An Omaha landlord tried to help by renting to tenants who get assistance from the Omaha Housing Authority, but those tenants left his property a mess and the government won't help clean it up. Now he’s fed up. (You can read the full story here.) You can’t blame him. However, if he had understood the rules of Section 8 housing, as I point out in What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord, he might not have found himself in this pickle.
The Housing Choice Vouchers Program (Section 8) is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s primary program to provide housing for Americans who are living in poverty, as well as the elderly and disabled.
People who receive Section 8 vouchers find their own rental housing and use the vouchers they receive from their housing agency to help pay the rent. Basically, the voucher means that the Federal Government will pay a specific amount of the rent directly to the landlord.
Ultimately, it is the voucher holder's decision whether to rent your property. And as the landlord, you would screen the Section 8 voucher holder just as you would any other prospective tenant.
The advantage of renting to these tenants is that HUD guarantees you’ll receive part of the rent. Most Housing Authorities deposit the check directly into your account. And if the tenant can’t pay their portion because of a financial hardship, the government will make up the difference. Still, if the tenant is simply trying to stiff you for their portion of the rent, you’re on your own to collect.
Simply put, just because they are on a government list doesn’t mean they’ll be good tenants. It just means they have Section 8 vouchers.