Picking a Property Manager for Section 8 Rentals
This Guest Blog Post is from Jennifer Donley, a blogger at Biggerpockets.com. Today's article is a guide to picking a property manager for your section 8 rentals.
Below I’ve listed some questions you should ask a potential property manager specific to managing Section 8 rentals.
-What percentage of their properties are Section 8 and/or how many Section 8 properties do they manage?
-What specific processes do they have in place for Section 8? (It has additional paperwork and rules).
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 so we can correctly complete the Good Standing Certification.
-What is their average turn time between Section 8 tenants?
-How & when do they request rent increases with the Housing Authorities?
-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 (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 Housing Authority 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 property management company for all the normal things you would ask for.
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.