Tips for successfully renting your unit to applicants with housing vouchers
Just like with prospective market tenants, it is important to screen your prospective voucher holder tenants, such as CHA, Section 8, or other programs. In this article, I will go over the steps we take, and what you can and can’t do when screening a subsidized applicant. And then, we will take a deep dive on how to increase your chances of finding a subsidized tenant!
“Yay! We received an application for our apartment! How do we decide if we should take this applicant on as a tenant?”
First off, we want to follow our screening process, which we have previously explained, with one exception- income. The reason is, the government is paying on their behalf, be it a partial rent payment, a full rent payment, or perhaps even all-inclusive (such as utilities)! Therefore, it is assumed the voucher holder has the means to pay rent, based on their voucher. Remember: It is a Fair Housing violation to have different criteria in terms of credit and background for subsidized and market rent. Everyone needs to be treated the same.
Now that you ran their credit, and verified their tenancy, the next question is to ask about their voucher. If you have a four bedroom home, and they have a one bedroom voucher, the odds are you will not get fair market value for the home. With that being said, if you are struggling to find a tenant, accepting a two-bedroom voucher holder in a three or four bedroom unit may be a good alternative over waiting another month to find a tenant. For CHA applicants, you can find what amount they cap their rent at for each voucher by reaching out to them on their website TheCHA.org.
“So, I’ve decided I want to increase my chances of getting a subsidized tenant. What can I do?”
If you prefer a voucher holder to a market tenant, there are ways to advertise directly to, and increase the odds of, getting one! The most common way for Chicago rentals is utilizing a website called AffordableHousing.com. This is the site CHA has their tenants visit in order to find properties to rent, and is a great resource to find a new tenant. They have free, and paid, options to list your property, and we have rented out units through this service both ways. My suggestion would be to try to list for free for a few days and see if you get any hits. If not, then perhaps consider paying to bump it up. This will also allow you to reverse-prospect for prospective tenants.
Beyond the above goldmine, working with local housing charities such as the VA or other housing initiatives is a great way to find new tenants. This just involves picking up the phone, introducing yourself, and letting these folks know you have places available and are happy to work with them.
Don’t want to deal with any of this drama? We have a solution! Give Chicago Style Management a call at 224-601-5415 and let us find you your next tenant! If you want to go one step forward, have us take care of your property! We’ll handle the CHA paperwork and tenant calls at 2am.