How Section 8 Decides if Your Rent Is Reasonable

How Section 8 Decides if Your Rent Is Reasonable

One way to attract tenants to your struggling property and ensure higher tenant retention is to pivot to affordable housing. The most popular way to do this is through Section 8, the US Government's rental assistance program.

There are currently more than 3 million Americans in receipt of housing through Section 8, with tens of thousands in Ohio alone. With this program, tenants pay a maximum of 30% of their income on rent, and the government pays you - the landlord - the rest of the rental amount.

But in order to qualify as a Section 8 landlord, the government must first confirm that the rent you wish to charge is reasonable. How do they decide this? Read on to find out.

When Does the Government Assess Your Rent Levels for Section 8?

If you wish to offer your rental properties via Section 8, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will assess the rent you wish to charge. They do this because, as the tenant pays a capped amount, the government will be paying the rest directly to you.

But this is not the only time HUD will go through your books. They will also perform an assessment when you increase rent, the lease is up for renewal, and if the Columbus Public Housing Authority decides to conduct a spending review.


One of the most important criteria is location. As you already know, real estate is all about location, location, location.

They will conduct a local market analysis to see what other properties in the same neighborhood are renting for, and then compare it to what you wish to charge. They may also consider location-related factors such as schools, public transport availability, amenities, and commute times.

Property Type

Next up, you can expect HUD to examine the type of property you wish to rent out. This chiefly concerns size and is not just limited to your square footage. After all, a one-bedroom apartment with 900 square feet is not going to rent for the same price as a two-bedroom apartment of the same size.

They will also look at whether the home is an apartment, townhouse, detached home, bungalow, or otherwise. They will look at amenities such as outdoor space and laundry or your HOA fees to determine whether your rental pricing strategies are in line with the market.

Property Quality

Finally, HUD will likely visit your property and perform an in-depth quality inspection. The government does not take kindly to slumlords, and they will not approve your application if they deem the quality of your housing to be substandard.

You can expect them to check for the presence of mold, the safety features of the property, and how well all of the utilities function. This is to ensure that landlords are not taking advantage of either Columbus tenants or Uncle Sam.

We Can Help With Rental Pricing Strategies

If you are planning to apply for section 8, your rental pricing strategies need to be airtight. You need to know that what you are charging is in line with the local market, the type, and the quality of your properties.

For this, we can help. At PMI Columbus, our property management professionals can help you find a price that is both fair and that offers the right returns. You can reach out to receive a free and expert rental analysis on your property.