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Do HOAs have to accept Section 8 tenants?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | HOA Law |

Section 8 participants in Texas searching for a place to call home may find their way into your community and express interest in becoming tenants. Welcoming these individuals as residents can bring benefits. The government subsidizes their rent, reducing the risk of late payments.

However, misconceptions surrounding Section 8 tenants could unsettle the community, giving rise to tension and discord. Exercising caution when dealing with Section 8 is a must to avoid the risk of legal complications.

What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program?

The Housing Choice Voucher program is a form of government-funded rental assistance available to low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities. Through Section 8 vouchers, individuals from these groups can gain access to affordable, safe, and clean housing. These federal housing vouchers cover a portion of the rent.

Pros and cons of accepting Section 8 renters

The program offers several advantages for landlords and HOAs in Texas. A large pool of Section 8 participants suggests a high demand for housing, potentially reducing vacancies. Applicants must also undergo strict screening before being admitted into the program. A clean criminal record and a solid rental history are some of the most crucial qualifications.

As Section 8 tenants, they must abide by government regulations when renting. Furthermore, the state subsidizes a major portion of their rent, which landlords often receive on time.

Still, there are some downsides to consider. Opening the doors to Section 8 renters could invite bureaucracy, routine property inspections, and very concerned investors. Moreover, involvement with a government program might limit your control over rent rates.

Texas HOAs cannot discriminate against Section 8 renters

Federal law does not obligate HOAs or landlords to accept Section 8 tenants. Nevertheless, ensuring that your rental policies do not inadvertently discriminate is important to avoid countless lawsuits.

In 2023, Texas enacted a law prohibiting HOAs from discriminating against tenants based on income. This move resulted from the stark realization that it has become common practice to use income or employment requirements to exclude Section 8 renters.

As the HOA, you set the standards that maintain harmony and order in the neighborhood. So, how can you ensure your HOA is on the right track?

An experienced HOA law attorney can offer tailored advice, ensuring your policies are legally compliant while safeguarding your community’s best interests. Remember, your leadership is instrumental in building a safe and welcoming environment for residents.