Property Management Education

You Now Must Accept Section 8 in Your Denver Rental Property

Marc Cunningham - Monday, October 29, 2018

Did you know? Beginning January 1, 2019, residential real estate investors and property managers will be required by law to accept Section 8 tenants as applicants in all Denver county rental properties. 

The new legislation is a result of the housing shortage in Denver. HUD has added a new protected class to its list — source of income. If someone is receiving government assistance as a source of income, landlords must now consider those tenants for their vacant rental units. Source of income is no longer an acceptable qualifier when screening applicants.

Below are a few notable items to keep in mind as this new law takes effect:

  1. Section 8 is no longer called Section 8
    The term Section 8 has unfortunately gained a negative connotation in the real estate sector. Prepare to instead hear names like Unison Housing Partners and Housing Choice Voucher in reference to government-assisted voucher programs. Be sure you are up-to-date on these types of programs as you now must accept them as applicants. 

  2. Applicants must still qualify and meet your existing qualification standards
    This is likely to be a challenge in the Denver investment real estate space because most Section 8 tenants will not be able to meet your existing screening criteria. If they could, they probably wouldn’t require government assistance. Owners must be fair in their screening processes and should take caution as not to discriminate based on an applicant’s source of income. You can fairly decline an applicant; however, you must consider voucher-assisted applicants.

Bottom line, you as a Denver rental property owner cannot deny an applicant based on their source income. The source of an applicant’s income can no longer be taken into consideration during your screening process. 

HUD will be enforcing this new law, primarily by calling to inquire on vacant units listed for rent. Property managers and landlords should be prepared to allow housing vouchers come January 1, 2019, or risk the consequences of being non-compliant.

As the new law takes effect, Denver investors are likely to face some challenges or have questions. We’re happy to offer any advice or guidance on the new Section 8 legislation. Give our team a call. 303-255-1990

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