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Landlord’s Section 8 Responsilbilities for HUD’s HAP Contract

Landlords, after you complete the process of becoming a Section 8 partner, you must learn HUD's Housing Assistance Payments HAP Contract mandates for landlords and tenants.

This posting will discuss the landlord’s responsibilities only. The tenant’s obligations will be discussed on a future posting.

Landlords or Property Owner Responsibilities

The landlord or owner is responsible for performing all the obligations specified by HUD’s Housing Assistance Payment HAP contract and the rental lease agreement.

Below are some bullet points specifying the landlord's responsibilities while managing a single family home or a large commercial property:



  1. Complying with all the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity requirements.
    • You better have a good reason to turn down a tenant’s application. The FED doesn’t play when it comes to discrimination.
    • Try using a point system. Be able to explain the system to a court of law.
  2. Maintain the apartment unit or property in accordance with the Housing Quality Standards HQS for your state and county.
  3. Performing all management and rental duties for the Section 8 rental unit or property, including finding, selecting and determining rental compatibility of the voucher holder.
  4. Preparing and providing all the required documentation require by the Housing Authority HAP contract.
  5. Enforcing the tenant obligations specified under the rental lease.
  6. Lease the unit only to the family specified by the lease for use as their principal place of residence.
    • You will find this clause abused the most by Section 8 tenants.
      • New family members appear that were not specified on the original lease.
      • New children appear.
      • Pets are added without permission from landlord.
  7. Collecting monies from the voucher holder.
    1. Getting and maintaining the Security Deposit.
    2. Receiving the tenant’s portion of the monthly rental payment.
    3. Charges for damages to rental property and unpaid utility bills.
  8. Paying and maintaining utility services unless paid for by the tenant.
    • Must be specified in the HAP contract that the tenant pays for the utilities.
  9. That the landlord does not commit fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program.
    • This is where landlords mess up. Section 8 specifies the exact amount they are going to pay every month. The landlord can take or leave it. Some landlords try to cut a deal with the tenant to give additional monies under the table to make up the difference in rent. This is illegal and you will be caught. A one way ticket to Club FED.
    • If you get into an argument with your tenant, the tenant will report you to HUD.
    • It is a losing proposition. Just for a few extra bucks?
  10. Do not engage in drug trafficking! Need I say more?
  11. Follow HUD and State guidelines for Security Deposit procedures for:
    1. Security Deposit reimbursement.
    2. Termination of Lease Agreement.
    3. Allow official representatives from HUD and the local public housing authority PHA access to your property and documents.
    4. Do not transfer the HAP contract without permission from the local public housing authority PHA.
    5. If you need to cancel the lease you need to provide the tenant with 90 day written notice to vacate.

HUD or the local public housing authority PHA does not want to be in the landlord business. The landlord runs the property as he/she sees fit. There are a few extra guidelines you must follow but in the long run, the government leaves you alone unless you are a slumlord and they are receiving negative reports about the property.


HUD sends out an inspector once a year to inspect the property to see if it has been maintained by both the landlord and tenant.

Landlord Photo of a Section Eight Duplex I leased to the Miami Dade Housing Authority Plan Ocho program.
A former Section 8 Duplex I owned in Miami Florida.

Written by Bob Burns

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May 18, 2012 · Bob Burns · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: landlord, Public Housing Authorities, Section 8

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!

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May 1, 2012 · Bob Burns · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: landlord, Public Housing Authorities, Section 8