Should Landlords Rent To Section 8 Tenants?

Performance Property Real Estate Question

Q: Gerald, some people say section 8 is great for landlords and others say it’s a disaster. Should I rent to section 8 tenants? Shane, Scotch Plains, NJ

A: Although the Fair Housing Act doesn’t offer protection to tenants based on their source of income, more and more places in the US are adding that protection to local fair housing rules. Legal or not, I don’t think it’s smart business to disqualify a potential tenant based on their source of income. There are good and bad tenants within any group of applicants. One of the keys to being a successful landlord is having a well thought through, repeatable process to screen tenants. Section 8 is almost guaranteed money for landlords which insulates a property owner from risks like a tenant losing their job. There is no full proof sources of good tenants–there is also no substitute for doing your due diligence with each tenant applicant. Making broad generalizations about huge swaths of tenant applicants is not a smart way to find the best tenants and weed out problem tenants–it will lead to eliminating some good potential long-term tenants.

Thanks for your question, Shane. For more real estate information and tips visit my blog at