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Why you may want to become a Section 8 landlord

As a New York landlord, you naturally want to maximize the amount of rent you receive for each of your houses or apartment units. You also want responsible tenants who will pay rent on time and not misuse or destroy your property. Have you ever considered becoming a Section 8 landlord? You may discover that this federally funded program gives you the best of both worlds.

If you are unfamiliar with Section 8, the first thing you should know is that Section 8 is the popular name for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which receives its funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Basically, Section 8 allows you to rent your homes and apartments to low-income tenants at fair market value. The government pays the majority, if not all, of the tenants’ rent.

Section 8 misconceptions

Unfortunately, when a lot of people hear the words “Section 8,” they immediately think of low-caliber people living in slum neighborhoods. This is not the case at all. While your Section 8 tenants will be low-income, this does not make them low-caliber. In fact, they must qualify for Section 8 assistance, which includes passing a background check. In addition, you have the right to do your own background checks on all your prospective Section 8 tenants. Nor, in most cases, must you accept anyone and everyone who applies to become one of your Section 8 tenants.

As for slum neighborhoods, that has little, if anything, to do with tenants themselves. Rather, the landlords who own the properties bear responsibility for the upkeep of their homes and apartment buildings. Since you are not a slum landlord, your properties likewise are not slums.

Be aware that any property you wish to rent to a Section 8 tenant must first pass a Section 8 inspection and subsequently pass a re-inspection each year before you and the tenant renew the lease. In many cases, Section 8 pays above-market rent depending on the location of your specific property.

Landlord/tenant disputes

As with any other tenant, occasional disputes may arise between you and your Section 8 tenant(s). If and when such occasions arise, Section 8 offers you an extra layer of protection.

For instance, if one of your Section 8 tenants damages your property or otherwise fails to live up to his or her lease agreement with you, you can contact that person’s Section 8 worker and explain the problem. The worker will contact your tenant and explain to him or her that (s)he will lose his or her Section 8 voucher if (s)he does not mend his or her ways immediately. In addition, Section 8 will itself pay you for any damage your tenant caused, requiring him or her to reimburse Section 8 for its outlay.

All in all, becoming a Section 8 landlord can increase your profits while providing you with an extra layer of protection against uncooperative or destructive tenants. You would do well to check into this option for your rental properties.

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