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Becoming a Section 8 Landlord: Everything You Should Know

Becoming a Section 8 Landlord: Everything You Should Know

The United States sees more than 2,600 new renters daily. That's a new renter every 32 seconds.

Since 1974, the U.S. Government has assisted low-income families through Section 8 housing. This program enables low-income individuals and families to occupy rental units through a direct subsidy from the government. If you want to become a Section 8 landlord, it is essential to understand what this entails. Luckily it isn't as difficult as you may think.

However, before you take the plunge, ensuring you have all the necessary information is wise. So, keep reading to learn more about becoming a Section 8 landlord.

What Is Section 8 Housing?

The Section 8 Housing program was established and added to the Housing Act in 1974. This program seeks to assist Americans with low incomes to afford their rent payments. They do this through vouchers administered by local public housing agencies (PHA).

When determining program eligibility, this agency reviews factors such as total annual gross income and family size. Section 8 Housing differs from HUD housing, primarily in the available housing types. For example, HUD housing consists mainly of duplexes and apartments, whereas Section 8 Housing allows private rentals.

Section 8 Tenants

For someone to be eligible for Section 8 Housing, they need to meet a few requirements; otherwise, their application will be automatically rejected. Let's review each condition in detail.

Income Limits

To qualify for Section 8 housing, a tenant's income cannot exceed 50% of the local median income. For example, the median household income in San Diego is $89,457 annually. If the tenant earns less than $41,400 per year, they will qualify for Section 8 Housing.


The Section 8 Housing program is only available to citizens of the United States. Tenants applying must provide details such as name and social security number.

Eviction and Criminal History

Tenants applying for Section 8 Housing must provide their criminal history and clarify any previous evictions. However, if they were evicted from public housing, they would automatically not be eligible for Section 8 Housing.

Becoming a Section 8 Landlord

As a property owner, depending on your state's fair housing laws, you may be able to choose whether you want to rent your real estate property to Section 8 tenants. For example, in some states like Washington, you may not refuse applications from Section 8 tenants.

This does not mean you necessarily have to lease your property to any Section 8 tenant who applies. Instead, you must treat their application like any other tenant application.

Tenants applying under Section 8 must meet the same criteria as non-Section 8 tenants. An example of this would be running a criminal background check.

Furthermore, your investment property needs to be approved by the Section 8 office before you can accept Section 8 tenants. You must submit a Request for Approval of the Tenancy Form to do this. This form will require information such as the property's address, proposed rent, expected lease start date, etc.

Section 8 Landlords: To Be or Not to Be

There are some benefits you can gain when becoming a Section 8 landlord. For example, because the government provides some of your rental income, you can rely on receiving it every month. However, checking the laws in your state is wise because you may not have an option about whether or not you accept Section 8 tenants.

If you're in San Diego and are looking for a top-class property management company, contact us today. We have property advisers waiting to assist you with your investment property needs.