TOPIC: Section 8 required?

Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8012

Beginning next week, Redmond landlords will no longer be able to refuse rental to tenants because they use a Section 8 housing voucher to help pay rent.

WOW! :ohmy:

This topic has been going around in my state for quite a while. I get quite a few calls from prospects seeking a community that accepts section 8. While I agree that we should not discriminate on the source of legal income, I have a problem with being required to accept section 8, because it raises costs that we aren't able to recoup through the program.

A few years ago I managed a property that accepted section 8 vouchers but was mostly conventional market rate. Section 8 decided we could not charge market rate for the residents using vouchers. To me, this is discrimination against the neighbors who do not qualify for vouchers.

In my neighborhood, there are very few communities that accept section 8. I am not convinced that it's best to lump all voucher recipients into the same neighborhoods.

Additionally, section 8 requires detailed inspections that we must hold a unit vacant for and provide staff for.

What do you think?

kirkland.patch.com/articles/city-council...using-discrimination
  • Rose M
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Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8014

You are correct that not accepting applicants with HCV's in place is discrimination on income source. If the housing authority says you cannot charge these applicants your current market rent and their figure is significantly lower; you can appeal their decision and show them your most recent market survey; and ask to see theirs. If yours is more current than theirs; most housing authorities will see your side and agree.


I have no problem accepting HCV recipients as long as they meet all my normal standards for credit/criminal/total income (in this case count the HCV's value). Make friends with the person at the housing authority and you will get your rents and your units inspected quicker. Have the housing authority provide you with a guideline of what they look for when inspecting the units and make sure all your turns exceed what they look for.
Last edit: by Johnny Karnofsky.

Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8015

Johnny,

You are the man!That is spot on to what my experience has shown as well!

Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8016

Hi Rose,

I, too, have rented to housing choice voucher (HCV) recipients; however, my experience has been quite different. Our Public Housing Agency (PHA) knew that we would charge full market rent. They never expected anything lower, nor did they expect a concession, if applicable. Nowhere in the HCV program does it state that a property must reduce its market rent to satisfy voucher recipients or the PHA. The HCV program actually state that a metro area may INCREASE fair market rent (FMR) by up to "20 percent for a portion of an FMR area. This provision allows HUD to respond to situations where an areawide 40th percentile FMR does not provide the desired range of choice among units or neighborhoods." (www.huduser.org/periodicals/ushmc/winter98/summary-2.html)

I, too, agree with Johnny. It has been my experience with PHAs that they will work with you on increasing timely inspections and slow payments, if this becomes a problem.

Lastly, you are absolutely correct about your assumption that it is not best for all voucher recipients to live in one property/neighborhood. One of the goals of HCV was to provide mobility for recipients to find housing in better neighborhoods closer to employment, schools, services, transportation, etc. Housing that typically accepts vouchers, without any coercion or a mandated law, is not usually located near employment centers, hospitals, schools, mass transit, grocery stores, etc. This housing then becomes an area of concentrated poverty with all sorts of social ills, i.e. crime, school drop-outs/truancy, unemployment, illiteracy, drug and alcohol abuse, poor health care, etc. Concentrated poverty completely negates the purpose of the HCV. There is a great article about a study published in The American Journal of Public Health that links how many people Poverty actually kills. www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/health/05social.html

So, yes, I believe Source of Income legislation is necessary; however, I also stand strong that properties must assert their rights and forge positive relationships with their PHAs. Please come back and let us know how it is going!
  • Kimberly Mitchell
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Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8019

I agree with what everyone has said so far. My community is a mix of Sect. 8, Sect. 42, and market rates. You have to get to know the people at the local housing authority, we take them donuts every few months :) This gets me referrals as well as makes things run more smoothly for us. My county housing authority is great, it's when I have to deal with the people from our neighboring city that I have an issue. There is so much turnover we never deal with the same people, which is bad enough, but my real problem is their inspections. One of my residents inspections was failed because there was a chip of paint the size of my pinky nail missing from the residents door. Now I have been in the communities that housing authority manages and I can assure you they are not being held to the same standards as we are!
Overall I would say my experiences have been great. We did have a year where the neighboring city did not allow for rent increase. Fortunately I had only one resident receiving HCV from that locality and we worked with her. Otherwise I have always gotten full rent and no issues getting increases. If they tell you your rent is too high, then the prospect will have to move elsewhere, as Kimberly said, there is nothing requiring you meet their rent guidelines.

Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8020

As far as the inspections go, I would make sure I had a copy of their guidelines to share with my maintenance man to make sure that all turns exceed that standard at a MINIMUM. If you deal with more than one housing authority, make sure you have the guidelines for each. Do NOT worry about other properties and whether or not they meet your standard (or theirs); you do not have the time nor the ability to control what is outside your walls. As long as you meet the standards set, you should have nothing to worry about.

When the housing authority sends notice of annual inspection for a unit currently being occupied by a HVC recipient; it is important that you schedule a time with the resident to send in your maintenance guy to make sure that these standards are upheld and any needed repairs are completed before the scheduled inspection. I would do this no more than a week prior to the inspection.

Once the housing authority people see how you run your house; you will be in a good position with them for future inspections and referrals; unless you run your house like a slumlord....
Last edit: by Johnny Karnofsky.

Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8021

Interesting situation.
If I'm not mistaken you still have the right to set income guidelines. You can still run a credit report and make decisions on the same basis. As a section 8 landlord now for 7 years, having 5 of my single family homes and a 2 family all in the "program" - I love it and hate it at the same time. With 5 units in the program - maybe I'm lucky or accepted "good" tenants. I had one just now I began to evict and seh is packing up on her own. But I saw it coming. First the rent was late, then the ex husbands death meant she got his SSI - so that "income" reduced the rent paid directly to her. Once more money went directly to her - forget it. she had it spent before rent was due. While I would represent myself in most cases of eviction, in a section 8 tenant, I would go to an experienced LT lawyer. While the program may help and does help - there is little motivation for someone to come off the program. Instead, they wind up i en endless loop of if I work more, that means that less I get in benefits.... users and abusers.
  • David - RentLaw.com & Section 8 LL
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Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8022

Most of the time a HCV recipient is held to a higher standard by the housing authority and understand that they risk losing their assistance if there are any issues that you may have. As long as the resident/applicant meets the criteria of the housing authority AND yours as well; you do not usually have problems that put their housing and/or assistance at risk. It is important to establish with the resident that you are in regular contact with the housing authority and you do not want to report them for anything that would put their assistance at risk.

My understanding is that once a housing terminates a HCV for cause, they will not be eligible to receive another HCV in the future.
Last edit: by Johnny Karnofsky.

Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8030

I do not find that Housing Authorities, which are locally managed, hold any Housing Choice Voucher recipient to a "higher standard" than any other rental assistance program holds its waiting list applicants. In my experience, I would have to say many HAs pass the buck and will tell a landlord it is their responsibility to fully vet an applicant by performing background checks and credit checks on their applicants. I find myself having to explain how the program works to many potential residents who come in seeking an apartment through the HCV program. I find, at least in one area in Indiana, workers are overworked and have very little time to explain particulars to those applying for places on Waiting Lists.

Landlords and management companies must understand their rights under the program, and like any business transaction, must consider all the facts regarding annual inspections and fair market rents. It can be very disheartening to an Applicant to come to your apartment community and find that your 3 bedroom rents a full $80 more than others. However, it is your responsibility as a Manager or company exec to set the rents as you would for every person who walks in the door. In this day of revenue management, this might be difficult for some apartment hunters to understand.

Re:Section 8 required? 9 years 8 months ago #8031

It's not so much a higher standard; but I have seen people actually LOSE their HCV when site management reports that the recipient is having problems with nonpayment, with housekeeping, or some other clause or addendum to the lease. I had one that the unit passed, but the housekeeping did not at the time of the annual inspection, so they were given a notice that they would be reinspected specifically for housekeeping issues in 30 days and if the problems were still in place, the assistance would be terminated.

This is even more true for project based section 8 properties from what I understand.
Last edit: by Johnny Karnofsky.

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