How to Put a Home on Section 8

If you are a landlord or property manager, your top priority might be collecting rent -- preferably market-rate rent -- in a timely fashion each month. The last thing you want is a vacant unit that produces no income. Through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, low-income families can rent your unit and only pay the portion of the rent that equals 30 percent to 40 percent of their household income. HUD sends you the remainder monthly. HUD uses the same process to accept Section 8 rentals nationwide.

Contact the public housing agency that manages the Section 8 initiative in your city, county or metropolitan area. You can search for the appropriate entity at HUD's website. While you do not have to consult your PHA before seeking Section 8 renters, it's a good idea. Your PHA can guide you through the process, ensuring you follow the rules and find suitable tenants.

List your vacancy. In most cases, PHAs have some method of distributed listings to Section 8 voucher holders. Ask how yours handles this. Additionally, post your listing on traditional online sources and in local newspapers. Submit your listing to the Go Section 8 website, which deals exclusively in Section 8 rentals.

Screen interested applicants. Treat all applicants the same way. HUD expects you to vet prospective renters -- Section 8 or not. Simply put, you cannot treat a Section 8 household differently, at any stage of the process, than you would an unsubsidized household.

Agree in principle with a Section 8 family you want to rent to. Do not sign a lease. HUD must approve the tenancy first. The family will provide you with a packet from the PHA. Fill out the forms, provide the requested documents and return the packet to the family. The family forwards it to the PHA.

Undergo a HUD inspection of your property. After reviewing your information, a PHA representative will contact you to set a time to visit your property. The PHA conducts an inspection to ensure your dwelling lives up to HUD's housing quality standards. If your property fails part of the inspection, your PHA gives you ample time to rectify the situation.

Sign a lease with the Section 8 family after your PHA approves you as a Section 8 landlord. You must also sign a Housing Assistance Payments agreement with your PHA, which lays out the terms of your Section 8 arrangements.

Tips

  • You can charge any rent amount you desire. Ask your PHA, however, about HUD's fair market rents for your area. While you can charge more than these standards, Section 8 families must pay any amounts that exceed fair market rates. HUD does not permit Section 8 households to commit more than 40 percent of their income to their housing expenditure.