Section 8 is a program run by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that provides rent assistance for low-income families. A section 8 landlord is a landlord that rents apartments to section 8 tenants. Under the section 8 program, HUD pays the landlord a portion of the rent while the tenants pay the remainder. The benefit for a section 8 landlord is that a portion of the rent is guaranteed, so long as the tenant remains eligible and the landlord meets HUD requirements. The amount that HUD pays depends on the tenant’s income and the cost of the rent.
Many of the responsibilities for a regular landlord exist for a section 8 landlord. For instance, he still has to screen tenants and collect their portion of the rent. Section 8 landlords, however, have the added responsibility of participating in annual inspections and keeping section 8 requirements. The purpose of section 8 is to provide low-income individuals with a clean, safe home. If the landlord does not provide that housing according to HUD standards, he could lose his subsidy.
Annual inspections ensure that a section 8 landlord is providing tenants with HUD requirements for housing. If the apartment is in good condition, the subsidies will often continue. If the inspector finds an issue, the landlord will often have 30 days to fix it. If the issue is not resolved in this time, the landlord may lose subsidies. A landlord may also lose subsidies if the tenant loses section 8 eligibility.
A section 8 landlord also differs from other landlords in that he needs approval from HUD if he wishes to raise rent. In many other ways, a section 8 landlord is the same as any other landlord. For instance, the landlord is also responsible for obtaining a security deposit from the tenant, though he can only collect the first month’s rent for that purpose. Section 8 also does not accept responsibility for the tenant’s damages. If the tenant damages property, therefore, the landlord may have to pursue the tenant for retribution.
In order to become a section 8 landlord, a person can fill out an application with his local public housing agency (PHA) to have his property listed. Once he has a prospective tenant, he should screen them and, if acceptable, ask HUD for approval. After the inspection, a section 8 landlord must sign a lease with a tenant for at least a year. He may also have to sign a contract with HUD and include a HUD provided addendum to the lease. If he chooses, the landlord can also advertise that he accepts section 8 tenants on his own and follow the appropriate procedures, should he choose a section 8 tenant.