Former U.S. Representative Ginny Brown-Waite once said, “For centuries, the world has heard the oppressed, the downtrodden and the vulnerable cry out for their freedoms.”
When it comes to freedom, the less fortunate of our modern society are often all but forgotten. Poverty-stricken neighborhoods. An inability to find jobs that pay what they require each month in bills and basic needs. Low-income schooling that focuses more on trades than futures. Opportunities that rarely are given to them. These are the things that separate the one percent from the rest of America on a daily basis.
But, what about those trying to climb out of the proverbial holes that have been dug for them? What about the low-income families that rely on financial assistance? The ones that use vouchers such as Section 8 in order to progress rather than fall into poverty pits.
In this article, we hope to highlight the average life of a Section 8 resident. We also hope to outline what their existence means to you and your property in Maryland.
By doing this, perhaps we can shed a light on what it means to truly rely on government assistance. We may also show you how your property could be a part of the necessary change in our community.
What is Section 8 Housing?
According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments…A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.”
Simply put, housing choice voucher programs are more commonly referred to as Section 8 housing. They also provide low-income or otherwise disabled individuals with nicer homes than they could afford otherwise.
This program is paying 75 percent of the rent upfront each month. As long as the family is eligible and their monthly income doesn’t exceed 30 percent of the area median income.
Furthermore, when an individual is eligible and you agree to lease your property to them, you will sign a lease with the individual and also a housing assistance payments contract. This ensures that you will always receive the payments from the PHA program and will only need to charge the resident for the remainder each month.
What are the Benefits of Becoming a Section 8 Landlord?
Although some people may be hesitant to choose a Section 8 tenant, there are actually several benefits to working within this program. For starters, in Baltimore alone, nearly 74,000 people remain on the Section 8 housing wait list.
This means that there is a clear desire for Section 8-compatible housing in Baltimore and this will likely help your candidate search process exponentially.
Secondly, Section 8 tenants tend to stay longer as they don’t want to go through the grueling process of being approved and filling out the paperwork with another landlord again. This means less vacancies and more money over time.
Lastly, in our modern day and age, paying your rent on time is practically a myth. This is where Section 8 residents truly shine. Fortunately, they will pay the vast majority of their rent (between 30-100 percent depending on their income) using these vouchers. Therefore, they will absolutely pay their rent on time without fail.
What are the Negatives?
When it comes to Section 8 housing, there is truly only one negative to discuss. This is the lengthy and sometimes expensive process that goes into accepting a Section 8 tenant.
For starters, the minute you approve a Section 8 tenant, you must be prepared to allow an inspector into the home so they can be sure that everything is up to safety standards. These inspections will also continue to happen at least annually moving forward.
If the inspector finds any safety hazards, you are required to fix them before this new tenant is entering the home. This process can sometimes be highly expensive as the safety regulations they uphold are far more complex than standard safety regulations.
On top of this process, a lot of times the paperwork itself can take time as these eligible candidates typically work more than one job. They also don’t have a lot of gas money or sometimes even a car to get there. As such, they can’t always be readily available during the process.
With this said, if you don’t have time and patience, Section 8 housing is more than likely not ideal for you and your rental. However, if you believe your rental is safe and are able to make the effort to meet with them, you can have a long term, reliable, and grateful tenant in no time.
Do You Have to Allow Section 8 Tenants in Maryland?
Now, a new act issued by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. dubbed the HOME Act, for Housing Opportunities Made Equal, is releasing in Baltimore. This new act plans to help countless Baltimore low-income residents find housing in better neighborhoods and districts. To do this, the act intends on outlawing discrimination based on how an individual pays their rent.
This means that a potential tenant cannot be discriminated against when they use a Housing Voucher. This also means that Baltimore property managers and landlords alike are required to accept Section 8 moving forward.
Although the act is one that has been rejected several times in the past, certain members of local law believe this year may be the one that the act is approved within.
Although you may currently have a choice regarding Section 8 tenants, this could change quickly. Especially with the approval of this extensive housing act.
In the end, Section 8 housing has several ups and downs depending on the city and state. However, Baltimore is a thriving city that relies on this financial assistance. This assistance gives better lives to many of its residents.
With this said, if you are considering becoming a Section 8 landlord or would like to know more information about the process, contact Moon Ridge Management today!
We supply units to nearly a half dozen Section 8 tenants at this point in time. We also have had a 0 percent delinquency rate for the last two years. As such, we know what it takes to be a Section 8 management team. This is why we can absolutely help you in a breeze!