It’s tough to be a landlord. Both in good times and bad, it never gets any easier. In fact, with this economic downturn, there is an increase in the number of evictions happening across the country. I recently had to evict a tenant that failed to pay rent (more on that later), so I was out the rent but still had to pay the mortgage. For several months, I received absolutely no money from my tenant, he simply lived in my unit rent free as I went through the proper channels to have him evicted.
I do not want to have to worry about whether or not I am going to receive the rent check every month. Heck, I would feel better just to know that some of the rent is coming at the beginning of each month, rather than being shut off completely.
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) offers landlords such as me, the opportunity to receive the lion’s share of the rent each month from the government program in place. According to
The Section 8 program was established in 1974. In 1998, Congress merged the two components of the tenant-based Section 8 program – certificates and vouchers – into a single housing program (Housing Choice Voucher Program). There are thousands of housing authorities across the
Participation in the program means a guaranteed, on-time rent payment, often times the lion’s share, mailed on the last business day of each month. Since the tenants share is made more manageable by the HCVP assistance, the tenant is more likely to make the payment on time.
The program is designed to ebb and flow with the economic times. If the income of the HCVP tenant unexpectedly drops, in most cases, there is a reduction in the tenant’s portion of the rent and an increase in the share paid by the program to the landlord.
Setting rent for your HCVP unit is made simple. Rent is based on a payment standard and comparable rent for similar units in the area, essentially market rate rent. After the lease term expires, rent can be increased to match rising rental rates as well.
As an owner, finding a tenant is as simple as placing an ad on the local HCVP website. I placed an ad with a typical description and a few pictures and within an hour had several calls from people wanting to view the unit. I set the rent, based on market comparables, the security deposit, which is no different than a market rate deposit, and set up appointments for viewing the unit. As the owner, it is my responsibility to pull a credit check and get a proper lease signed. The tenant prospect simply supplies me with a form to sign acknowledging that I am aware and wish to participate in the HCVP program.
There will be a quick inspection of the unit from a local HCVP agent, simply making sure the unit is inhabitable and safe, at which point, the new tenant can move in.
Not all areas and/or jurisdictions can or do participate in the HCVP program. It is best to do your homework to figure out if your rental is placed within the program boundaries and you are able to participate. A simple web search is all it took to get me to the right location, however. There are also many companies that manage HCVP rentals, so if you are too busy to deal with it on your own, that’s an option as well.