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Section 8 The Do's and Dont's

Section 8 is a housing program established by U.S. Housing and Urban Development. Through the issuance of housing choice vouchers, HUD offers rental assistance to low-income families, the disabled and elderly. In some instances, this can be as much as 70-percent of the monthly rent amount.

Also known as Public Housing, Section 8 provides opportunities to homeowners choosing to offer their housing through HUD's public assistance program. While there are strict rules and regulations, Section 8 landlords receive guaranteed income from the government when they rent to qualified tenants.

Many landlords shy away from Section 8 because they fear they will attract non-paying tenants. The truth of the matter is, the majority of Section 8 recipients are ordinary people who desire a decent place to live. Most have fallen on hard times or have chronic health problems which prevent them from earning a decent income.

Section 8 recipients must undergo a lengthy application process to obtain Housing Choice Vouchers. If they don't pay their rent portion or get in trouble with the law, they are eliminated from the program. While Section 8 tenants might be underprivileged, they are usually excellent tenants who oftentimes stay in rental homes for several years.

Section 8 housing vouchers pay landlords up to 70-percent of the monthly rent, while tenants are responsible for the remaining 30-percent. Currently, waiting time for Section 8 housing is as long as three years. By offering rental property to Section 8 tenants, landlords help ease the housing burden for low-income citizens while receiving government-backed income.

In order to become a Section 8 landlord, homeowners must apply to their local Public Housing Agency. A Request for Tenancy Approval form must be filed and rental property must pass inspection. Upon approval from HUD, property owners sign a Section 8 contract and adhere to the policies and guidelines set forth.

Each city establishes their set of Section 8 landlord inspection guidelines. However, Section 8 landlords are required to provide safe accessibility to and from the property. The property must include running water, electricity, heat and sufficient sanitation including a toilet, sink, bathroom or shower. Additionally, Section 8 properties must include a kitchen and a minimum of one bedroom per two occupants. Section 8 properties can include single-dwelling homes, apartments, condominiums and duplexes.

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Published on August 12, 2008 at 09:21 AM

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