my shoes, let you see whats its like to need a place to live only to have some arrogant landlord who thinks he’s above the law hold a hammer above YOUR head for just having a place to live. You should be ashamed of yourself, its people like you and tenants who expect a hand out who are wrecking the program

  26. joseph alex says:

    im ex military and a x police officer injured in the line of duty i have lived in the suburbs nice neighborhoods using my section 8 vouchers. I have had terrible experiences ended up fixing things myself because landlords do not want to take care of theyre properties. one house the landlord was in foreclosure and still taking my money she never wanted to fix anything thank god i had friends who were plummers and electricians, but i still had to pay them out my pocket. the last two landlords were horrible one lost his house gambling and i had to move again,they all said i was a good tenant and i rarely seen them maybe once or twice a year because i always took care of theyre properties like it was my home. the last house had a major plumbing problem and the basement stunk every time it rained . theni called the gas company because i smelled gas the pipes were so old the gas company red tagged the stove and all the lines in the basement the landlord got mad at me and asked me why did i call the gas company i ended up calling a friend who was a certified plumber and had to pay $350.00 dollars out my pocket! section 8 abated the property and i had to move asap, now i see everyone refusing section 8 and its wron g because all people on section 8 are not bad tenants, i cant even find a place in a nice neighborhood because im labled before even given a chance. please excuse my spelling errors.

    • Maureen says:

      I am sad to hear your experiences, especially after your sacrifices on my behalf (and the greater American society). You deserve our utmost respect and care. I am a woman of a certain age, thinking of making my home a Section 8 rental, and admit some fear in the overall process, but reading your experiences makes me consider many things. If I could be assured of a tenant such as yourself I would feel much more at ease. I have read two posts from current Section 8 tenants, and know that we cannot overgeneralize as I am also considered, for my generation, a bit of an outsider. I am a teacher, a single mom, a person in recovery, and by God’s good grace a homeowner that would like to live closer to my only child. I am not yet in a position to sell the property, and having gone through nearly losing the property before a modification after the recent meltdown, totally understand the feeling of futility. Thank you for showing me the two sides, and I wish you much serenity, you have paid, and paid dearly and now deserve our care. May you be blessed, and thank you very sincerely for your service. We need to treat our service members (military and peace officers) with a level of respect and concern as they did for us.

    • April says:

      My mom had a car accident with a brain injury. She is on section 8 and used the help to become an Acupuncturist. She has been in a duplex for many years. She is a neat freak and the place is immaculate. She even got the landlord to pay for some pretty paint after seven years. Yes inspections came every year and there would be something here and there that had to be fixed. My mom gardens and waters the grass every day. I feel badly for her landlords because the plumbing went bad on the older home and it was a $5,000 fix with leaking pipes. This is not her fault and that was a few years ago. Do not invest in older homes. Opt for newer condos and town homes.
      To find a good tenant — if they are disabled make sure it is not for psych reasons! A neighbor was on many pills, had a crazy boyfriend drug addict, and the police were over several times. There were even helicopters hovering above the house. Another issue is invest in two bedroom units to limit all the children. Find the older tenants in their 40s and 50s who have calmed themselves down in life. Get tenants with good credit scores, who drive clean cars, and who have prior rental history. Do not take people living with friends or relatives, living in hotels, living with their girlfriend/boyfriends… Just wait a few extra months and don’t settle for the first voucher coming around. Ask the prior landlord how often they asked or demanded repairs, and verify that landlord owns the building. There are many phone reference scams. Another issue is current landlords want a tenant gone and will say anything to get that person out of their building and into yours. Also certain ethnicities tend to live in clans. If you rent to one, you rent to ten. This is not racist, it is just stating the facts.

  27. belene gutierrez says:

    i am a landlord in san jose, calif i just started into this program and i cant even get my checks going on 4 months, they owe me $4000, since june 16 2013 did all the paper work that was requried and past inspection everything and was approved, but still no check, i talk every dept, all i get are promises and lies. no one know there job and all supervisor are any better also never get a call back just fedup. dont know what else to do

  28. I have my first home with and upstairs appartment. A friend (single mom) and her two kids wanted to rent from us. They are on section 8. We agreed, got the paper work done and the rent checks came right away. They’ve been there for three years and we passed every inspection. We always get our money on time. It’s worked well for us, however, as a good landlord, I don’t appreciate being threatened by the section 8 people if some MINOR thing is not repaired.

    This past October (2013) after passing several previous inspections, i got a letter telling me that there was no romex connector on the garbage disposal under the kitchen sink, and that in one of the bedrooms there was a wall outlet without a face plate and these two things would need to be repaired or I would NOT receive my November rent money. Interestingly, the face plate was there when the tenants moved in… Anyway, I did as they asked and got those two things repaired on October 8. I called the section 8 inspector and told him the repairs were done and he said they would reinspect as soon as possible. I never gave it another thought, my bad… November 1 came and I received no rent payment. I called the inspector and he told me that he did not remember that conversation. I assured him that I most definitely did talk to him and told him the repairs were done early in October. He assured me that he would schedule a new inspection right away and assured me that if all passed I would have my rent payment by Nov 15. This would make me late on my mortgage payment as I don’t make enough money to pay all my utilites, modest cars, car insurance, home insurance, outrageous water/sewer bills ($150 EVEY MONTH) two children to feed and buy clothing for, and my wife has medical problems and cannot work. I make no extra money from this rent. It simply pays my mortgage and my job pays all my bills and there is no money left over…. So, here it is Nov 15 and this inspector has dropped the ball again. No inspection, no rent money. I am now late, for the first time, on my home mortgage thanks to them. I have called this inspector for the past week before today to make sure the inspection got scheduled and he has not answered my calls nor returned my calls. I’ve left messages, none of them threatening, only respectful and kind. I’ve explained my situation to him but he apparently doesn’t care… Not his problem. This morning I called his supervisor, another answering machine, left message begging for help.

    If They do not fix this and send me my november money, then I will never help section 8 people again. In fact, i’m seriously thinking of selling this home in this piece of crap town (Fitchburg, MA) and go back to renting. I had more rights as a renter. I don’t like my rent money being held hostage for minor things and these were minor things that I did in fact fix right away. I am a good landlord and take good care of things for my tenant. Where is the fairness in this? If I do continue with Section 8, I will make sure that anything they demand to be fixed, that I will notify them by phone and a dated letter, signed by the tenant that the repairs were done with the date and the time. Then I will call them every day and make them miserable until they get it scheduled. This really sucks as I have no recourse legally and since they have no proof that it was fixed in October they can now easily refuse to make the November payment.

  29. Felicia williams says:

    Why is it so hard for landlords to accept section 8. Not all tents are bad I been on the program for 4yrs and been forced to stay in bad areas. My houses been broke into two times. I stay in a home for only a year due to the area. Really tired of getting denied to live we’re I want to be. I am a older lady with older kids and I love keeping up with my home. Would just like to be giving a chance to prove not all section 8 tents are bad. Please let me no if there are some good landlords out there that has nice homes in quiet areas low crimes areas.

  30. Arvada Lanee says:

    I am on section 8, and in my experience, the landlords who will accept section 8 are often unethical. I have dealt with landlords raising the rent, making false claims, and using threats and scare tactics to get extra money from me, or keep my security deposit. Even now, my previous landlord is refusing to return a security deposit and also refusing to put anything about it in writing. She claims that if I won’t drop it, she will make false claims to my section 8 worker, as well as child protective services. She knows I have no money for a lawyer, and that it will come down to my word vs. her word. I feel I am looked down on for being on section 8, and I am afraid of her. She has even gone so far as to show up at my boyfriend’s work to make her threats through him because I informed her she can only contact me in writing. I have had to call the police on her several times, but when it comes to her false claims, there is little that can be done. Just like any other landlord\tenent relationship, section 8 has good people and bad people. It goes both ways. Both partys need to be ethical people for it to work well. I am learning a hard lesson now about checking into a landlord before you move in. I am still torn on what to do about my problem. I wish people (on both sides!) would have a little decency.

  31. janet hutchinson says:

    Good day. I want to share my experiences with section 8 because it was not good. My husband and I were new to this. We recently purchased our first home, a three family. My husband, two kids and I resided on the second and rented out the first floor to a section 8 tennant. We did not know anything about section 8 and did not do our homework. A caseworker from an agency came to us and we rented to her for her client. Well, two weeks after she moved in we started smelling weed. I started waking up in the morning with terrible headaches. One night we heard fighting and my husband went to the door. she slammed the door in his face and we called the police. they did nothing. A month later we missed over three thousand dollars worth of thing from the garage including my son’s brand new bike. We filed a police report, nothing. One day she rang my bell and told me there was a fire in her apartment. I called the fire department and when they came, they found out she was cooking crack or heroin, I dont know the difference. She ran away when the fire-men came and came back after they left. A friend told me to look her up and I was shocked what I found. She was recently released from prison for selling drugs. She was being treated for addiction and other things. The final straw came when her lover came one night and threatened her with a gun. I was home alone with the kids and I called the cops. They came and called the case worker. She came and they moved her out the following morning. She still owe me four months rents, her portion. My water bill came to over four thousand dollars while she was there. I found out later from her lover that when she was angry at us, she would leave the house and left all the faucets running. I cried so much, I had a nervous breakdown. When they came to move her out, we found out that another young lady was living in the apartmen and we didn’t even know. The cops asks us if we knew and we said we never had a clue. Yes, she sublet the apartment right under our nose. A week after she left, she came back and apologize to me for stealing the things from the garage, and then she asked me why we left the garage open. She told me, she steal toilet paper and paper towel from the basement closet too when we were out. She said her case-worker told her to come apologize. I was so scared, I refused to rent the third floor for one year. We struggled with the mortgage until We found a nice lady with two small children. its been going fine but she sometimes owes the rent. I guess its a small price to pay.

    • Russ Bayley says:

      Im sorry for that, on behalf of us good tenants please dont stereotype us. I’m a good tenant just looking for good LL. My family and i are quiet and dont make messes, we have cats that are trained and thats that. Its so hard because there should be a place to hook us up with good LL’s but there isn’t. At least you tried which is alot more than many do.

  32. joshua says:

    I am going to have to disagree with paragraph 2. The government is behind the asking rent for the private sector. Deals routinely die because “market analysis” comes back way under asking rents for landlords in some areas. Market analysis process of section 8 needs to be reevaluated.

  33. While I agree that in some areas it is very beneficial to rent to section 8 tenants, I also know that in some areas you want to avoid it at all costs… not due to the tenants but because of the people running section 8 in that area.

    This year I had a HORRIBLE experience with section 8 in Cincinnati.. it was the first time we had dealt with them since we moved here a few years ago. As a warning to others in our area, I would like to share this:

  34. I am in the process of obtaining a section 8 choice voucher tenant from the Broward County Section 8 program. I have a Real estate agent handling the process. I looked into the criminal background of this lady. and found out that when she was 21 years old, she was arrested and released on robbery.The real estate agent questioned her and she said she stole a key chain in an amusement park when she was 21 now she is 35 and works at a nursing home.My Home owners association is very strict and, they charge 100.00 non refundable application n fee per person. They also take 30 days to screen the tenant. Should I keep showing the property? with the non refundable fee and their waiting time.Also..can I have a signed agreement between the tenant and I describing the normal cleaning and maintenance in the condo? like changing the air conditioning air filter and dryer and vent cleaning?
    Thanks for any feedback.

  35. Jimmy Rijah says:

    As a landlord , at tax time do you receive a 1099 or other income form for reporting section 8 rental income on your federal income taxes? Do you have to pay taxes on Section 8 rental income

  36. Never again I will rent to section 8th, one had a criminal background, I was new and fall for it, he sounded so caring, had his girlfriend pregnant and assure me that he had being good for 2 years, that he only had a minor incident, they asked for an opportunity to renew their lives, I was naïve.
    Totally destroyed my condo, smoked and drink all day, he was arrested two more times while renting, never paid their portion, which increased a lot after they moved in. I ended selling the condo and loosing 40,000.00, could not make the repairs or deal with another tenant.
    Second tenant on other property, is a 62 year lady, smokes all day nonstop inside my unit, brought in roaches, drinks all day, I don’t get it why all these people get government help, our taxes are used to keep their habits, I am only getting 80% rent of what other properties are getting, she calls and txts me none stop for anything. I had to pay two license electricians because she said the lights were flickering, none of them found anything wrong, two inspectors from the city didn’t find anything wrong, so tired, can’t wait for her to leave, I will need to evict her because she ignored my 60 day notice, she can’t find a place that cheap. Section 8 personnel have being very good to me.

  37. My exp with S8 is bad. They are just lower class people and you have to balance the question of profits vrs your time and how much $ is it worth to deal with ongoing hassles with a-holes. You might get hundreds more rent while they are there and when they move out you WILL have thousands of $ in cleanup and repair. In theory you have this big hammer to enforce your collections. In practice, these people have no money so ANYTHING that happens in their life you will be the first to know. If they have a car repair or a medical or any irregular expense they do not come up with their part of the rent. For you to collect past due rent you have to, and you will with these guys, pursue the normal eviction process. S8 does nothing to help you there. I was flabbergasted to have a tenant destroy my apt and when I tried to get help via the housing dept they had nothing that they could do. They can only make the tenant pay all the rent, they have nothing to with damages. Tenant left me with $4000 damage and no forward address. This tenant is still in the program. Housing would not tell me tenant forward address, even though they know it. I tried to get the tenant thrown out of the program and couldn’t. People on S8 don’t respect the costs because it is not their money. If you are successful at throwing somebody out you will have somebody with no income in your apartment, so you are not so fast to try to get them thrown out.

    • This comment is full of wild generalizations. Section 8 tenants pay their own security deposits, so they have just as much incentive to leave a rental in good shape as anyone else. Actually, they have more incentive — a deposit is a huge sum of money to people on this program, so they will do whatever it takes to raise the chances of getting a refund when they leave. The behavior you’ve described blatantly violates the terms of a Section 8 voucher, which the Housing Authority takes very seriously. Failing to pay rent and “trashing” a rental property will get a tenant permanently kicked off the program, so there must be extenuating circumstances here that you haven’t mentioned or don’t know. The program has a very long waiting list, so they don’t coddle and defend bad apples. Most tenants are well aware of this, and understand that being on Section 8 is a privilege. They would never do something to jeopardize it.

      • Russ Bayley says:

        Thank you Jason amen, sometimes I feel like im being persecuted, almost racist to us poor folk.

  38. I need help guys I’m lost and stressed its time to get my voucher and I can’t I’m held up because I had to wait to clear some based on income apartments any advice for me ?

  39. chiclet says:

    Shame on you people. I am a veteran, with section 8. I am not a low class individual, and I have a great job, and so does my husband. We have three kids, one going off to college. Shame on all of you for even considering that section 8 is for “low class” people. In my opinion, you need an attitude adjustment, and you also need to learn about the program. There is an extensive background check done on all applicants for section 8. Some people in this life need a little help now and then, especially in this economy. One day, it could be YOU.

    • steve wants to know says:

      What! You and your husband work and still live on section 8. I being a Veteran myself can not work because of medical disability. The only help I qualify for is SSI disability. no food subsidy no rental subsidy. no utility subsidy. Now the question to you is why are you living off the government when you truly don’t need to ?

    • steve wants to know says:

      What? According to you, quote, me and my husband work and he has a good job. Why are you living in section 8 housing . I myself am a Veteran and can not work due to disabilty. Don’t receive any help other than SSI disabillty, No food stamps, utility help , The only thing I receive is VA medical assistance which I pay for.

  40. Phyllis in Ohio says:

    I am a middle-aged woman on Social Security Disability. I am new to Section 8, and finally got my voucher after four years. I am very clean, quiet, and respectful of other tenants, and I have never been one to damage someone’s property. When I moved out, I always left the property spotlessly clean and in good condition. No need to even clean the carpet, unless the landlord wants to as a routine. I am afraid to move into a Section 8 property because of the bad reputation the majority of Section 8 tenants have given the program, but don’t have much choice due to my low income. I will never understand why a person being given the gift of almost free rent would want to turn around and destroy a property! They don’t seem to understand what goes around, comes around. Sooner or later, the landlord has to raise the rent, or a good tenant like myself can’t find a decent place to live.

  41. Elizabeth says:

    Same old cliches and prejudices. Landlords and investors have it easy, they can choose who they want to exploit. Either way the money goes to them. It is the INVESTORS who are the beneficiearies of Section 8 money not the tenants! Stop this crap! Inspectors only demand that there are four walls and a fire extinguisher, basically. It is the landlords who don’t take care of the property not the tenants. I am on Section 8 and I can guaranteed you my place is cleaner than anyone reading this reactionary “blog”

    Why is the internet full of so much landlord friendly BS?

    • I am the landlord, the inspection for Houston , Tx , it is not just 4 walls , your receptacle in the kitchen and some area in the house must be on a GFI, if your house built before 1985 , you must convert to meet with the code, I live in the house before and rent it out later to regular tenant and did not have to do that. The electric code can cause you money, also I have burglar bars around the house so you have to provide the key to each of the lock, smoke detector required. The market for my 3 bedroom rental is $1295 but the section 8 only give $1010 for it, even if the tenant agree to paid the difference behind the whole thing , some tenant will change and report you as raising the rent and on the contrac with the program its stated that is illegal to charge higher than it agreed so. I sign the contract with a section 8 tenant and have to provided details paper works and wait around 14 days for inspection, and failed, it’s normal to fail the first time , wait for second time around 5 more days and pass so the whole waiting time you do not get paid. The funny things it after all that crazy work I done the tenant did not have the deposit as promised and bc its my first time to accepted the section 8 voucher I just realized you have to wait up to 60 days after the tenant move in before you could received the voucher payment. That’s the reason why most of the landlord did not want section 8 voucher bc it’s did not benefit the landlord or the investor. I do agree with one of the comment that the cities must check on the current rental market to ensure fair payment to the landlord. Some section 8 are good and some are bad, my brother rent out to one section 8 and she stay for over 10 years but she did make lots of call for little things to be fix, she was nice about it though. I did tried too , but it did not work out for me bc the tenant did not deliver the promise prior, on top of that after I refused to the tenant moved in , she lets someone else call me and make rude remark that I have no heart and sympathy for single mom with kids who is trying so hard to get a decent place. So if you have old properties be prepare to make lots of changes that cause you money just to pass the inspection and if you have newer properties , do not think you will have fair market rental price bc the program design to make the rental price that they want. I run 3 properties ( for other ) and met the inspectors 6 time , they are very nice not rude at all, it’s the code that will get the landlords.

  42. Diane Disdier says:

    Yes I would like to know if it is legal for a landlord who is renting to a single tenant on Section 8 a two bedroom property that is renting the other room out to someone for higher than the rent? I live in a room where the whole area is Section 8 and being charge 400.00 for a room, plus electric when I am hardly there because I have a full time and not on the program. I heard from several people that it is illegal for her to do this and if it is who do I report it to? Could I sue the landlord for illegal renting in a Section 8 property? I know that the woman who rents the property does not work and receives money from a dead husband social security; she gets paid from the a government program. Could please provided the agency and phone number; also the address would be helpful.

    Thank you

  43. Nancy M says:

    I’ve read many of these responses and they are quite helpful. I have a question that is a bit off topic.
    I own the top unit condo that is located in a NJ shore resort area. The bottom unit is owned by another person. This person decided to rent to section 8 individuals that are unfortunately very dirty. There is trash everywhere and the steps and garage pass through is so stained that a power washer said that there was nothing more he could do.
    I rent to families during the summer season. I never get repeat clients due to the filth., noise and the number of shady people living below them. My realtor that I use always comes back to say that the client loved our unit but would not rent again due to the downstairs people.
    I’m losing rental income and the out side property is a mess.
    What recourse do I have? I’ve spoken to the other landlord and she ignores me.
    Thank you.

  44. Jim Ingersoll says:

    This is the most commented on blog article I have written & we appreciate everyones thoughts. I continue to rent to section 8 and have had nothing but good experiences with the tenants.

    Good points on the section 8 offices, they are very poorly run and that is a fact.



    I have had 2 section 8 renters. The first was great. She kept the house and yard clean and other than normal wear THERE WERE NO DAMAGES. Her requests were very reasonable ans any complaints were warranted.
    The second is not so good. The house and yard are dirty. There are holes in a couple of walls. THE BATHROOM DOOR IS OFF THE HINGES AND THERE IS A HOLE IN THE DOOR. A couple of switchplates are cracked. A box of tile left there for future repairs was destroyed. A 160 dollar 5 gallon bucket of paint purchased at the the tenants request was left outside to ruin. And last but not least I have had to remove hair weave, condoms, wash clothes, rubber bands, bandages and grease f4om the sewer lines 3 times in the past 7 months. THE LAST TIME AT A COST OF 190 DOLLARS. They are very rude and disrepectful and show no appreciation for the fact that I go over and beyond what is required to appease them. They complain to section 8 anytime I dont jump at their demands to repair damages caused by their misuse and negligence and have additional inspectionss done. It seems that the inspecters would notice the damages and filth but all they report is what I need to repair, never what the tenant has damaged or needs to clean.

  46. Sunkist says:

    2 questions for anyone who might know the answers:
    – How much does a tenant have to tolerate in order to have a place to live;
    – When property manager does not do his job, isn’t anyone responsible for the consequences?

    I didn’t have Section 8 when I moved in, but when owners sold the new owner said tenants who planned to stay had to get it. I’m employed, low-income.
    Apartment began to leak, and eventually flood. I immediately notified the new manager, continued to update him on the situation, for around 6 months he kept replying that someone would be over to check on the situation, but nobody ever showed up; the last 3+ months that he was in charge he never replied at all.
    So, for more than 9 months I continued to live in and pay rent for an apartment that no reasonable person would consider fit to be in- the moisture was so extreme that the place was full of mold, gnats, and maggots in the carpet. By the time a new management company took over and helped me move out, virtually everything I’d owned was destroyed. Yet when another management company took over, I was told ‘landlords aren’t responsible for tenants’ losses.’ As it was all due to property manager’s negligence and not responding to my requests for assistance, I don’t think this is true. Also, when I was finally able to locate contact info for the actual owner I sent him a detailed letter, but never heard back from him either.

    Does anyone have input or advice?

  47. Great Piece Of Information!

  48. Debra says:

    I have a question. Has any landlord/owner been written up for mold by an inspector.

  49. terry dubuc says:

    When i moved into my apartment. It had not been painted in the first place. The stove was not working the stairs were unsafe. my lenolium in the kicthen was torn the bathroom has mold in it. The door in the bathrrom is falling off pieces of wood from the broken fan in the bathroom. None of blinds were changed they were broken and dirty. the kitchen facet was not working. Some outlets did not work the floors were not cleaned or repaired the front door was broken. The list was endless. Some things have been fixed since then. Every month i wrote letters to section 8 made copies and sent them to the landlord asking every month for him to repair things. This is 8 months later of hard work on my behalf. My stove is still not working and last night the water broke in the kitchen I called again to the landlord I called section 8 to report this. The landlord said he couldnt come right now. Section 8 states he has 24 hours before i can write another letter to make a statement on this issue. I think there is two sides to these stories…I have overdone my part. is there a way through this issue for me. Who can i turn too? That’s my next question.

  50. Yesenia says:

    I am trying to help a friend who is on the verge of being approved for a housing voucher in San Bernardino County, California. She is disabled, but with character atypical to what you might expect for someone aid dependent and receiving housing assistance. She does not have any social vices. She is a non-smoker/drinker/drug user, and she doesn’t have pets. She is on-time with rent, meticulously clean, and takes pride in homemaking.

    Her initial eligibility review will take place in early June, 2016, and upon approval she is expecting to have a rent cap of approximately $1,100 and 60 days to locate suitable housing. This amount does not leave much room to seek a safe, clean, decent, quiet neighborhood which reflects her own personal standards. She is equally concerned about landlords who intend to raise the rent after the 2-year lease expires.

    I have been searching rentals online, including GoSection8 and more. It is an extreme challenge to find anything available in an area which suits her preference and meshes well with her simple, but educated lifestyle.

  51. Thelegalway says:

    How long before I get to do my certification to renew my voucher so I can put in my request to move

  52. But it is crucial that you apply to the loan having an improved credit rating, when it moved recorded on FICO-scale.
    Because payments are combined and distributed on the longer period
    of time, monthly obligations are reduced, freeing up income for the younger generation who’re just beginning their careers.
    Your monthly budget is certain to get drained fast reason why some additional
    Christmas money comes into play helpful.

  53. Danny adams says:

    What a joke I manage over a 1000 section 8 units and unless they can make 1.5 times the rent I don’t move them in. Depending on what you can get a month you better have a 24/7 available staff to tend to there needs because there yearly inspection amounts to turning the unit. Second if the teen at and there boyfriend decide they need to let off some steam from sleeping all day and break everything in the apartment all they do is call in a complaint inspection and you have 30 days to bring it back to new or they get 3 months free rent and a new voucher. This program is a joke let’s allow the to work off there rent then maybe this will stop being a career decision and a hand U.K.

  54. No Nonsense Landlord says:

    If you can find a Section 8 tenant with a 650+ credit score, which is an average credit score for a renter, they may be good.

    You must understand why many people do not rent to Section 8 tenants. There is a higher maintenance rate, and often a total remodel between tenants. Plan on a repaint of the interior, a complete carpet job, maybe replacing doors, and a window or two. The refrigerator will have all the door shelves broken. The oven and stove will not be cleaned.

    You will always struggle to get the renters portion of the rent. A boyfriend will move in the first week.

    If you can stick to a 650 credit score and still get a section 8 occupant that qualifies, good luck. There is a reason why experienced landlord avoid Section 8 tenants. Too much expense and drama.

  55. hazelprimo says:

    Section 8 whither rent .They were suppose to inform us of when they were going to come to do the inspection instead they told the tenants but not the landlord. Section 8 owe us for 5 months rent because of the inspection.A few things need fixing,but we were not notify. The tenants only live there one year and we are already having problems .When and how are we going to get our 5 months rent

  56. Karen says:

    I have a three family home with 2 section 8 tenants. They take good care of the property. The last inspection showed damage to a front hallway that was my responsibility to fix but also damage the tenant did to a bathroom wall and they expected her to repair it. Why wouldn’t I want to keep my investment in good condition?

    My issue is I can’t discriminate against a prospective tenant just because they are on Section 8 but an insurance company can refuse to insure my building for the same reason? They said I had too many Section 8 tenants.

  57. Owner Finance OKC says:

    These are excellent points to keep in mind. Thanks for passing the knowledge

  58. OK Cash Home Buyers says:

    Great and comprehensive guide!

  59. Sooner House Buyers says:

    Thank you for sharing, really great post!


  1. […] "One of the reasons that some landlords don’t like Section 8 is the government regulation involved. They don’t want the government involved with their rental properties. The government puts regulation on all Section 8 properties. The regulation includes a safety inspection when the tenant moves in and ongoing inspections at least annually. After the inspection process, you’ll need to fix every item on their list before the tenant is approved for move-in. The inspection criteria is more stringent than most landlords expect, so the expense can be costly. Because Section 8 is a government subsidized housing program, you can expect the process to move very slowly. The Section 8 workers are always under-staffed and over-worked. They are not able to provide the level of service you’d expect. This results in a slow process of getting through the inspections, the contracts, tenants moving in, and waiting for your first check to arrive." Read more: Section 8 Rentals – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly […]

What do you think? We would love to hear your opinion.


Hide me
Let Us Help You Achieve Better Results. (IT's FREE!)
Name Email
Show me