Ideally, everyone would be able to pay the rent on time, have a great job, and live up to the Seattle area’s rising living standards. Unfortunately, joblessness, homelessness, and emergencies can often result in that not being possible for many people, but there are a number of organizations that help by offering rental assistance and even paying the rent in full.  While not quite the same as having a tenant with a guaranteed full-time job that will pay the rent, working with rental assistance programs can be rewarding in other ways as well. If you’re considering it, you might want to think about the pros and cons, and what it means for you as a business. Accepting landlords on housing assistance is know as becoming a section 8 landlord, and it does require that your property pass an inspection.  

Pros  

Pre-Screened Tenants  

As a landlord, you usually have to spend your valuable time and money screening your potential tenants. When you become a section 8 landlord, the housing authority already pre-screens every tenant. This means that you won’t have to screen them. While the housing authority mostly pays attention to income levels, they also screen for past criminal history, and typically decline those with a bad history. You can complete your own survey as well, for example, calling previous landlords to ask about how they treated the property, but the majority of the screening is already done.  

Guaranteed Rent  

One of the biggest issues with being a landlord is collecting the rent each month. As a Section 8 landlord, you will automatically receive all or some of the rent each month from the Housing Authority, meaning that you won’t have to worry about most of it.  

No Advertising for Tenants  

Most areas, including Seattle and Woodinville, have a wait list with hundreds of tenants hoping to find an apartment where they can get rental assistance. This means that not only will you not have to spend money advertising your property, you will also be able to fill your unit and start collecting rent as quickly as possible. While you do have to pass an inspection first, you can probably fill your unit within a week or two of putting it up. 

Cons 

Controlled Rent 

One of the most important things to keep in mind before you apply to be a Section 8 landlord is that the Housing Authority will tell you how much you can charge for rent. If you have a very nice unit, you probably want to steer clear.  

Inspections  

Qualifying as a Section 8 landlord means passing an initial inspection, as well as routine followup inspections.  

No Help with the Rental Process  

While the Housing Authority does advertise your property, they will not help you with any of the tasks surrounding being a landlord. You will still have to screen your tenants, collect their portion of the rent, maintain your property, and otherwise continue all of your normal tasks as a landlord. The only way to get out of routine property maintenance and handling tenants is to hire a Woodinville property management company. 

Should You? 

Becoming a Section 8 landlord is mostly a personal decision, but a good one if you want to ensure that people in the area have a place to live. Because there are many pros, and the cons mostly only apply if you don’t take care of your property or could charge more in rent to a luxury market, it’s actually a good idea for many landlords to apply.  

Disclaimer

The discussion herein is of a general nature only and is not to be construed as specific legal advice, which requires the establishment of an attorney-client relationship and fee agreement. SJA Property Management does not provide legal services.