The Guide to Investing in Section 8 Housing

Video how to make money with section 8 housing

Section 8 housing has always been a topic of debate among real estate investors. Some see it as a lucrative opportunity, while others shy away from it. In this article, we will delve into what section 8 investing is all about and explore the pros and cons that come with it.

What Is Section 8?

Over the past few decades, the cost of housing in the US has skyrocketed, while wages have remained stagnant. As a result, many low-income families struggle to afford rent, even in seemingly affordable neighborhoods. In response to this issue, Congress introduced section 8 as a way to tackle the problem of affordable housing. Section 8 allows eligible tenants to choose where they want to live, with the government covering up to 70% of their rent, provided the home is section-8 approved.

Project-Based vs Tenant-Based Section 8

There are two types of section 8 initiatives: project-based and tenant-based.

  • Project-based Section 8 (PBV): With project-based section 8, landlords can connect with the local public housing authority (PHA) to express their interest in housing low-income renters. After the government approves the home, landlords are responsible for screening and selecting tenants according to HUD rules.

  • Tenant-based Section 8: In this case, the government provides vouchers to qualifying low-income renters. Landlords who accept these tenants need to screen them and agree on lease terms. The government then inspects the property, and if everything meets the requirements, landlords receive about 70% of the rent directly from the government every month.

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The Pros and Cons of Investing in Section 8 Housing

There are pros and cons to investing in section 8 housing

Investing in section 8 housing comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your investment goals, property details, and individual circumstances, section 8 housing may or may not be the best option for you.

Pros of Investing in Section 8 Housing

  • Guaranteed and stable rent payments: Section 8 provides landlords with the assurance of receiving timely payments from the government. With up to 70% of the rent covered and separate payments from tenants for their portion and utilities, landlords can rely on steady income.

  • A larger pool of potential tenants: By opening your properties to section 8 renters, you have a broader selection of tenants to choose from. This increases the likelihood of finding a good fit for your rental property.

  • Lower vacancy rates: Minimizing vacancies is crucial for rental property investors. With section 8 tenants often remaining in properties for extended periods, landlords can reduce the risk of long-term vacancies.

  • Favorable rental rates: Section 8 landlords have the advantage of being able to charge rents that align with the higher end of market rates. Additionally, landlords can reassess and increase rents by up to 8% annually.

  • Additional exposure: Once your rental is approved for section 8, you can list it on the PHA’s website, exposing it to millions of voucher holders. This serves as a free advertising opportunity to attract tenants.

  • Incentives to maintain property: Section 8 requires renters to take care of the rental property, providing landlords with added protection for their investment.

Cons of Investing in Section 8 Housing

  • Delay of payments: Dealing with the section 8 process can be slow and frustrating, resulting in delays in getting renters into the property. Landlords may have to wait 30-60 days to receive the first rent payment from the government.

  • Government bureaucracy: Investing in section 8 housing involves navigating through government red tape and regulations. Qualifying a home for section 8 can be a headache due to bureaucratic challenges and understaffed HUD offices, leading to slow and unreliable service.

  • Strict and costly inspections: Section 8 housing requires properties to undergo rigorous inspections. Meeting these strict standards can be expensive, and even the smallest mistake can result in a failed inspection.

  • Delinquent tenants: While the government covers a substantial portion of the rent, the tenant is responsible for paying their share. If a tenant defaults, landlords must follow the section 8 eviction process, which can be a lengthy and bureaucratic ordeal.

  • Increased wear and tear: In some cases, section 8 tenants may be more prone to careless behavior, leading to increased wear and tear on the property. Landlords should be prepared for potential maintenance costs, as the government is not obligated to compensate for damages.

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How to Invest in Section 8 Housing

If you’re considering investing in section 8 housing, here are the steps you need to follow:

Find Section 8 Properties

Apart from the traditional multiple listing service (MLS), platforms like Zillow,, and Redfin offer listings for section 8 houses for sale. Narrow down your search results by using keywords like “section 8.” You can also explore section 8-specific sites like or seek assistance from realtors specializing in section 8 properties.

Contact the Local PHA to Apply

To participate in section 8, reach out to your local PHA. Visit their website for a list of public housing authorities by state. As part of the application process, you will need to provide details about yourself and your property.

Prepare the Home for Inspection

Section 8 inspections assess various aspects of the property, such as lead-based paint, infrastructure, structural integrity, and security features. Familiarize yourself with the inspection requirements and make any necessary repairs before applying.

Create a Tenant Selection Plan

Once your property passes inspection, create a transparent tenant selection plan. Familiarize yourself with the regulations surrounding tenant selection plans and ensure compliance.

Find and Manage Tenants

Finding qualified tenants shouldn’t be challenging, as most PHAs maintain lists of prospective tenants. Additionally, be prepared to handle the responsibilities that come with managing section 8 housing.

Investing in section 8 housing requires careful consideration of the pros and cons. While it can be profitable, it also brings challenges associated with government bureaucracy and tenant management. Evaluate your options before making a decision. For more information on making smarter real estate investment decisions, visit Simple Money Tips – Steps To Financial Freedom.

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