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Landlord, use the Section 8 or Plan 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program!

A landlord can use their local housing authority, which administers low income housing programs like Sec 8 or Plan Ocho, as a source for tenants. This is one of many channels available to landlords for placing a paying tenant into their single family home or apartment to establish a cash flowing asset.

Section 8 is a popular program among landlords because of the following reasons:

  • Tenant usually pays 30% of the rent and the U.S. Government pays the remaining percentage.
  • Another source of tenants for Property Managers or Landlords.
  • Usually but not always the U.S. Government pays more than the retail market.



  • The U.S. Government makes the tenant accountable for their actions.
  • Landlord still maintains control of the unit.
  • I highlighted a few advantages but there are many more.

Landlord, Learn to use Section Eight.

One of the more popular questions I receive from my clients is “How do I become a Section 8 Landlord?” That is a good question! I have done it so many times I created an item check list. I tried to make it generic as possible so it applies to all the housing authorities in the U.S. and territories but each Housing Authority administers the program differently.

Here goes:

  • Find the local housing authority and visit their offices.
    • Try to get a landlord package that explains the local procedures for becoming a Landlord.
  • Inform the Housing Authority that your property is available for the Section 8 Program.
    • There are three web sites that allow you to list your property for Section Eight.
    • Make sure you place “Section 8 Tenants Welcome” on all your “FOR RENT” propaganda, web sites and voice mail messages.
  • Screen your Section 8 tenant as you would any other tenant before allowing them access to the property.
    • The local Housing Authority does not screen the tenant for property compatibility. You must do you own due diligence by doing the following:
      1. Check if the local Housing Authority has anything on file about their rental history that they can share with the landlord or property manager.
      2. Check with Utility companies (water, electrical, cable, telephone) that they maintained their accounts from previous rental properties.
        • Oh, BTW, make sure they activate their utilities before you hand over the keys to the property. Don’t have the utilities running under your name or company. If you do and they move in, by law in most states, you have to keep them running and they can't be cut off.
      3. Do a Credit Check. If they owe people money, you may have problems later on.
      4. Do a background check with the local police department. Would you want someone living in your property with an assault with a deadly weapon charge? Try collecting the rent and the tenant is in a bad mood. Watch Out!
      5. Go to their previous landlord and get his/her opinion.
      6. Visit their property that they are currently living in because what you see there is what you’re going to get.
  • Landlords and Property Managers, make sure you are familiar with the local, state and federal housing laws.
    • Make sure you have an attorney 24/7. Take my word for it, landlords and property managers, YOU will eventually get sued!
  • After your advertising pays off and you find someone that wants to rent your property make sure they have the following:
    1. Voucher from the local Section 8 Housing Authority
    2. The voucher will state the following:
      • How many adults and children will be living inside the unit.
      • The maximum amount that the Voucher is going to pay per month.
      • How many bedrooms and bathrooms they are approved for.
      • If the Voucher numbers don’t match your numbers then you are going to have a problem.
  • The future Tenant and Landlord must fill in HUD's Request for Tenancy Approval RTA forms to get the approval process started.
  • Fill a W-9 form so you pay your taxes. Make sure you have an EIN number if you are listing a company instead of yourself.
  • Schedule a Property Inspection. This is where a certified HUD inspector will come to the property and inspect the interior and exterior condition of the property FOR RENT.
    • Click HERE for more information about HUD's Section 8 Property Inspection.
  • Determine what is going to be the monthly rent. What the staff at Section 8 is willing to pay and what you are willing to accept maybe two different numbers.
  • Submit your lease agreement to HUD so it can be signed by all parties and HUD forms attached to the lease for signature.
    • Initial term for the lease must be a least one year.
    • Lease must be signed by all parties before tenant moves in.
    • Make sure utilities have been turned on by the tenant and not the landlord.

Congratulations! You are officially a Section 8 Landlord. Yeaaaah!

About Bob Burns
Bob Burns profile picture at Women's Council of Realtors.
Bob Burns

Bob Burns is an international technology executive with years of experience stimulating growth and increasing revenue through the design and implementation of marketing strategies and product applications for various markets. Adept at forming strategic business alliances, introducing new products and maintaining superior customer satisfaction.

Skilled at blending technological expertise with business acumen to drive growth and operating efficiencies. Proficient in a variety of data structures using various content management systems CMS.

An effective communicator and trainer in both English and Spanish, experienced in bringing together people, processes and technology.

For more information go to Bob Burns LinkedIn Profile.
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May 1, 2012 · Bob Burns · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: landlord, Public Housing Authorities, Section 8

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