As many of you know I am a housing provider for Inlivian (Section 8). I read the article yesterday in the Charlotte Observer, “Developers Taking Public Funds Should Accept Rent Vouchers-CEO of Inlivian states.” I would like to agree with the article but I cannot. I was always interested in being a Section 8 landlord despite the bad rap that comes with it. I asked many questions before I signed the dotted line and was promised landlords have a safe and effective liaison between tenant and landlord should issues arise. From my experience and many others these words are 100% false. I network with many landlords who will never do business with Inlivian ever again and will lobby until the day they retire their homes not to have to ever offer their home to voucher recipients. The stories of how the organization leaves landlords in the dust in plentiful. Inlivian has an over 5000 person waitlist. I have spoke to applicants who literally have one day left on their voucher because landlords will not accept Section 8 recipients. Maybe Inlivian needs to start asking us landlords why and what they can do to fix this crisis before they say we must and expect the way rent is paid to be part of fair housing.
I am dealing with a situation right now where I built affordable housing, brand new construction, with intent to rent to Inlivian or one of the many organizations which I also am a housing provider. I currently have a voucher family in one of these units who has caused me nothing but trouble, stress, anxiety and a loss of sleep since she, her family, and other family members not on the lease have moved in. I have asked Inlivian many times for assistance, worked my way up the chain in the organization to be met with silence, broken promises, no returned emails and phone calls. One of the Inlivian representatives told me to “just go file eviction” for this tenant who is breaking all of the HUD rules and my lease rules. We all know by the time I get in front of a judge, pay to get there, I may or may not win this day in age. Not only am I a housing provider, I pay taxes that assist in funding these programs. Families are doing illegal activity, allowing additional people to live under our roofs and the organization is hiding from us landlords who beg and plead (kindly) for help. This particular family, and many I have heard of from others, laugh in our face when we send letters to let them know we are aware of the additional people they moved in, the destruction of the home, the illegal drug use, etc. They know how it works and they know the chances of us proving the violations are slim. The only person that suffers emotionally and financially is the landlord. A simple surprise visit from the organization can often help us fix these issues. The organization says they will do site visits when issues arise but they don’t.
One side cannot demand and expect us landlords and investors to be the only ones who sacrifice our assets. These organizations who ask landlords for our homes have to do better when it comes to accountability of the tenant (their client). Sweeping issues under the rug, allowing clients to not adhere to the rules and not hearing us landlords is not the way. Landlords have to follow organization rules and inspection checklists all year long and have random site visits-often with no notice. We have to use our funds to meet their expectations on the unit inspections. Why are the organizations making us adhere to the rules but the clients (our tenants) can do whatever they want to do?
Many of us want to assist in being the change but when we feel we are alone after trying to be the change, we throw our hands up and say never again.
I appreciate you reading the landlord side.