A Landlord’s Guide To Understanding Government Subsidized Housing in 5 Minutes: Section 8

My entire out-of-state rental property portfolio consists of government subsidized housing.

When you hear government subsidized housing, you probably immediately think of Section 8.

However, government subsidized housing is much bigger than Section 8, and if you want to duplicate my real estate portfolio, you will need to know more.

So, what is this “more” I speak of?

What is Government Subsidized Housing?

I primarily deal with tenants who receive one or two forms of government assistance. All of my tenants receive benefits from the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formally section 8) and some get assistance from the Department of Social Services (DSS).

What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)?

The housing choice voucher program is a federal government program that assists very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled so that they can afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing.

Now, the government doesn’t find apartments for the families involved, the members of the program have to find their own housing.

Although funding for this program occurs at the federal level, administration of the program is handled at the local level via public housing agencies (PHA). Essentially, the local public housing agencies receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to run the voucher program.

How do tenants qualify?

Eligibility is determined by the public housing agency and is based on:

  1. Total annual gross income
  2. Family size
  3. Citizenship

As I specified above this is a program for very low-income families. Family income cannot exceed 50% of the median income for the county in which the family chooses to live.

According to law the public housing agency has to provide 75% of the vouchers to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30% of the median income of the area the tenant has decided to live.

To put things in prospective, the median income where I’ve decided to invest is approximately $50,000.

That means in order to qualify for this program, you cannot make any more than $25,000 per year, and 75% of my tenants will probably make under $15,000 per year. Remember my article Can you survive at the poverty line? Well…. can you?

Why is this Awesome for a Landlord?

So a family is issued a voucher by the local public housing agency and has to find a place to live. Now, they can’t just go to any place and use their voucher. They have to choose places that have been vetted and passed city/state inspections as well as the Section 8 inspection.

I’ll repeat that… the unit the housing voucher tenant lives must meet minimum health and safety standards issued by the public housing agency.

Since you’re a awesome landlord, this simple fact eliminates a lot of competition.


Well, that means slumlords are not allowed! You don’t have to deal with people who buy for dirt cheap and can cut their rental price and take your prospective tenants.

Another Reason why Government Subsidized Housing is Awesome for a Landlord

The voucher amount a.k.a. housing subsidy is paid directly to your bank account by the public housing agency. Every month between the 1st and 15th you will get paid… no phone calls, no delays (sometimes), just a deposit into your account or a check in your mail box.

If the voucher isn’t large enough to cover your contracted rental amount, then the tenant must pay the difference. However, there is a trick to this, and I’ll talk about it in another article…

Do me a favor and sign up to my newsletter, I’m going to be rolling out a step-by-step program to duplicate my real estate system.

Are you a prospective landlord? Do you have any questions about government subsidized housing? Do you want to learn how to manage your rental properties in only 30 minutes a month? Leave a comment or concern below…


  • […] From Dom’s Blog: A Landlord’s Guide to Understanding Government Subsidized Housing in 5 Minutes: Section 8 […]

  • Ah, a cliffhanger. Well done. 😉

  • My bad…

  • While I agree that there are many benefits of working with section8 folks as a landlord, it is important to consider the downsides. A good friend of mine with no landlord experience bought two 4-flats a few years back and he experienced considerable challenges with the wear & tear on his newly renovated property. Specifically, the majority of the units ended up being rented by families with so many kids, that the kids would draw on the walls, ride their bikes inside and crash them into the walls, among other damages. Now don’t get me wrong, obviously anyone with kids can cause the same kind of damage, however many would agree that statistics show section8 renters tend to be a bit more difficult to work with in regard to damages. So what’s the big deal, right? Well during routine inspections, the newly renovated units were quickly in disrepair and the landlord was denied rent payments by Section8 until repairs were made. Specifically, some of the chipped paint caused by the kids riding their bikes inside the units.

    In conclusion, I don’t want to deter anyone from taking on section8 renters but I do suggest landlords take every potential hurdle into consideration before thinking that being a section8 landlord is a virtual money train.

    My 2 Cents. Thanks!
    Joe from Chicago

  • Great observation Joe! That annual section 8 inspection is a bitch. Did your friend have multi-family units or single family homes? I only invest in single family homes and have 4 of them so if one requires extensive repairs all my rent doesn’t stop.

  • […] imagine this, if you have tenants with government assistance, like section 8 (Housing choice voucher) like I talked about in this article. You have to get your home re-inspected every time you get a new tenant. This is a return […]

  • […] You may be wondering how we make money if the tenant doesn’t pay. Well, our properties house government assistance tenants. Each tenant typically has a portion of their rent paid by the local government. […]

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