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Old 12-26-2007, 01:23 AM
 
460 posts, read 1,756,030 times
Reputation: 278
Default Finding the right apartment with section 8 voucher

I'm getting ready to look for a new apartment AGAIN and basically plan on searching the newspapers, craigslist, and maybe realtors too. I have a section 8 voucher and am an 'average' 40 yr old guy minus the voucher. The last time I went to a realtor and sucessfully hid the fact of the voucher until after they showed me a few places and when I seen one I liked I sprung it on them. They weren't too happy at first but they got over it and I got a good apartment. This time I'm not sure whether I should try to hide the voucher again or just be up front about it. Also, aside from newspapers, craigslists, or realtors, are there any places worth looking? This might sound funny but I rather not be surrounded by all other section 8 people and would much rather be in a 'normal' bldg where people mostly pay their own rent. Anyhow, does anyone have any tips on finding the 'right place' irregardless of this voucher?
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:43 AM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
3,589 posts, read 271,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripod View Post
I'm getting ready to look for a new apartment AGAIN and basically plan on searching the newspapers, craigslist, and maybe realtors too. I have a section 8 voucher and am an 'average' 40 yr old guy minus the voucher. The last time I went to a realtor and sucessfully hid the fact of the voucher until after they showed me a few places and when I seen one I liked I sprung it on them. They weren't too happy at first but they got over it and I got a good apartment. This time I'm not sure whether I should try to hide the voucher again or just be up front about it. Also, aside from newspapers, craigslists, or realtors, are there any places worth looking? This might sound funny but I rather not be surrounded by all other section 8 people and would much rather be in a 'normal' bldg where people mostly pay their own rent. Anyhow, does anyone have any tips on finding the 'right place' irregardless of this voucher?
Given how prejudiced a lot of landlords here are about section 8 tenants, maybe you should try the same strategy that paid off last time.
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Old 12-26-2007, 09:05 AM
 
13,784 posts, read 25,160,968 times
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Does your Housing Authority maintain a list of available units? Most Housing Authorities allow owners to post vacancies.

No need to tell anyone in advance as long as you realize the voucher may be a deal breaker and you have the time to look at units that are not available to you.

Some owners have never heard of Section 8, others have had bad experiences with the program and some actively look for Voucher holders.

You might find a positive written reference from your current landlord helpful...

Good Luck!
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Old 12-26-2007, 09:53 AM
 
1,173 posts, read 4,447,693 times
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Since I can't argue with success, why not do the same thing. However, you do realize that a Section 8 voucher does not a allow you to rent whatever you want. The owner has to be willing to take it and they have to qualify their property in the system before they can allow your residency.

By not explaining what you are looking for, you're wasting a lot of your time and the agent's time, effectively you're defrauding them because they're spending their gas (money) and time (money) to show you stuff that you can't afford. That's not a nice thing to do to them.

As for "prejudice" about Section 8 tenants, that's just an inflammitory way of making a valid point. Some owners don't want to put their properties into the system, and they have the right to do so for a variety of reasons. It's those properties that it makes no sense for you to waste any time on, since you can't force them to accept the voucher and get into bed with the government (Section 8 program).

Personally, I also wouldn't want to be considered a liar. It's a bad way to start off a business relationship. There's lots of people who have found subsidized housing who didn't have to resort to lieing, so I'm sure you can be just as successful without damaging your integrity.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 12-26-2007, 07:29 PM
 
460 posts, read 1,756,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garth View Post
Since I can't argue with success, why not do the same thing. However, you do realize that a Section 8 voucher does not a allow you to rent whatever you want. The owner has to be willing to take it and they have to qualify their property in the system before they can allow your residency.

By not explaining what you are looking for, you're wasting a lot of your time and the agent's time, effectively you're defrauding them because they're spending their gas (money) and time (money) to show you stuff that you can't afford. That's not a nice thing to do to them.

As for "prejudice" about Section 8 tenants, that's just an inflammitory way of making a valid point. Some owners don't want to put their properties into the system, and they have the right to do so for a variety of reasons. It's those properties that it makes no sense for you to waste any time on, since you can't force them to accept the voucher and get into bed with the government (Section 8 program).

Personally, I also wouldn't want to be considered a liar. It's a bad way to start off a business relationship. There's lots of people who have found subsidized housing who didn't have to resort to lieing, so I'm sure you can be just as successful without damaging your integrity.

Good luck with your search.


First off I know how much they'll pay for an apartment so I didn't waste the brokers time looking at places that were too high. I simply told her beforehand, just like anyone else would do, what price range I needed. I was also under the impression that a landlord could not reject a person based on the voucher alone. That may or may not be true but at the time that's what I thought so I 'hid' the fact to avoid the discrimination that might occur. The broker showed me 2 places and made over $700 for about 2 hrs work so I'd say she made out quite good. I wound up in a 30+ unit bldg and they were not new to hud although on the day I went to sign the lease and move in after everthing was finalized the guy in the mgmn't office says 'you sure you rather not live in one of our other buildings in another town (crappy bldgs in bad areas) where we have a lot of other sec 8 people living?' I couldn't believe this guy, this was on the 1st of the month when I was picking up the keys with my uhaul truck parked out front ready to move in.

Integrity? Lying? I simply chose to hold off on telling them I had a voucher until I found a place that I liked and knew it was within the amount I could afford. The broker did a credit check, background chk, and processed a full application before we left her office which I paid $50 up front for so what was I really hiding? I didn't find it necessary to sabotage my chance at finding a decrent place by announcing I had a voucher. And They were plenty happy with me up until the moment I announced I had one and then they grimaced and were not thrilled but you what I came to be one of their more favored tenants because I was quiet and didn't bothher anyone and there was only 1 of me living there who took good care of the place. While I was there I witnessed hard working out of pocket paying 'good' tenants get evicted for all sorts of nefarious reasons and it seems to me that working a 40/hr wk does not automatically make someone a 'good' person or tenant.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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tripod, the waste of time doesn't come into play by price alone. It comes in because you require properties qualified and open to Section 8 vouchers according to your statements. If they're not limiting the search to those qualified properties, they're showing you non-qualified properties that you can't afford because they won't take a government subsidy.

BTW, I won't argue whether or not non-subsidized tenants or subsidized tenants are the better tenant. Let's just say that there are bums on both sides and leave it at that. What I will emphasize is property owners cannot be forced into accepting Section 8 tenants. It is a business decision on their part, whether or not to participate in the program, which a prospective tenant cannot expect to be changed.

It is also not illegal "discrimination" to not accept Section 8 vouchers. It is "discrimination," but it's not illegal. I practiced it all the time with any rental I had over the years. I never accepted Section 8 for a variety of reasons, foremost of which was that the rental rate exceeded the standards to qualify for the HUD program.

So, I hope you'll provide whatever infomation is needed to the person you hire to help you find a home. I believe it's not only the right thing to do but also the only thing to do so that they provide the service you require.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:48 AM
 
460 posts, read 1,756,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garth View Post
tripod, the waste of time doesn't come into play by price alone. It comes in because you require properties qualified and open to Section 8 vouchers according to your statements. If they're not limiting the search to those qualified properties, they're showing you non-qualified properties that you can't afford because they won't take a government subsidy.

BTW, I won't argue whether or not non-subsidized tenants or subsidized tenants are the better tenant. Let's just say that there are bums on both sides and leave it at that. What I will emphasize is property owners cannot be forced into accepting Section 8 tenants. It is a business decision on their part, whether or not to participate in the program, which a prospective tenant cannot expect to be changed.

It is also not illegal "discrimination" to not accept Section 8 vouchers. It is "discrimination," but it's not illegal. I practiced it all the time with any rental I had over the years. I never accepted Section 8 for a variety of reasons, foremost of which was that the rental rate exceeded the standards to qualify for the HUD program.

So, I hope you'll provide whatever infomation is needed to the person you hire to help you find a home. I believe it's not only the right thing to do but also the only thing to do so that they provide the service you require.

Like mentioned I was under the impression that a landlord could not turn down someone based on a voucher. The literature that hud gave me makes it sound that way and until reading here in this forum recently I thought that was true so I guess I'll have to look into that.

Your point about wasting the broker's time is duly noted but at the same time if I'm paying them big money in the end I don't see much harm or even choice for that matter in trying to mask that I have a voucher especially when I believe certain apartments will be off limits because of it. For example when I told the broker I had a voucher her whole demeanor changed and she pulled a Ralph Cramden...hummanhummaNahummana.. and even though the owner dealt with vouchers they may of preffered to deal with a limited segment only like the elderly with vouchers. So I do feel like I sneaked past their screening process to get into their bldg based on the brokers reaction and then bldg mgmt who tried to dissuade me from moving there at the last minute.

However the scenario could of been quite different like what you're saying in that the owner could of had absolutely no dealings with hud which would of been a complete waste of tine for the broker. So the truth would've come out then and it would've been 1 wasted stop and I'm sure we would've went on from there. Imo sometimes it's necessarily to hold back info like that if you believe it's going to sabotage your success in finding a place. I wasn't up front about the voucher but they never asked either so I kept quiet about it as long as I could.
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Old 12-27-2007, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,072 posts, read 8,198,708 times
Reputation: 1574
Owners do NOT have to participate in the Section 8 program. It is their decision. There is so much garbage and paperwork involved, it's not worth it. Not to mention the annual inspections and if you fail over some silly a## item, you go in abatement and you'll never be able to collect.

Been there, done that. Never again.
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Earth
1,480 posts, read 2,857,617 times
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Instead of using a Realtor, try a service like Apartment Finders. You should do yourself the favor and disclose your voucher in the beginning. You could be wasting time and setting yourself up for disappointment by not being upfront about it. That's like applying for an apartment or looking at places and failing to mention you have a pet... it can be a deal-breaker and landlords have the choice.
If you don't want to be around other Sec.8 tenents try renting from a private owner instead of a property management company. Any community that accepts your voucher will naturally have other Sec.8 tenents. I assume your dilemma is that for a single occupant, you have to have a one bedroom, right? There might be "garage cottages" that can be quite nice or duplexes with studios and one bedrooms.
What area are you trying to live in?
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Oz
2,238 posts, read 6,347,736 times
Reputation: 1293
As a property owner, finding out that my prospective renter had been evasive or downright lied about something would screw the deal as far as I'm concerned. I would refuse to rent to you because of that.

And this isn't even going into some of the horrible stuff I saw from Section 8 renters when I worked for a property management firm for three years. Yes, I know they're not all bad, but a larger majority of Section 8 renters are problems than renters who aren't in that program.

The simple fact that you asked here whether or not you should do this should be your answer.
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