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Making Sense of Section 8

Every month when rent is due, tenants in Metro Detroit and across the country drop off, mail in and e-pay the one thing that provides them shelter: the rent payment. It’s a powerful payment, the one that keeps a roof over your head, but what about those who, despite their need for a place to live, just cannot afford market rent? That’s where Section 8 delivers a solution.

Named for its spot in the Housing Act of 1937, Section 8 is a federal housing choice voucher program put in place to help low-income families, disabled and elderly people afford “decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market.” This rental assistance comes from federal funding by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is administered locally by Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), and is then paid directly to a landlord on behalf of the participating family. However, considering disadvantages within the program along with benefits will allow you to determine if Section 8 is right for your rental property.

Pro
It provides low-income families the ability to move into private housing in chosen locations, which would otherwise be unaffordable.

Con
Participating as a landlord requires lots of paperwork and correspondence with overwhelmed PHAs . Strict inspections and re-certification requirements may result in expensive repairs to your rental property

Pro
A portion of the rent, sometimes the majority of rent, is paid directly to the landlord each month

Con
Failed inspections or lengthy repairs can delay property certification and in turn, the housing voucher portion of your monthly rent payment. Changes in income, or any other eligibility factor for tenants can also delay payments.

As a landlord considering taking Section 8 or any housing assistance voucher, make sure you do thorough research before determining if it the program is right for you and your rental.

  1. Mike says:

    As a landlord, after the initial paperwork and inspection hassles, Section 8 is pretty smooth and the rent comes in like clockwork.

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