Section 8 Tenant Looking for A Place to Rent
Let’s assume that you are a tenant in the Section 8 program, you have the Section 8 Voucher ready and you have started to search for rentals to move in to.
As you probably already know, it is not easy to find landlords that take Section 8. While Section 8 tenants are a lot more than landlord-accepted Section 8, there is still a deficit in landlords. For that reason, it is challenging to search rentals within the Section 8 Program.
I will guide you step by step and help you look for a Section 8 place for rent in the best way. Let’s begin!
Steps to Become a Section 8 Tenant
Create an account on hellosection8.com by clicking here.
Complete your profile on hellosection8.com, without leaving any blank spaces.
It is important to complete the registration and provide all the necessary information to the Section 8 website. That way, the landlords will know more about you and be able to contact you easily to speak with you about the rental. You can write if you are looking for apartments, a house, single family home, condos, townhouse, duplex, triplex, fourplex, or a mobile home; if you are looking for low-income housing; your employment status, etc.
Keep in mind that there are more tenants looking for landlords than vice versa. For that reason, landlords frequently don’t take the time to post a Section 8 listing. Instead, they search for a tenant themselves. If your profile is fully completed and the landlords like it, they can contact you directly, without posting the Section 8 listing.
Stay active on-site. After you sign up, start to search for prospective rentals.
If you like a property, print out the Section 8 listing or write down the information provided on the site. Do your own research on the property before calling the landlord.
Call the landlord on the phone number you find on-site or email them.
If the landlord picks up the phone, it will be easier for you to communicate and ask all the questions you have regarding the property. However, almost 95% of the landlords don’t pick up the phone when the potential tenants call. In that case, you will need to leave a message and hope that the landlord will call you back. You must understand that landlords get up to 20, 30 or even more calls a day so their voice mails are always full. Still, a landlord will check every message and delete the ones that he/she is not interested in. The landlord will only respond to a few messages that he/she finds the most interesting.
Most tenants call a landlord and leave a short message, such as:
“My name is Maria. I am interested in your property. Can you please call me back? My phone number is…” If you leave a message of this kind, the landlord will most likely not respond back to you.
You need to leave an effective message with information that a landlord needs.
Your message should sound like this:
My name is Maria. I saw your Section 8 listing on hellosection8.com and I would like to see your property as soon as possible. I have a 3-bedroom voucher and my monthly rent portion is zero. I have 3 children - 2 boys, and a girl. The boys are 10 and 14 years old and the girl is 4 years old. In summary, there are 4 people in my family. My rental history in the past 5 years is very good and I am looking for a place where I could move in as soon as possible.
Looking forward to your response! If you would like to return my call, my number is. . .”
By leaving a message of that kind, the landlord will have all the information he needs about you. If he is okay with your situation, the landlord will call you back and you can start the discussion.
After you leave the message, write down the phone number that belongs to the property address.
When the landlord calls you back, his phone number will show up and you can track the address of the property with the landlord’s phone number. Then, you can start a conversation with the landlord.
Most tenants don’t note the number nor track the address. Instead, the tenants will ask the landlords where the property is located, what is the exact address, etc. They might even add that they have been calling many landlords before, so they don’t know exactly where the house is. – That is not good.
You need to make the landlord feel that you are very serious about his property. When the landlord calls you back, you should already know the address and details of his Section 8 listing. That way, the two of you can go straight to the point of the rental, without the unnecessary introduction.
When you are on the phone with the landlord, ask him/her to set up a time to meet so you can see the property closely.
If you set up the time of meeting, for example, for tomorrow at 10:00AM, do some research the day before. You can search the area on Google and find useful information. You can find the nearest school where your kids might attend, see how far away the house is from the church and groceries store; do some brief research on the neighborhood, etc.
On the appointment date, try to be there around 30 to 45 minutes before the set time. You can use that time to walk around the neighborhood and get to know the area better. My suggestion is to take at least 1 kid with you. You can walk together around the area slowly while having a conversation and observing the neighborhood. In the meantime, you can ask yourself if that’s the area you want to live in. In addition, you can talk to another tenant nearby and ask what they think about the area.
Go back to the rental property around 5 to 10 minutes before the appointment. Double-check if you have your Section 8 Voucher with you, as well as some cash or money order.
When the landlord arrives, and you start viewing the property, pay close attention to every detail.
If you don’t like the property for rent, simply tell the landlord that you don’t find the house convenient for your needs and tell them the exact reason why. You can also ask the landlord if they have another property to rent. If they don’t, wish them all the best and you can part ways.
If you like the property, ask the landlord how to proceed with the rental process. Tell them that you are interested in the property and you would like to rent it out. Explain your situation in detail.
You can tell the landlord the basic information of your family through a story, perhaps show them family photos on your smartphone. Name all the members and their ages, etc. Keep in mind that the landlord is really interested in knowing the age of every member who is going to live in the property. Landlords also like to know the genders and a little bit about the personality of each kid. That way, the landlords can imagine the kind of lifestyle that you are promoting in the house.
Show the landlord your Section 8 Voucher. Landlords are very interested in knowing the limit of your Section 8 Voucher. They also want to know how much of the rent is your portion and when you may be planning to move into his property.
Tell the landlord your rental history.
“I have been on the Section 8 Voucher since 2000. I have been at the address 6815 N 35Th Ave for 3 years, then I moved to the next address 3221 W 19Th Street, where I lived for 2 years. Now, I am looking for a new place to move in because … (give the reason why you are moving).”
Additionally, if the previous landlord will refund you the deposit, tell your future landlord about it.
By telling your future landlord that you will get the refund of your security deposit, you will provide a sense of reliability. Only good tenants that keep a property in a good condition get a security deposit back after moving out.
If the landlord decides to rent to you right now, give them the Section 8 Voucher paperwork and ask them to fill it out. In addition, ask the landlord if you can pay a small deposit to “seal the deal.” You can ask the landlord to take a certain amount of cash or money order and give you a specific confirmation. That confirmation should contain the receipt you paid and a note that the landlord is interested in renting the property to you and work on your Section 8 Voucher paperwork.
If the landlord is not interested in renting the Section 8 property to you now, ask them for the application. Following this, fill out the application and return it back to the landlord. Do not forget to write down your contact phone number.
Thank the landlord for their time and say that you hope they will reach out to you again with good news!
I hope this guide will help you to rent the best house, single family home, condos, apartments, townhouse, duplex, triplex, fourplex, or a mobile home. Keep in mind that you must be patient and do not rush for the first Section 8 listing. Although there aren’t too many landlords in the Section 8 Program, you need to find a home that’s convenient for you. Wait for the right opportunity to go Section 8 and access this beneficial low-income housing program.