Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management
As a Saint Petersburg property management company, we work with a great deal of Section 8 rentals. The challenge we always have is some portion of this tenant base is filthy, and they cause a tremendous amount of damage while living in our homes.
We’ve noticed over the years as a St Petersburg property manager, the worst of the worst Section 8 tenant are newer tenants on the program. We no longer accept anyone who just got on the program, because there is no proof they will be clean and decent tenants.
The second thing we discovered is the worst Section 8 tenants tend to be
filthy. When they move out, we almost always deal with an infestation of roaches. This type of tenant usually causes a huge repair bill, to get the home ready for the next tenant.
We initially would intentionally forget to have them sign something, so we could visit their current home (the one they were leaving for our home) to see how clean they were. The challenge was they wouldn’t let us in. Finally, it dawned on me that we should approach this differently.
Now we have a prospective Section 8 tenant that we tentatively approve, to sign a document that authorizes us to inspect their current home. We are looking for roach infestation, and look under sinks and vanities, because you can’t hide or clean up quickly for that. If we see a bunch of roaches scurrying away, when we open these dark places, we know the problem is much worse. The client is denied.
We do not accept Section 8 tenants that moved from out of state or are not living in a Section 8 rental except under extraordinary circumstances. What would be extraordinary? They have extremely good rental history and credit scores. This is very rare, so we will overlook an inspection, if a Section tenant shows up from out of town or for some reason doesn’t currently live in a home.
My operating philosophy is if a tenant is extremely dirty, with roaches everywhere in their current home, I can be assured that my rental home will look exactly like that in short order.
If the Section 8 tenant is new to the program (especially with no rental history), we pass and let other landlords test them out. This is not discriminating, because we apply this standard to everyone regardless of race, color, national origin, etc.
There is a decent percentage of Section 8 tenants that are good, clean folks that take care of their home. They appreciate the government assistance on their rent and do their best to be good stewards of their home. These are obviously the group we are looking to rent to. Finding them just requires patience, discipline and work.