Investing Assets & Markets Real Estate Investing Landlord Tips 7 Landlord Responsibilities Under Section 8 Rules to Follow to Keep Your Tenant By Erin Eberlin Erin Eberlin Erin Eberlin is a real estate and landlord expert, covering rental management, tenant acquisition, and property investment. She has more than 16 years of experience in real estate. learn about our editorial policies Updated on November 30, 2022 Reviewed by David Kindness Reviewed by David Kindness David Kindness is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and an expert in the fields of financial accounting, corporate and individual tax planning and preparation, and investing and retirement planning. David has helped thousands of clients improve their accounting and financial systems, create budgets, and minimize their taxes. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Julian Binder Fact checked by Julian Binder Julian Binder is a fact checker, researcher, and historian. They were the recipient of the North American Studies Book Prize (2016, 2017), and they have previous experience as an economics research assistant. They have also worked as a writer and editor for various companies, and have published cultural studies work in an academic journal. As a fact checker for The Balance, Julian is able to utilize their experience as an editor and economics research assistant. Their role as fact checker is to review articles for accuracy, update data as needed, and verify all facts by citing trusted sources. learn about our editorial policies In This Article View All In This Article Find Out If You're Required to Accept Section 8 Tenants Select a Section 8 Tenant Submit Request for Approval Pass Housing Quality Standards Inspection/Pass Yearly Inspections Collect Security Deposit and Monthly Rent Adhere to Terms of the Lease Agreement Notify Section 8 of Rent Increase Photo: Image by Ran Zheng Â© The Balance 2020 A landlord is responsible for following the law. If a landlord is renting to Section 8 tenants, the landlord must still follow the statewide landlord-tenant law, but must also follow additional rules placed on them by the Section 8 program. Find Out If You're Required to Accept Section 8 Tenants Some landlords rent to Section 8 tenants by choice, and others do not have a choice. Certain states, such as Massachusetts, require that all landlords accept Section 8 tenants. You need to know if this is a requirement in your state so that you are not accused of violating the law if you refuse to rent to tenants with these vouchers. Select a Section 8 Tenant Although some states do require that landlords accept Section 8 tenants, a landlord does not have to accept every Section 8 tenant. A Section 8 tenant is still subject to the same qualifying standards as non-Section 8 tenants. The Section 8 office conducts a very basic background check on all Section 8 applicants. Their screening focuses on a tenant’s income level, which will not be the biggest concern for you, as the majority of the rent will be paid by the Public Housing Agency. A landlord should always conduct the same background and credit check on Section 8 tenants that they conduct on non-Section 8 tenants. These checks help you uncover issues, such as a criminal history or a history of frequent moving. Submit Request for Approval A Section 8 tenant cannot live in your property until your property is approved by the Section 8 office. The first step in this approval process is to submit a Request for Approval of the Tenancy Form. A sample form can be viewed on the HUD website. The form requests basic information including: The Address of the PropertyAnticipated Lease Start DateProposed RentIncluded UtilitiesThe form must be signed and dated by both you and the tenant. Pass Housing Quality Standards Inspection/Pass Yearly Inspections The Request for Approval Form is the first step in getting your property approved for a Section 8 tenant. The real test is the Housing Quality Inspection. This inspection will determine if your unit meets the minimum housing standards set by HUD and by the local public housing authority. If the unit does not comply with any item on their list of performance standards, the problem must be fixed within a set time frame. The unit must then be re-inspected before it can be approved for a Section 8 move-in. Section 8 will perform an inspection once a year, usually when the tenant’s lease is up for renewal. Even if the unit has passed the first Section 8 inspection, it must pass this yearly inspection for the tenant to continue living in the property. If any items fail the inspection, they must be remedied, or the housing authority may declare that the unit is unfit for the Section 8 tenant. Collect Security Deposit and Monthly Rent Section 8 pays the majority of the tenant’s rent, but it does not pay all of it. Section 8 does not pay a tenant’s security deposit. The landlord is responsible for collecting this deposit directly from the tenant or from another agency which has agreed to pay the deposit for the tenant. Also, the tenant may be responsible for paying a portion of the monthly rent. The amount they will pay will depend on their income. For example, if the rent is $1000 a month, the tenant may be responsible for paying $50. This portion must be paid directly to you by the tenant, so it is your responsibility to make sure you receive it. Adhere to Terms of the Lease Agreement As with any other tenant, you must follow the terms of the lease agreement, as well as local landlord-tenant laws, when renting to a tenant with a housing choice voucher. You cannot take shortcuts when dealing with Section 8 tenants because the rent is being paid by the government. You must respond to any maintenance requests, address any health or safety concerns, and handle any complaints they may have about other tenants. In a sense, you must be more diligent when dealing with Section 8 tenants because you and your property will be scrutinized by the Public Housing Authority and by HUD. Notify Section 8 of Rent Increase If you want to raise a Section 8 tenant’s rent, you must submit a request to your local Section 8 office. There is usually a form that you must fill out. The form will ask: What the Current Rent IsWhat the Proposed Rent Will BeThe Date the New Rent Will Become Effective You must also certify that the rent you are charging the Section 8 tenant is not more than the rent you are charging for any comparable units in your property. You can only attempt to raise a tenant’s rent once a year. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. "Section 4: Unlawful Practices." Accessed Nov. 17, 2020. Federal Register. "Screening and Eviction for Drug Abuse and Other Criminal Activity." Accessed Nov. 17, 2020. U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. "Chapter 10 Housing Quality Standards," Pages 25-26. Accessed Nov. 17, 2020. U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. "Chapter 10 Housing Quality Standards," Page 27. Accessed Nov. 17, 2020. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Rent Reasonableness," Page 3. Accessed Nov. 17, 2020. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Chapter 5 Rents," Pages 1-2. Accessed Nov. 17, 2020.