Renting to Section 8 Voucher Tenants

Education & Training with, Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC
A common mistake landlords make is they wait until they and their property are approved by the local Section 8 authority before they advertise for Section 8 Voucher Tenants. As mentioned in the previous article, you should start to advertise your property to Section 8 Voucher Tenants the moment you decide to apply to the Section 8 program.

Finding Section 8 Tenants
Actually, you do not find them; they normally find you. Remember the phrase from the previous article? Insert "Will consider Section 8" to your advertisements, and you will receive calls. My phone constantly rings when I use that phrase is in advertisements.

Another strategy to find Section 8 Tenants is to add your property to the local Section 8 authority’s approved property list. Once your property is approved, you need to contact the local Section 8 authority and request to be added to the approved property list. Not all local Section 8 authorities automatically add you to the property list, so make sure your property is on it.

Typically, a home is only listed for a specific period of time; therefore, you need to ask your local Section 8 authority how long their listing period is for. If you do not rent your home in that time period, you can request to have your home relisted.

Evaluating Section 8 Tenant Applicants
A Section 8 applicant should be evaluated like every other applicant. There is one additional step, and that step is to verify the Section 8 voucher is valid. To do that, simply contact the agency the Section 8 applicant lists as the local Section 8 authority he/she is approved through.

Our local Section 8 authority does not evaluate and qualify voucher receipts based on rental criteria, so my company, as the property owner, is responsible for qualifying the tenant. Most local Section 8 authorities do not evaluate voucher recipients for rental qualifications, so it is imperative you conduct your due diligence as you would for any other applicant.

Remember, you cannot discriminate when renting your property, because it is wrong to do so and it is against the law! You must have the same rental criteria for a regular paying applicant and a Section 8 Voucher applicant.

If you have any questions about the Section 8 program, please feel free to contact me.
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Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

I like the phrase "qualify everyone the same". We make serious mistakes when we have different criteria for different people.

Jun 01, 2011 09:50 AM #1
Reba Haas
Team Reba of RE/MAX Metro Eastside - Bellevue, WA
Team Reba, CDPE

I have one of my own tenants that is Section 8 and she is fantastic.  My mom also rents to several section 8 people and she's had good experiences as well since she screens for all the same things as any other tenant. I think there are landlords out there losing out on some great people when they don't consider it as an option.

Jun 01, 2011 10:03 AM #2
Amy Bly
Great Impressions Home Staging/Interiors - Montville, NJ
Styling Homes for Selling and Staying

We also have a rental property, and I have been learning a lot about Section 8 tenants since joining an investment group and now here. Now I would consider renting to Section 8 tenants -- I didn't know the government guaranteed payments (my understanding?) at "regular" rental rates, correct? Thanks for this great info!

Jun 01, 2011 11:37 AM #3
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX

I love section 8 tenants. We have had our tenant for the last 6 years and didn't have any issue with any payments. The rates are market value in our area.

Jun 01, 2011 12:41 PM #4
Michele Myers
Prudential Homesale Services Group - Harrisburg, PA
Harrisburg/Hershey Realtor

I have had a few requests, but I have never rented to a Section 8 tenant out of fear for what could happen.  I just learned a few things from you folks.

Jun 01, 2011 01:53 PM #5
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


We do a ton of executive leasing, but have never had any Section 8 tenants.  I am happy you wrote about this.  Usually, their budgets for the section 8 have not covered the rent price and we have a competitive market, so my owners haven't been OK with taking the lower rent from section 8 or other tenants.  

All the best, Michelle

Jun 01, 2011 02:58 PM #6
Dawn Brenengen
Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty - Raleigh, NC
Sales and Management

I have a property I'm managing, that the owners are considering enrolling into the section 8 program.  I've heard some good things, but I've heard some bad things too.  I would love to hear more from people who have experience with this program!

Jun 01, 2011 03:19 PM #7
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Aaron, this is very interesting. We were considering advertising for Section 8 tenants last year but our property rented first. However, I did not know that you could advertise before you were approved. Great info!


Jun 01, 2011 03:26 PM #8
Aaron Silverman, Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC - Charleston, SC
Improving Real Estate Experience through Education

I avoided the Section 8 Program for years, because of the perception associated with them - low quality neighborhoods, bad tenants, poor quality homes, etc.  I have looked at 100's of properties over the years, and properties advertised as Section 8 properties seemed to be the exact ones I did not want to buy. 

A Section 8 applicant actually turned me onto the Section 8 Program.  She called and asked if I accepted Section 8 Vouchers.  I told her I never had a Section 8 Voucher tenant, but I would consider it.  She showed up, loved the home and told me she had a voucher for $800.  She has been a great tenant ever since. 

I have had good and bad Section 8 experiences, and I have had good and bad regular tenant experiences.  The key is tenant screening.  

I do not buy homes with the intent to rent to Section 8 Voucher tenants.  I buy and remodel homes based on renting a home for a set price.  If a Section 8 Voucher applicant can afford the home, then I accept Section 8.  I do not buy homes in low quality neighborhoods; rather, I buy in the B- and C+ type neighborhoods.

I thought this would be the last article on the Section 8 program, but based on the feedback, I will write one or two more :-)  Thanks for all of the feedback.  Next week's article will be on the Pro's and Con's of the Section 8 Program. 

Please feel free to email me directly if you have specific questions.


Jun 01, 2011 04:38 PM #9
Aaron Silverman, Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC - Charleston, SC
Improving Real Estate Experience through Education

Robert - completely agree.  There are two basic criteria we should use to rent a home - 1. Ability to pay rent.  2. Ability to maintain the property. 

Amy - as long as the tenant continues to meet the income and other requirements of the local Section 8 authority and your home passes the inspections, the government guarantees the voucher each month.  Also, if the tenant is paying some of the rent, because the Voucher does not cover all of it, the tenant will pay on time each month, because if the tenant does not pay he/she is at risk of being kicked out of the Section 8 program.

The local Section 8 authority will decide what the fair market rent is.  The home I mentioned in the above comment is slightly above the market rent of the neighborhood.  The local Section 8 authority approved it, because my home was kept is good repair which allows for a higher rental price.


Jun 01, 2011 04:48 PM #10
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

Aaron, I agree with you.  It usually takes me 2 months for a section 8 prospect to locate me and get qualified as a tenant.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing it.

Jun 01, 2011 05:15 PM #11
Bob & Leilani Souza
Souza Realty 916.408.5500 - Roseville, CA
Greater Sacramento Area Homes, Land & Investments

Aaron, thanks for your info on renting to Section 8 voucher tenants...I agree that it's all about the proper screening of the person rather than if they have a voucher or not. :)


Jun 01, 2011 05:26 PM #12
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


I recently explained the pros of Section 8 to a landlord. Wish I had seen your post earlier - could've just sent her here!

Jun 02, 2011 02:13 AM #13
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Well done post and information on Section 8. I have been doing this on and off for many years now. It is a good program and I reccomend it to anyone. Thank you Aaron

Jun 02, 2011 03:24 AM #14
Sarah, John Rummage
Benchmark Realty LLC, Nashville TN 615.516.5233 - Nashville, TN
Love Being Realtors® in the Nashville TN Area!

In a former life as a banker, there were several employees in my department who received Section 8 vouchers for rentals. 

Also, I have heard from a landlord that he loves the system. They send out inspectors, much like an FHA appraiser, to tell him the health and safety things to fix, and then come back when he has fixed them. The money comes into his account every month like clockwork.


Jun 02, 2011 08:20 AM #15
Roseville Rental Properties - Homes & Condos For Rent in Roseville / Placer County, California (916) 408-5500
Roseville Rental Properties - Roseville, CA
Property Management and Tenant Placement Services

What a great series, Aaron...I'm re-blogging this post, along with the other three posts about Section 8.

Jun 18, 2011 10:39 AM #16
Daniel H. Fisher (704) 617-3544 - Charlotte, NC
MCRP - Charlotte Real Estate, NC or SC

when managing rental properties, knowing how to market to and process tenants with Section 8 vouchers is critical.

Jun 25, 2011 01:53 PM #17
Jake Bodnar
Arizona Housing Experts - Phoenix, AZ

A mentor of mine who deals exclusively in Section 8 properties emphasized the same thing: qualify them like any other tenant and don't be afraid to hold out for more qualified applicants. He has never once had a tenant on a voucher EVER break a lease or leave a property beyond repair in his twenty years of doing this. Not to mention the chance you could to get above market rent in some cases because its on the governments tab. Also remember theres two different kinds of vouchers. A majority of them hold the ones that pay ALL the rent and expenses and will likely remain on Sec. 8 forever. Then theres the 50/50 voucher holders who only get part of their expenses paid, the majority whom are upwardly mobile tenants doing their best to get off the program. They could turn into future home owners down the road, and the Section 32 program can facilitate that if they're already on Section 8.

Apr 03, 2013 12:29 PM #18
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