Picking a Property Manager for Section 8 Rentals

I manage my own properties but I know this isn’t an option for everyone.

Below I’ve listed some questions I would ask of a potential property manager specific to managing Section 8 properties.

-What percentage of their properties are Section 8 and/or how many Section 8 properties do they have?

-What specific processes do they have in place for Section 8 (it has additional paperwork and rules)

  1. Here I would be looking for answers that involve consistency & follow up because the name of the game for Section 8 is process & follow up. For instance:
  • -We submit all rent increases on the first Monday following 90 days prior to lease renewal
  • -When we submit rent increases, we follow up 1 week later if we haven’t heard a response
  • -On the 5th of the month, we text all tenants to remind them to pay if they’re past due.  If it is a Housing Authority payment that is past due or was the wrong amount, we contact the caseworker and we follow up daily until we receive an answer & resolution.
  • -When we have a lease violation, we email the caseworker & the tenant.
  • -Upon notice of non-renewal by a tenant, we immediately schedule a pre move out walk through (or something like that) so we can correctly complete the Good Standing Certification.

-What is their average turn time between 2 Section 8 tenants?

-How & when do they request rent increases with the PHAs

-How do they keep the rent ledgers for Section 8 tenants? (They should keep 2 separate ledgers – one for the tenant and one for Section 8 – otherwise, the ledger is a mess and it gets difficult to tell who owes what)

-How long is it typically between when they place a Section 8 tenant and when the rent starts to come in (In St. Louis, it should only take 2 to 4 weeks)

-How does the screening process change when screening a Section 8 tenant? (They may/probably should have something different in place around Income/Source of Income to pay rent/income multiples)

-What percentage of their Section 8 tenants are past due currently?

-What Housing Authority offices do they deal with most and what is their feedback on each one (each HA office operates differently)?

-Who is their go to contact at each HA office if there’s a problem they can’t resolve?

NOTE: This isn’t an all inclusive list – it only lists items related to Section 8. You’ll still want to vet the PM company for all the “normal” things you would ask for a market tenant. Just do a search here on BP or Google for a list of these – there are a bunch of videos, blogs, etc out there on that.

If a potential property manager can’t quickly & clearly answer these questions, I wouldn’t recommend going with them. Section 8 is amazing when done right but it is quite different than market tenants in a lot of ways and PMs without the knowledge and experience will cost you.

Have more questions or want to learn more about succeeding with Section 8 rentals? Reach out to me through the Contact page today!

Comments 2

  1. I am an out of state investor who recently purchased a rental with section 8 tenants in place in Saint Louis. I chose a property manager who in hindsight does not seem to fully understand this type of property. Do you think it is possible to self manage section 8 from out of state?

    1. Hi Kristen, I’m sorry for my delay , I missed your comment and question somehow. To be honest, I’m not sure. Some things are easy to do remotely such as administration, bookkeeping, rent collection, communication, etc. But others require someone on site (repairs, maintenance, inspections, some conversations). I think to do it well, you’ll need to find a very solid maintenance/repair company and someone you can maybe hire to do inspections (possibly the maintenance company). Another option would be to hire a PM here in St. Louis who knows Section 8. I can recommend one to you who has gone through my course and who I would trust with my properties. I will send you an email.

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