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Section 8

I have prospective tenants that want to sign a separate agreement outside of their Section 8 agreement to pay the remaining amount of the rent that I'm asking. In other words, Section 8 only covers X and they want a separate agreement for the remaining $450. Has anyone ever dealt with that in MA? Am I being overly suspicious or is something fishy about this?

I would not sign a separate agreement for the balance.  Just write on the lease the portion that she will pay and remember section portion might go up or down depending on the tenants income or if you raise the rent.
Don't do it. If it boils down to going to court, it's illegal and I'm sure your this prospect knows that. They just want to get into the unit. I'm also sure they won't pay you or they'll give you a hard time about it.
Thanks for the info. I actually called this tenants case worker and asked if it was okay and they told me it was fraud! I hope it doesn't get them in trouble as that wasn't my intention. I just wanted to know if what I was thinking of agreeing to was legal.
Tenats have more rights than LL. That tenant was setting you up for a law suit, don't feel bad. Sec 8 tenants know their rights better than most attorneys.
Not me- or any of the LL's I know. It's my experience that Sec8 is too high a risk for the small LL/homeowner.
I'm about to start a new sect 8 lease and getting real nervous about the whole thing. I have an existing tenant who got qualified for S8. She is driving me crazy already.
Listen to your instinct. If you have a bad feeling about it, you should back out. It's nearly impossible to raise rent after the 1st year of the intial term. Take your chance on the open market.
Ask yourself if you can afford $20k in legal fees.  Because if this tenant doesn't work out, that's what you can expect to spend.
Don't do it.  The Housing people will inspect your property and make you incur costs to make changes, then don't protect you when their tenant ends up destroying it all anyway.  Guaranteed payments sound like a great deal, but they don't take into account all the headaches you will have and the damages you will have to deal with.  In the long run, you won't come out ahead.
Oh yeah- you can't willingly increase your rent either the following yr. This is frawned upon. Housing people tell you that you can, but it's a lie. They send you paperwork and they have to approve the increase, and this process takes about 6 mo. - 1 yr before rejection. They stall the process. What's worst, if they decrease their subsidized portion, the tenant is responsible for paying the increase on the remainder, and if they don't pay you, you're collecting less in rent. For ex. if unit is $1155, tenant pays $121, Housing people pay $1034 rent is made. But if housing drops to $1006, the tenant is now reponsible for $29 more rent at a total of $149. Courts will say $29 is petty and force the LL to work out a payment plan with the tenant. Meantime, you've lost more the $29 on the process of getting court. Froms and Filing fees $90 - $135, Constable $75, Parking to go to court $20-$25. This doesn't include the day you took off from work.
OMG  housing just stopped paying for my tenant. They say she has to have a hearing to requalify. Right now I have not been paid August payment and I am also looking at not getting  September  payment. Her lease expires end of  October 2009 and I am not going to renew it. She complains about every thing.  She just came back from Jaimaica (went there for holiday). I had to track her down to send me her potion of the rent via western union. Never again.  How can you afford to go on vacation when your rent has not been paid?
Start the eviction process ASAP. She is responsible for the remainder of the rent. If housing has stopped payments, it's a serious or they feel she's able to afford the rent on her own. It's advantagous for you to go to court to evict her NOW, IMMEDIATELY while you can prove that housing is no longer paying for her and she's unable to because she's on vacation in Jamaica.   Good luck
I have to laugh at all these posts.  ANY tenant is a gamble, and the only thing housing will make you repair are things you SHOULD repair as a landlord.  I have had several section 8 tenants.  All of them were properly screened (credit check, references, etc.) and every one of them has worked out.  I have one tenant that has been in my same rental for 5 years and has had one HOA notice about something that was out of her control.    I think people are being unrealistic with their horror stories.  Eviction is expensive with normal tenants.  The nice thing about Section 8 is that the good tenants fear their assistance will be taken away and often do not pose much harm.   On the flipside I have rented to non-section 8 renters and have had an entire host of issues.
I have to agree with TK. I'm in CA and I've used Housing for 25 yrs. Yes, there has been some problems, but no different than the non-Housing. Sometimes rent is a little late, but the usually pay up. You can always send the tenant a 3-day notice to pay or quit. A copy should always be sent to housing. This tends to get the tenant to pay up. If they don't, they could loose their voucher. The same is true if they owe you money at move-out. Back in the day it was wasn't as good for landlords. If tenants didn't pay what they owed, not much was done. Today, it's a different ball game. Some of my Housing tenants stayed for 8-12 yrs. As far as rent increases, Housing checks the local rent market each yr. If you make substantial improvements or can justify) a rent increase  (similar rents in the neighborhood, they'll reconsider your increase. Don't expect to get more than what the market will bear.
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