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Section 8 Reforms Under New HUD Leader Ben Carson

Updated on January 19, 2017

To truly test your friends and colleagues to see if they really believe in the Section 8 housing gospel or are just conforming to social desirability bias, just dare them to rent out their house to a section 8 tenant. I live in NYC and a quick search on Zillow will tell you the median price of a house in Brooklyn will cost $800k and constantly rising. If I had a mortgage for 700k – 800k and rely on rent to help pay the mortgage I certainly wouldn’t rent to section 8 and risk losing my house. Mortgage payments and insurance at these prices alone would cost 4k to 7k a month. Add in daily living expenses and I’m screwed if a section 8 tenant decides to skip out on rent or worst yet destroy the property. Most New Yorkers wouldn’t have the money to go to court or make the necessary repairs; dooming new homeowners to foreclosure. Section 8 housing, controlled by the Housing and Urban Development Program, is one of the most mismanaged programs in New York City. But there is hope. Trump had won the presidential election and Ben Carson will be in charge of leading the HUD. Carson has no idea what type of problems the HUD faces. And it is for this very reason why he is the best qualified person for the job; it’s about time we get a pair of fresh eyes. Years of fairy tale liberal misdirection for Section 8 has kept the poorest people in the slums of NYC for too long, unable to climb out.

Advocates of the program praise it for helping millions of struggling families pay their rent and escaping dangerous neighborhoods. Affording them more opportunities to live in better communities with better jobs. If this is the case, then why are section 8 tenants still clustered into the same high crime areas? Currently section 8 covers about 70% of the monthly rent, while the tenant pays the rest. This sounds great on paper but the reality is most landlords don’t ever see that remaining 30%. Those on section 8 are the worst of the worst tenants with only a few exceptions; otherwise they wouldn’t be in the program in the first place. In NYC, you’d have a hard time finding a landlord that accepts section 8, except for those in high crime areas. If the government and all those liberals out there truly believe that those on Section 8 are good people and worth taking a chance on, then put your money where your mouth is; talk is cheap.

Section 8 vouchers only cover 70% of the payments to their landlords. Making the vouchers unattractive to safe and desirable neighborhoods.
Section 8 vouchers only cover 70% of the payments to their landlords. Making the vouchers unattractive to safe and desirable neighborhoods.

Section 8 should pay out 100% of the market value rent based on zip code to the landlord. And the tenant should reimburse 30% to the government. This is similar to how the program currently operates but lessens the burden on the landlord. Landlords own the house and ultimately, they decide who gets to rent THEIR place. The government can pass up any laws they want about income source discrimination, but there are many ways to bypass this through the vetting process. If a landlord truly doesn’t want to rent out to section 8 tenants, then the landlord won’t ever find the “right” section 8 tenant. Landlords out there need to know that accepting section 8 tenants can benefit them as well and not just some expensive societal burden they have to live with.

Under the current program loosing 30% for landlords in a high crime area would be chump change, when getting 70% is more than they would get from the market. Landlords benefit and thus the program is a success in those areas. Landlords in a much more desirable neighborhood have no incentive to take in less than stellar section 8 tenants. It’s a losing deal. In Bay Ridge alone, a 2-bedroom apartment averages for $2,400 a month. Thirty percent would mean $720/month or $8,640/year. Landlords can always evict a tenant for non-payment, but section 8 tenants are special. The process is actually very different and extremely time consuming, sometimes taking up to a whole year or two before they can be evicted. All the while you are losing thousands of dollars, eight to nine grand if we are just talking about Bay Ridge. In Manhattan’s Upper West Side, well… “Fuhgeddaboudit”.

Section 8 Payment Reform

If you recently got a mortgage for $800,000, would you be willing to rent your place out to section 8 tenants knowing you might only get 70% of the promised rent to help pay the mortgage?

See results

Everyone wins if the government pays 100% of the rent for section 8 tenants, including the government. By having the government be in charge of collecting the remaining 30% of the rent from the tenant, they would create thousands of high skilled level jobs in the process: administrative, accounting, legal and everything else in between. More high paying jobs equals higher tax revenue. Currently the landlord has to take their dead-beat tenant to court in order to recover any missed payments or damages to the property. The landlord begins by hiring an expensive lawyer and the tenant would be provided with a lawyer for free. Best case scenario, the landlord wins after months of battles in court and the tenant is ordered to pay up or move out. Throughout this whole process the tenant was staying at your place rent free and you have paid out thousands of dollars in lawyer fees. The tenant obviously can’t pay up, otherwise you would not be in court in the first place, so they move out. Case closed. If someone has no money, the law can’t force them to pay. And it is illegal for the government to garnish their wages for unpaid rent. The only upside to fighting this long battle is that the section 8 tenant will be blacklisted from participating in any government housing assistance program in the future. A small and irrelevant victory. If the HUD is in charge of collecting payments, however, then they can automatically remove someone from the program for non-payment, saving taxpayers time and money; all the while vetting out the bad section 8 tenants at a faster pace and freeing up more vouchers for those who truly deserve it.

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