Section 8 - How to do it

Anyone have any experience with how Section 8 housing works? Is it based on location or other criteria? How do you go about getting your rentals on the program?


PS I am in Memphis, TN


To get your single family home, duplex, triplex, fourplex or apartment building units on "Section 8" you will need to:
  1. Make application to “Section 8” for your property which includes all your normal name, address, city - state - zip, phone and fax number, email address, subject property address, type of construction, type of heating and cooling, does tenant pay all utilities, if not who pays what, square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities, appliance type’s, washer / dryer, and whether it’s handicapped compliant?

  2. They review these details and research fair rents and figure what “Section 8” will pay for rents for your unit or units! When they call to do a phone interview they will basicly tell you what they will pay, and request your approval? If you approve they will schedule a on site inspection with you?

  3. They will come out to inspect your property and look for compliance to "Fire / Life / Safety issues (Smoke alarms, exits - if bars over windows or doors is there a proper release and do the releases work, is there a carbon monoxide detector alarm if there is gas in the unit, do toilets and sinks work and drain properly, are there signs of ants, bugs, roaches, bees, wasps, etc. Are there working locks and dead bolts for security, is there exterior security lighting, is there a fire extinguisher on site, are batteries new and extinguisher within use date, are the carpets and floors in good condition with no trip hazards, if the property is older than 1978 they want to make sure there is no pealing paint, that all walls are properly encapsulated, that there is no asbestos within reach of people or children, they look for any sign of mold in bathrooms, for GFI outlets near showers, tubs or sinks, that switch and plug covers are in place, etc.

You will recieve an approval letter from them and get set on the program, it generally takes about 10 days to get approved and if there are inspection problems they will let you know and you either fix and get a re-inspection or opt out for cost.

They send you a check which you recieve at the same time every month!

Good luck,


To add to what GR said:
The whole thing with sect 8 is basically you being willing to adhere to their standards. There are several pros/cons to working w/ sect 8. Sect 8 carries a negative connotation with people who are not on the program. Many people think all sect 8 tenants are trash. I’ve seen everything from that to a single mother of a couple kids who is working full time trying to make it and just getting part of her rent paid by sect 8.
Don’t assume all sect 8 tenants just automatically have their entire rent paid at the first of the month by the gov’t. That’s not the case. If the tenant has sufficient income, they will be required to pay part of it and thus could still pay the rent late.
Some people don’t want to go thru the sect 8 inspection because they’ll have to put money into their property to fix it. Some people don’t want to deal with the hassle of waiting for the paperwork process and inspection to get completed. Depending on the speed of your local office, your unit could be vacant for a couple months while you wait on the inspection.
Once you’re on the list with the office, you’ll get random calls from time to time from people wanting housing. Some of our units are sect 8 - others are not. We still screen all sect 8 applicants just like we would anyone else. It can be a good program, but it can have its headaches too.
The start is the LL application to them. Once you’re registered, it’s very easy to add units to the program.

It’s not as complicated as GR made it sound. In addition, many of the things that GR said are inspected are evidently due to his local codes because they are certainly not national requirements. For example, here in Ohio, rentals are not required to have fire extinguishers, CO detectors, dead bolts, or exterior security lighting.

If you want to get on the program (or investigate it further), simply go to your local Section 8 office and pickup a landlord packet. That will explain the program and provide any forms you need to fill out to get on the program. Then, add “We Accept Section 8” or something similar to your advertising. You’ll start getting calls from Section 8 tenants. Treat them exactly like any other tenant - do a thorough background check, check their income, check for evictions, check employment, etc, etc, etc. If they pass your screening, then fill out the “Request for Tenancy” form in their voucher packet, along with the other paperwork you’re required to file with your local Section 8 office. Section 8 will let you know if they can authorize the rent you’re asking, or what the maximum that can pay if that is lower than your asking rent. If you agree on the rent, Section 8 will schedule an inspection. After the inspection is passed; you collect the security deposit in full from the tenant along with his portion of the rent; and you sign the HAP (Housing Assistance Program) Contract, then the tenant can move in. That’s it - piece of cake.

Good Luck,