Property Management Blog

What Is Section 8 Housing? A Quick Guide

What Is Section 8 Housing? A Quick Guide

If you're a residential property owner, and you're renting out to tenants, then you need to stay informed about Section 8 housing. What it means, how it affects you, and the laws surrounding it.

This Section 8 housing guide will fill you in on the basics, especially as they pertain to the state of California. Each state and county has its own slightly different rules surrounding section 8, so familiarizing yourself is a good idea. If you're curious about what is section 8 housing, and what it means for you as a landlord, read on to find out everything you need to know.

What Is Section 8 Housing?

"Section 8" is actually short for Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937. It refers to a section of this Housing Act that authorizes rent subsidies to be paid to landlords for low-income households across the US. Section 8 housing vouchers must be considered protected sources of income

Its aim is to assist those who cannot afford rent on their own to be able to live in a suitable living space. Over the years, the act has faced many amendments and objections.

Another name for Section 8 is the housing choice voucher program. This program is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The department determines eligibility by assessing the total gross income of a household as well as family size.

Section 8 Housing in California

In California, those eligible for Section 8 housing have access to a list of landlords and properties that have "opted in" to the program. Landlords are not obligated to opt in. However, those availing of Section 8 don't have to choose exclusively from this list, they can apply for any apartment, and the final decision will be made by the landlord in question.

In California, there are laws that state that landlords cannot discriminate against tenants solely on the basis of the fact that they are part of the Section 8 housing program. As a landlord, you may have certain criteria you want tenants to fill. But one of these cannot be to exclude those using the housing choice voucher program.

Should You Accept Section 8 Housing Applicants?

There are pros and cons to accepting those participating in the housing choice voucher program. As a pro, you'll be at an advantage over other landlords who don't accept it and there's also a wider pool of tenants on offer. Since the government is subsidizing the rent, there is a greater chance of your rent being paid on time.

One of the cons usually cited by landlords is the paperwork and protocols involved in signing up for the program. Many landlords do not see this as being worth the security and larger tenant pool.

A Decision for Every Landlord to Make

Whether or not to opt into the Section 8 program or accept Section 8 tenants is up to you. Hopefully, this guide answered your questions regarding "what is section 8 housing?". If you're looking for a company to help you with Section 8 paperwork—or any aspect of being a landlord, get in touch with us today.

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