The Section 8 Dilemma

By
Real Estate Agent with Realty Executives Premiere

Public Housing has many flaws and I have been contemplating what can be done to improve the situation. The Housing Department offers Section 8 vouchers to many people in need but the majority of landlords will not accept Section 8 vouchers. It is very difficult to find properties that accept Section 8. As a property manager and landlord, I have dealt with Section 8 many times. I am all for providing decent housing to people in need but I understand the problems landlords face. There are some people that have been on public housing for decades and they pass it down from generation to generation. I would like to see people become less dependent on aid and become more independent. It should be used as a stepping stone towards self sufficiency.

PROS

1. Government pays the rent on time every month.

2. If a tenant abuses the property, you can report it to the Housing Dept and the tenant will be banished from the program. But at that point the damage is done.

3. Tenants can be dismissed from the program for illegal activity.

CONS

1. Tenants often do not always keep property in good shape. Landlords believe that if a tenant is not paying the rent themselves, they have no incentive to take care of the property. Repairs can be very costly.

2. Housing Dept inspections require landlord to repair items in order to continue receiving payment. Sometimes it is items such as torn screens or burnt light bulbs. If the tenant continually tears screens the landlord has to keep replacing them. Shouldn't the burden be placed on the tenant?

3. Tenants often invite family and friends to come to the property to use the laundry facilities or wash their cars. It could put extra wear and tear on a property and create a loitering situation.

4. Tenants do not always recognized and report problems until they become really bad such as leaks. Nothing can be more damaging than water leaks if they go unreported.

So what can be done to help this program work? I believe training, education, and support can help people. There should be a training program to teach people how to care for a property, how to clean, do's and don'ts. Perhaps monthly or bi-monthly visits to check on things. Perhaps a larger security deposit to put the landlord more at ease or tax incentives. Child care to allow people to work. Training programs to help them get jobs. Incentives to become self sufficient.

I certainly don't have all the answers but I do know that this housing program is broken and it doesn't seem that anyone cares to fix it. Am I wrong?

Posted by

Diane Lynch

Realty Executives Premiere

Wheaton, IL

Comments (5)

Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

My late friend owned a number of Section 8 houses.   These are concrete block houses, they are "bare bones" in terms of features and amenities.  The neighborhood these houses are in looks like something out of the TV Show, "Cops".

But, my friend owned those houses Free and Clear.   So whatever damage was done, or whatever trouble occured, he still turned a good profit.  

He would tell me, "The Government puts those Section 8 checks right into my Bank Account.  My other properties - I have to collect Rent, serve Notices, file for Evictions... Section 8 is so much easier."

Jan 14, 2011 04:53 PM
Diane Lynch
Realty Executives Premiere - Warrenville, IL
Real Estate Broker

Fred, yes, it can be good income. Sounds like your friend had the right kind of property. Thanks for posting.

Jan 14, 2011 05:09 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I agree with you about the cons. In non section 8 leases we can write that tenant is responsible for a deductible amount for service calls .

Jan 14, 2011 11:33 PM
Diane Lynch
Realty Executives Premiere - Warrenville, IL
Real Estate Broker

Gita, you are correct. I believe the tenants should be responsible for repairs caused by their actions.

Jan 15, 2011 04:09 PM
Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459
Coldwell Banker - Oconomowoc, WI
Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD!

Diane Lynch

As an investor and commercial agent I look for section 8 properties, and my investors love them

Jan 02, 2015 11:17 PM