If you are a regular reader of this site, then you already know that I am a huge fan of Section 8 housing. I won’t go into answering the question of what is section 8 because I’ve already covered the ins and outs of being a section 8 landlord, but the main benefit – which is absolutely huge – is that all or most of the monthly rental income for your section 8 tenants is guaranteed. The local housing authority in your town will pay their portion of the rent on the first of every month without fail. It’s never late and it can be automatically direct deposited into your bank account. It’s about as close to passive income as you can get with regards to rental properties.
Of course, like just about everything in life there are pros and cons to section 8, and the biggest con is the fact that you’ll be subjected to yet another annual building inspection. The good news is that if you know what the inspector is going to be looking for, and you adequately prepare in advance, your section 8 housing inspections will be smooth as silk. Thus, the purpose of the embedded video immediately below is to summarize what is section 8 looking for when it does inspections.
WHAT SECTION 8 INSPECTORS LOOK FOR
One of the first things the inspector will look at is all the electrical outlets, plugs and switches within the rental unit to make sure they work properly. The video goes so far as to show you the actual tool that the inspector will use to check these things, with the idea being that you can purchase the tool (less than $10) and check the outlets yourself in advance. Make sure the outlets are connected properly and there are no open grounds or exposed wiring. Also make sure that you have GFI or GFCI outlets in all the bathrooms and kitchens, as these are safer because they will automatically shut off when exposed to water. Also test all the light switches to make sure they work.
Another thing that all section 8 inspectors will check is the condition of the smoke detectors. These must all be working properly, so make sure you test them in advance and replace the batteries as needed. The inspector will also check to ensure that you have an adequate number of smoke detectors in the unit, which generally means that every hallway and bedroom must have one.
Next, check all the plumbing fixtures such as sinks, tubs and toilets. Run the water in all the fixtures to make sure they are operational, and check underneath to make sure that there are no leaks. The section 8 inspector will also scope out all the appliances (stove, refrigerator, etc.), as well as the heating mechanism, to ensure proper operation. Note that the provision of air conditioning is not required, only heat.
The section 8 housing inspector will also check all the windows to ensure that at least 1 window per room functions properly (i.e., it opens easily, locks properly, and will stay in the open position without sliding down). He or she will also check the weather stripping around the doors. If light shines through the edges of a door due to an inadequate amount of weather stripping, you will most likely fail the inspection.
SUMMARY OF SECTION 8 HOUSING STANDARDS
Of course there are other section 8 housing inspection items as well, but the ones mentioned above are the most critical ones, so make sure you are covered on these at a minimum. So let’s do a quick summary of what is section 8 looking for. Make sure the plugs, switches, outlets and smoke detectors work as expected, that the windows open and close properly, that all the plumbing and fixtures work well and are leak free, that the heating unit and appliances are operational, and that the doors have an adequate amount of weather stripping around them. Focus on these items first and foremost, and your section 8 inspection will be relatively pain free. Good luck!