It has been a while since I sat down to write. My life as a landlord has been a complete chaotic mess in
the last 60 days. I purchased my duplexes in Hidden Valley and built two because I knew there was a
need for affordable and workforce housing. I wanted to bring in cash flow, increase equity and serve a
need. I am doing that, but I never stopped to ask myself if I would like doing it. So, amid the chaos, I
recently asked myself if I am enjoying it. The answer simply is no, I hate it.
Providing this type of housing often comes with dealing with local homeless agencies and government agencies including Roof Above, the VA and Section 8. All three organizations I have worked with to house three families in the last 60 days were (are) horrible to deal with if you have a get it done personality like mine. These agencies could care less to get it done and their integrity and work ethic is at the bottom of the barrel. They take no responsibility for the mistakes they make in placement, take excessive time off, have no one to cover for them when they are gone for weeks and will go a month without responding about poor tenant placement, payments, inspections, money owed, deposits, destruction, etc. I have witnessed narcissistic personalities and extreme gaslighting from Roof Above case managers. One who even said to me, “if you weren’t so particular about your properties, this would be easier for all of us.” Sorry Roof Above case worker, I do not want my rental unit turned into a crack house with urine all over the floor and walls and a stripper pole in the living room. I cannot tell you how many crack pipes I cleaned up from my Roof Above properties. Prior to this experience, I never even knew what one was. Yes donors, this is what you are paying for.
I must admit I used to enjoy working with some of my nonprofit tenants and Section 8 families. The
dynamic of the tenant has shifted so much it makes it hard to enjoy the people or form a relationship.
Nothing is ever enough for them, they lie and break the rules of the lease, they want you to be their beck and call
handyman with white glove service and when you don’t come through you will for the rest of the lease
be known as the horrible, money hungry, landlord and treated as such. Most are coming literally off the street, many from tent city, and although the agencies claim there is a treatment program in place and they are watched, they are not. The prostitution, hard drug and alcohol use is prevalent.
Current State and Going Forward
When people ask me if I recommend renting to nonprofits and Section 8, I used to say absolutely. I do
not say that anymore. I say tread lightly. Here are the reasons I would say, “don’t do it, run and never
1. The tenants are extremely demanding and unpleasant. Many have lengthy criminal and drug backgrounds.
2. The case workers may promise you the world to get their “client” in your home promising you
weekly site visits, counseling, etc. Some may even offer you a bonus. They often lie to your face. Many
caseworkers are paid a bonus themselves if they put a roof above someone’s head. Once the clients
are in, they disappear and leave it to you to manage all of the dirty work, the calls from the
police, the threats, the high maintenance requests, the filth, etc.
3. Ninety nine percent of the time you are enabling people not to work or work hard because they
are collecting handouts from the government or large donors when they are completely capable of working but
know the system and use it very well.
4. Your house is more than likely going to get destroyed. There is no respect for the homes you rent to these agencies. Smashed windows are very common.
5. Tenants will not even care what your lease says and break all the rules including smoking in the
home, drugs, additional people moving in and liter in and outside of the property. Another one
they often break is the no pet rule. They simply do not care about the rules nor have any respect
for authority or the landlord. My last Roof Above tenant rented out the bathrooms to other homeless individuals and collected the money for himself. Mind you, I paid the utility bills. When I informed the caseworker he said, “yes, typical, they are using the home as a bath house.” That was the only communication I received when I told them what was going on.
6. You must wait 60 days for your first rent check to come from the government. If you are
working with a tenant that is using a nonprofit for a free security deposit, get ready to wait 60
days on it too. HUD rules state you must let the tenant move in even if the deposit and rent is not paid. So, if you do not have the cash flow to float these tenants, do not do it.
7. The agencies do not help with damages to the property post move out whether it be physically or
financially. Yes, you are left high and dry.
Here are the reasons I would say do it.
1. After the first 60 days the HUD portion of the rent is deposited on time every month.
2. The nonprofits and Section 8 will pay through a moratorium.
3. Your tenant pool opens up significantly, especially in low-income areas, because voucher
holders do not always have the easiest time finding a landlord that will accept their program.
There you have it. It looks like it is 7/3 in favor of not renting to these programs. I would advise you to
strongly consider and understand what you are going up against if you do decide to be a nonprofit and
Section 8 landlord. It is not easy. But then again, not too much in real estate is. What does the future look like for me? I no longer feel in control of my assets, and I do not like that. I must finish out the leases I have legally and then reevaluate. Chances are, if I do not sell sooner than later, I will not be renewing any of my leases with these agencies.
“Keep your expectations high on achievement and low on people.” The Quest Within