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Thoughts on renting to program tenants

  1. #1
    xxaarraa
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    Thoughts on renting to program tenants


    Interested in feedback and thoughts from folks here with rental properties - what are your thoughts on renting to program tenants? I have a property listed and my agent received an inquiry from another agent representing several applicants under the Mass Metro Housing Program (?). Supposedly the state pays 12 months rent up front. However, if a 'qualified' party with kids under 6 wants to rent my place, I HAVE to pay to get it deleaded. I also assume that getting them to vacate (or worse, eviction) is impossible.

    My agent is confident we can avoid if necessary. But I am looking for general experiences and thoughts from folks with landlord experience - would you do it? We can take this offline if necessary, considering the obvious sensitivity on some aspects.

    Thanks much.

    P.S: I am continually blown away by the diversity of life experiences of folks here on NESR. I've asked about bikes, contractors, professional writers and have received well articulated and intelligent input on all topics. Glad to have access to this experience set.

    P.S: jwkmk2k3 has been my go-to guy for these sorts of questions, he's the man. Figured I'd ask everyone this time given the timeline.

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    Last edited by xxaarraa; 12-06-16 at 04:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    The only experience I have with this topic is watching what a landlord of mine went through in a duplex I used to live in. Based off that, I would absolutely not consider it, personally. I would ask you, though, do you want to run the risk of being ordered to decontaminate the property because of the requrements of a state program?

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    Last edited by butcher bergs; 12-06-16 at 05:04 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3

    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Dunno about MA, but in OC the building had to meet certain code requirements (some I didn't meet) that were subjected to biannual inspection... and they only paid a portion...rest paid by tenant. I had some applicants tell me a story before even letting me say anything. Other apartments weren't renting to them. Said enough...found better tenants in under a week (80 inquiries), done.

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    Last edited by breakdirt916; 12-06-16 at 05:08 PM.
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  4. #4
    Lifer
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    I would stay away. I've been doing this for a long time and back in the day it was a no brainer to rent to them. Guaranteed rent and supposedly trouble free tenants. Now it's just not worth it. The tenants can pretty much lay waste to your place with no real repercussions on them. You need to update everything to the programs mandates and if they change in 6 months guess what? You need to do those as well. Forget about evicting trouble tenants too. It's near impossible. I'm not saying they are all bad but a good amount of them can really work the system and if you think you can out smart them your dead wrong. Remember, most of these people don't work or have very little cares in life. They have all the time in the world to figure out ways of getting ahead no matter who they step on and that would most likely be you.
    Of course you could get a wonderful one and have no issues. The gamble is too much for me to play anymore. I would rather keep my units empty than play that game again.

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  5. #5
    Lifer wiggeywackyo's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Can you legally decline though?

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  6. #6
    Lifer Trouble's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggeywackyo View Post
    Can you legally decline though?

    My response (in Vermont) was that I didn't think the property met the program requirements. That's as far as I ever had to take it.


    Based on stories I'd heard and the tenant-friendly laws in our state, I chose not to make a rental I used to own compliant. No judgement on the folks that use the program, I just decided it wasn't worth the potential risk.

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    Last edited by Trouble; 12-06-16 at 06:18 PM.

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  7. #7
    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    I had a coworker who was listing one of his apts in his 3 family home on Craigslist. (His house wasn't exactly in the nice part of town.) He listed in the ad "No Section 8".

    He got a couple phone calls asking about Section 8, he was just like "Oh, I've just never done it, and I'm not familiar with the process, etc etc" - as his excuse to not have to rent to Section 8 people.

    Turns out those phone calls were from a state housing authority or whatever, and you cant discriminate like that, so he got hit with a $5k fine or something crazy like that.

    After that incident he resorted to doing credit checks on potential tenants.

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  8. #8
    Lifer wiggeywackyo's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by MattR302 View Post
    I had a coworker who was listing one of his apts in his 3 family home on Craigslist. (His house wasn't exactly in the nice part of town.) He listed in the ad "No Section 8".

    He got a couple phone calls asking about Section 8, he was just like "Oh, I've just never done it, and I'm not familiar with the process, etc etc" - as his excuse to not have to rent to Section 8 people.

    Turns out those phone calls were from a state housing authority or whatever, and you cant discriminate like that, so he got hit with a $5k fine or something crazy like that.

    After that incident he resorted to doing credit checks on potential tenants.
    That's the type of scenario I've heard of.

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  9. #9
    xxaarraa
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Thanks guys, appreciate your thoughts. I agree, my gut is not to get involved as well. The word "qualified tenant" gives landlords some leeway during the screening process.

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  10. #10
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    We had neighbors in Southie rent to S8.

    Think regular tenants fail to exercise common sense and respect for the property? Now imagine having tenants who "must earn less than 30 percent of the median income of neighboring residents. In some counties, the applicant must earn at least 50 percent below the median income. "

    You could easily identify the Section 8 house on the street: it was the one with cigarette butts all over the sidewalk and trash bins still out 3-4 days later.

    The house was a duplex. One apartment was occupied by a single mom who'd fallen on hard times though she worked hard to keep things afloat. The other one was occupied by a couple who did their best to "work the system" to get money for drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. This included "renting" out their couch to temporary occupants for whatever they could get.

    So the danger is that once you go S8, it is very difficult to ever rent to "normal" people let alone get a tenant out (as mentioned, some are unlucky, and some are bad). Your neighbors will hate it. Turns out the guy who owned the neighboring house is a specialist and has three buildings, all rented S8. He did not live nearby.

    Similar deal in the housing projects. Some families were down on their luck, some were 3rd generation welfare moms, some had serious drug and alcohol problems, and one family we knew lived in the projects so they could afford their house on Cape Cod. Getting rid of the projects for mixed income developments seems to work much better.

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  11. #11
    Lifer NPDCPA's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quality over quantity, Senior. Plenty of quality renters out there. Your units are your inventory, protect it by keeping control over who uses it.

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  12. #12
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Not myself, but my parents used to own a couple multi-family units in NH. The best tenants they had were 'section 8'. The state kept a watchful eye on the apartments, the state paid the rent on the 5th of every month, the state automatically increased the rent payments by something like 3% every other year, the state evicted the tenants when they no longer met the requirements. They had (still do maybe?) very strict guidelines that the tenants had to follow, right down to keeping the apartment clean & clutter free...

    All my parents did was sit back, take care of the small stuff & happily collected rent. Never once did they have a problem with that arrangement. Unlike the dickhead deadbeats that knew even in NH, once you decide to stop paying rent you still basically have 6 months (sometimes longer) before you can actually be legally removed. They preferred those with state subsidized rent...

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  13. #13
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    Not myself, but my parents used to own a couple multi-family units in NH. The best tenants they had were 'section 8'. The state kept a watchful eye on the apartments, the state paid the rent on the 5th of every month, the state automatically increased the rent payments by something like 3% every other year, the state evicted the tenants when they no longer met the requirements. They had (still do maybe?) very strict guidelines that the tenants had to follow, right down to keeping the apartment clean & clutter free...

    All my parents did was sit back, take care of the small stuff & happily collected rent. Never once did they have a problem with that arrangement. Unlike the dickhead deadbeats that knew even in NH, once you decide to stop paying rent you still basically have 6 months (sometimes longer) before you can actually be legally removed. They preferred those with state subsidized rent...
    This was true for my father's rentals as well. I don't know if things have just changed that dramatically, or if the posters hear are just relaying the common fears about housing assistance.

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  14. #14
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    my best friend owns about 30 rental properties here in CT and manages about 50 more. I also used to work with them on the side for a few years.

    Pros:
    You get paid on that date very month.

    Cons: some of the tenants are shit bags and some aren't. but you run the shit bag risk at everything. (I just brought a house in a pretty nice neighborhood, and I know exactly who the shitbags are)


    The coming up to code thing, I feel like If you didn't want to be a slum lord those are things you should be doing anyway. god forbid you rent the place out to a "good" tenant and their kid gets sick from lead, that's on you.

    But if the state is coming in and making sure that they are upkeeping the place then that's an advantage.

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  15. #15
    go faster cdovego's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Too much risk, I'd rather risk payment not being timely. Complete roll of the dice that you can't influence.

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  16. #16
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by MattR302 View Post
    I had a coworker who was listing one of his apts in his 3 family home on Craigslist. (His house wasn't exactly in the nice part of town.) He listed in the ad "No Section 8".

    He got a couple phone calls asking about Section 8, he was just like "Oh, I've just never done it, and I'm not familiar with the process, etc etc" - as his excuse to not have to rent to Section 8 people.

    Turns out those phone calls were from a state housing authority or whatever, and you cant discriminate like that, so he got hit with a $5k fine or something crazy like that.
    Your coworker is an idiot, that type of discrimination is against federal law.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by MattR302 View Post
    he got hit with a $5k fine or something crazy like that.

    .
    bureaucrats gotta come up with some way to pay for the make work jobs searching craigs list for "violators"

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  18. #18
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    bureaucrats gotta come up with some way to pay for the make work jobs searching craigs list for "violators"
    He violated federal law because he's an idiot. I'm currently playing the world's tiniest violin for him...

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  19. #19
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post
    He violated federal law because he's an idiot. I'm currently playing the world's tiniest violin for him...
    fuck the thought police, no one is entitled to rent from me, hire me for work or to be employed by me, I agree, the guy was an idiot for openly discriminating, there are ways to do in more discreetly

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    Lifer
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    one family we knew lived in the projects so they could afford their house on Cape Cod.
    How do they manage that? Lie on the applications? Or paid all under the table? In someone else's name?

    If you agree to accept, do you get to interview the person in advance, similar to how it might otherwise go? E.g. interviewee asks 'how many parking spots available for Saturday night parties', you get to turn them down? Or is this like you get to interview their candidates, but if they only have two, then you still have to choose one?
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    This was true for my father's rentals as well. I don't know if things have just changed that dramatically, or if the posters hear are just relaying the common fears about housing assistance.
    I wonder if it's really different in the cities?

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  21. #21
    Posting Freak Jewcati's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    DeLeading alone is not worth it....you would have to undo pretty much the entire paint job you just did

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  22. #22
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by aldend123 View Post
    How do they manage that? Lie on the applications? Or paid all under the table? In someone else's name? //
    No idea. There is no way I would raise my kids in that environment if I had a choice.

    Boston is quite different because market housing is so expensive that even a family with both parents working, if they are in low-wage jobs there isn't going to be much leftover.

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  23. #23
    Back marker... jwm2k3's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Damn Ashwin....thats a lot of extra k's in my username there....

    Anyways, as we spoke about a few times, I would never and have never considered 'program tenants' in the 17 years Ive owned my income property. You shouldn't either.

    Take your time, interview prospective tenants, use your intuition and judgment of charater to decide. Of course I recommend whatever checks you want to perform on the prospects.

    Youll be good buddy. Youre a smart guy!

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  24. #24
    Back marker... jwm2k3's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Oh.....be careful what you say. There are scumbags out there just looking to trip you up, file a complaint with the MCAD and then try to settle with you for $500 or $1000 to drop the complaint. All without ever seeing your apartment for rent. That happened to me. Once.

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  25. #25

    Re: Thoughts on renting to program tenants

    Quote Originally Posted by jwm2k3 View Post
    Damn Ashwin....thats a lot of extra k's in my username there....

    Anyways, as we spoke about a few times, I would never and have never considered 'program tenants' in the 17 years Ive owned my income property. You shouldn't either.

    Take your time, interview prospective tenants, use your intuition and judgment of charater to decide. Of course I recommend whatever checks you want to perform on the prospects.

    Youll be good buddy. Youre a smart guy!
    I've owned rental units for 19 years. This is good advice. Credit checks and criminal background checks tend to scare away deadbeats and people looking to rip you off. They're looking for easy targets. We ask the applicant to provide us the paperwork rather than we file for this information. If a tenant really wants the apartment, they'll get you the information you are requesting.

    As mentioned before, watch what you say and advertise. Even when showing the apartment, do nothing that would indicate discrimination, do not roll your eyes, shrug a shoulder, do not raise an eyebrow. I had one applicant tell me he was on assistance because he was mentally ill. He then told me not to worry, he's not crazy, he's only doing it because it's difficult for Them to prove he's not. This was in front of his 10 year old son. Boy I've got stories, I could write a book. You can't imagine how many divorced couples still living together because they can collect more money as individuals I have interviewed.

    I personally have no problem with people on assistance. The problem I have is that about 95% of the applicants I have interviewed are milking the system. They make no effort to conceal that they are milking the system, some even brag. They are proud of how easily they can "earn a free living" and how creative they are in taking advantage of the multiple programs.

    Bottom line, too many are robbing the system. If they are comfortable screwing all of us (the system,) then they'll have no issue screwing you.

    My 2 cents......

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