Is it legal to charge a tenant rent because section 8 wont pay yet?

I am wondering if it is legal to charge my new tenant her first months rent because her section 8 housing assistance has not kicked in yet?
Her income supports our guidelines of 3x the rent, however section 8 has not approved the inspection of this house and wont be paying March’s rent. That is partly due to the deficiencies of the unit and also that the paperwork was delayed due to her negligence. She can afford it but can I charge it?? Thanks again!

NEVER, EVER give a tenant the keys unless you have either the rent AND security deposit IN CASH AND IN FULL, or written approval letter and a passed inspection from Section 8.

Yes, you can charge the tenant rent if they aren’t approved by Section 8 yet, however you really blew it by allowing them to move in without getting paid FIRST!

Good Luck,


I already have first, last, and a security deposit. I am questioning the 2nd months rent. Thank you for your response!

State law may forbid you from acting against a tenant for a delay to due to the housing authority. Also, the section 8 contract may allow rent abatements for failed inspections. Have you signed a contract with the housing authority?

I have not signed a HAP agreement or any paperwork with Section 8 as of yet. That wont happen until the house is cleared. I have a lease signed with the tenant that does not mention section 8. Thanks for your help, it is appreciated.

I always contract with the tenant, and make it clear that if Section 8 is involved I’ll cooperate, but they are ultimately responsible for paying. That said, with first, last and deposit, you at least have a fall-back position if they just can’t understand why anything should actually come out of THEIR pocket for rent. Is it worth it to seem hardcore right away? It may be, just asking! I’ll bet they were able to get the cable/satellite hooked up first thing! (sorry, I’ve just heard too many poverty pleas like that). Thank goodness in Minnesota we now have ). I assume you’re using it?