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Making the Most Possible with Section 8 Tenants

Is a mortgage paid by the government a gift? You decide.

Is a mortgage paid by the government a gift? You decide.

In case you are wondering what section 8 (see wikipedia) is, it refers to Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437f).  This section governs housing subsidies and housing vouchers for tenants.

Locally one of the many things we do for our landlords is navigate the Section 8 system on their behalf to ensure them the many benefits of having Section 8 tenants rent their units. This saves our landlords time, money, and aggravation; while securing them consistent and guaranteed income. Before explaining all the amazing things we do, let me review why you want Section 8 tenants.

  • Section 8 pays a portion of their rent, so you are guaranteed money every month.
  • Section 8 tenants must initially sign a year lease, which guarantees you income for one year. If the tenant breaks their lease, they’ll lose their Section 8.
  • Section 8 follows a consistent pay schedule. You’ll know for the next twelve months exactly when you’ll be receiving your Section 8 check.
  • Section 8 screens potential tenants for a criminal background prior to approving their voucher. If a tenant comes to us through Section 8 we already know that person has no violent offenses, no drug offenses, and is not a sex offender.

The benefits of Section 8 are clear, which is why we work so hard for our landlords to get and keep Section 8 tenants. Here is a run down of what we go through for our landlords.

Once a perspective tenant is approved for a Section 8 there is a good amount of paperwork that needs to be done. We do that for our landlords. This paper work needs to be delivered to the Section 8 office during normal business hours, which we also do for our landlords.

Once the paperwork is approved, an inspection is scheduled. These inspections are scheduled by the Section 8 inspector based on their schedule; not ours. They always come during normal business hours, and you have to be there. Well…our landlords don’t have to be there. They go about their normal day, while we fit the inspections into our schedule. If the unit passes the inspection, you can meet with the perspective tenant to sign the lease.

If the unit does not pass inspection, we will receive a letter in the mail a few days after the inspection with the list of items that need repaired. We then make all the needed repairs, and call to schedule a new inspection. This part of the process is vitally important. From the time the initial paperwork is turned in, you only have 30 days to get an approved inspection. After that the tenant is issued a new voucher, and they can go look at other units.

Luckily for our landlords, we have been through so many Section 8 inspections that we know the drill by heart. They check everything; every light, every outlet, every screen. We know that and we are prepared. Once we secure the Section 8 tenant, we do everything we can to keep that tenant happy and living in the unit. We go through new inspections every year with the Section 8 inspector.

Section 8 is a valuable resource for landlords, and being able to quickly and effectively close deals with perspective Section 8 tenants is the key to making the most with Section 8. We know all the ins and outs of the system, and we use that knowledge to provide our landlords with security and full units.

When is section 8 not good? Are there reasons not to use section 8?

We have talked about section 8 benefits and how we can help place a section 8 tenant and take care of the administrative burden.  However section 8 is not for every house.  There are several issues with CMHA

  • Not all administrators are the same- so Lorain County Metropolitan Housing Authority (LMHA), Erie Metropolitan Housing Authority (EMHA) and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) are all very much different in their time frames and requirements. EMHA and LMHA are reasonable in their practices and all though not perfect, we like to deal with them.  CMHA is usually a last resort because they lose documents, have much more stringent inspections, every part of their process is likely to break at any time delaying landlords in getting their money and sometimes they will delay months in moving in a tenant only to tell you later that you will get $200 less than you had required for monthly rental and you also need an additional $5,000 in repairs that you wouldn’t need to do just to get market rent.
  • As alluded to there is a process to get a tenant qualified for a unit. For LMHA we can get this done in several weeks and EMHA is similar. CMHA can take several months. All of these have their delays however from the time a tenant puts a deposit down even on a non section 8 unit, there is usually a several week period before they move in and start paying rent.
  • It is understandable that if the government is paying a tenants rent, they want to make sure the unit is safe. Inspections are required but they can make delays and then of course they may require repairs. Some of those repairs should be done anyways but sometimes they are silly requirements that no open market renter would require.
  • With EMHA and LMHA it is possible to pretty much know up front what we can get for section 8 rent. For CMHA they do not tell you till after the inspection and the evaluation at time seem what they will pay seems random.  Basically however section 8 programs dictate what rent they will pay.  For most properties we can know up front if it is even a possibility to place a section 8 tenant.

Many landlords worry that a section 8 tenant will destroy their property.  Generally the area a property is in dictates the tenants that apply just as much as whether it is section 8 or not. We can screen section 8 tenants the same as every other tenant and the section 8 programs themselves police destructive tenants and they can lose their voucher for for destroying properties they rent.

About Realty Trust Services
Realty Trust Services is a licensed brokerage and property management company in based out of Lorain County with a service area from Sandusky to Cleveland Heights to Medina. Their team includes: Agents, Christopher Obrycki, Andrew Morris, Shanon Jones- Plas, Kari Taylor, Matthew Klein, Julie Musial and our other unlicensed team members including Steven Taylor, Bill Taylor, Greg Zadorozny, Kris Mrazik, Joyce Thomson, Matthew Harkins and David Stevoff. For more information on Realty Trust Services and how they can help with your property call 440-220-7300.

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