What is Section 8 Housing?

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on September 11, 2012 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screeningThe Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides housing assistance to families with children, the disabled and elderly, through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program is commonly known as “Section 8.” To qualify for Section 8, participants must meet certain income requirements. In general, the family’s income cannot exceed 50% of the median income for the county or city in which they live.

The tenant is then allowed to find a suitable housing unit; therefore, Section 8 Housing can be found in most neighborhoods, in most U.S. cities. Landlords may agree to rent their property under the terms of the program. Their rental properties must meet minimum standards of health and safety, and the rent must be reasonable when compared to market rents for similar units.

A family with a voucher is generally required to pay 30% of its income for utilities and rent, while the voucher takes care of the remainder, up to a set limit.

Some Section 8 vouchers are for specific housing, but most give the tenant the ability to choose where to live, with the landlord’s cooperation. Landlords have the benefit of receiving rent by the third of each month from HUD. Tenants must also pay their share on time, or face the possible loss of their eligibility.

Keep in mind that HUD does not conduct tenant screening or qualify tenants in any other way. Landlords must still do their due diligence and perform background checks, credit checks and criminal history checks, as they would on any other prospective tenant.

The voucher program has been shown to be very cost-effective, as well as to positively impact homelessness and housing instability for children. Families who are able to move to better neighborhoods often enjoy better schools and higher chances for employment.

No matter who pays the rent, you need to protect your rental property and assets with tenant background checks. Proper tenant screening will ensure you are leasing to the best possible tenants.

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