How to Get a Landlord to Accept Your Section 8 Voucher

How to Get a Landlord to Accept Your Section 8 VoucherUnder the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, recipients can choose Section 8 rentals in the private housing market.

This means that you can apply for tenancy at non-Section 8 designated properties just like any other tenant.

Unfortunately, some landlords who own properties that qualify for Section 8 housing do not accept vouchers and may need some convincing.

Some property owners view Section 8 recipients as a higher risk and do not want to invite increased stress into their business. There are many reasons why landlords reject tenants with Section 8 housing vouchers.

Unfortunately, most of these reasons revolve around certain negative perceptions about individuals in the program. The Section 8 program might feel like an endless uphill battle for the recipient and is especially disheartening when you cannot find a place to live. Nevertheless, finding adequate housing once you have been accepted is essential for your wellbeing. Review the sections below to learn how you can convince a landlord to accept your vouchers.

Why Landlords Reject Section 8 Housing Vouchers

As previously stated, landlords are running a business, and some do not think providing Section 8 housing is a good decision. Some landlords think Section 8 vouchers are extra trouble and do not want to increase their costs without receiving more returns. While you know you can follow the Section 8 tenant rules, a landlord might still see red flags and potential problems just because you are in the program.

These reasons may be due to ignorance about the Section 8 program or previous bad experiences. If you plan to persuade your current or prospective landlord to accept your voucher and become a Section 8 landlord then you must understand why the landlord may be hesitant to accept it in the first place. The following are beliefs your current or prospective landlord may have that you must work to disprove:

1. Some Landlords Believe Section 8 Tenants Make Bad Tenants

Many property owners are under the impression that Section 8 tenants are disruptive or more likely to not take care of their rental units. Although this can happen with any tenant, Section 8 recipients often carry extra scrutiny before they even begin renting.

2. They Think They Will Not Receive Enough Rent

Under the umbrella of poor tenancy is failure to make rent payments. Because of the program’s restrictions and regulations, a local public housing agency (PHA) will only pay rent up to a certain amount in rent. The tenant must cover the difference, which is typically 30 percent of the total rent for the housing unit.

This makes landlords worry that they will not receive full payment for their Section 8 rental. Being underpaid for a property is not an ideal situation for property owners.

3. The First Payment Is Sometimes Delayed

A Section 8 landlord sometimes must wait up to four months to receive the first rent payment from a PHA. This is often due to administrative backup and red tape. Neither the tenant nor the PHA can begin making payments until the individual or family officially moves in and all the paperwork has been processed. Some landlords do not want to undertake this kind of financial instability even though after the initial setup, they can expect regular payments.

4. The Section 8 Inspection Process Can Feel Like a Burden

All Section 8 rentals are subject to yearly quality inspections. These inspections are meant to keep housing safe, clean and livable for tenants. Landlords are the ones required to pay for any renovations, replacements and maintenance so inspections. Many worry that with Section 8 tenants, they will have to spend an exorbitant amount of money paying for the upkeep of the rental after inspections.

Benefits for Section 8 Landlords

After gaining an understanding of why some landlords are hesitant to accept the voucher, you can begin making a strong case for why they would benefit from being Section 8 landlords. Again, it is important to state the benefits of the program for the landlord, not just why you make a good tenant. Letting your landlord or prospective landlord know about these benefits can improve your likelihood of being accepted into the apartment or house you want.

1. Regular Rent Payments

Many landlords are under the impression that a Section 8 tenant will not pay his or her rent on time. This is simply not true. Recipients of the voucher are required to pay their rent to stay in the program and keep receiving benefits. Otherwise, they are committing Section 8 tenant violations.

Also, since local PHAs pay 70 percent of the rent, landlords are guaranteed timely and consistent payment for at least part of the rent even if a tenant is late on payment. Regular tenants do not have this advantage.

2. Background Checks

Before being accepted into the program, applicants are subject to criminal background checks, and those who have certain criminal records are usually denied automatically. Applicants who are registered sex offenders, have been arrested for manufacturing methamphetamines or are currently abusing drugs or alcohol will be disqualified before they can even apply for any Section 8 rentals.

When renting to non-Section 8 tenants, landlords cannot be sure of their records unless they run a background check themselves, making Section 8 beneficiaries a more attractive option.

3. Tenants Can Have Their Benefits Withdrawn

While this is not a safety net for you, landlords who are fearful of difficult tenants can rest assured that the HUD can perform a Section 8 tenant eviction and take away a recipient’s benefits. If a tenant is consistently violating lease agreements, creating an unsafe environment for neighbors or committing criminal activities, the landlord can notify the PHA.

The PHA can then take action against the tenant. Normally, landlords would have to take care of this process themselves if they were not renting to a Section 8 tenant.

4. Landlords Are Allowed to Screen Applicants

Some landlords assume that they must accept all Section 8 tenants, but that is not true. You can assure them that they are allowed to:

  • Perform a credit check.
  • Perform a background check.
  • Inquire about employment.
  • Request landlord references.
  • Conduct home visits.

Therefore, landlords are permitted to reject some Section 8 tenants if they do not meet certain requirements, just as they are with non-Section 8 receiving tenants.

5. Free Marketing and Advertising of Units

Usually, it costs money to advertising on housing listing websites. However, by participating in the Section 8 housing program, landlords are given free advertising space on popular websites that advertise Section 8 rentals.