What lessons have we learned from all that we recently went through
evicting our Section 8 tenant?
- While the ordeal we underwent could have easily taken place
with a tenant who was not involved with Section 8, the fact of
the matter is that our experience was with a Section 8 tenant.
Ms. Eight's behavior reflects poorly on the whole system and
one "bad apple can certainly ruin the barrel." Rather than a role
model, Ms. Eight is a model example of what can go terrible
wrong. Ironically, the day we were proceeding with the eviction,
an innocent, newly-sanctioned Section 8 voucher holder
approached and asked if the house would soon be available for
rent. Our only response was to wish the gentlemen good luck
and to thank Ms. Eight for giving the program a bad reputation.
Here's to squandering the "opportunity" she sought and giving
the whole system a black eye!
What happened with Ms. Eight will make any other landlord in
the City of Frederick, rightfully so, weary and reluctant to take
on such tenants. Any expansion of the Section 8 system will
need to take into account the need to overcome entrenched
prejudices and misgivings about the system.
Because of Ms. Eight's lack of personal accountability and
responsibility, the financial and time burden to process eviction
notices, hire laborers and clean out a townhouse fell on us. We
are still in shock at the audacity of a person to actually continue
living in a rented townhouse - knowing full well that they had not
paid the rent for over a year and had been served an eviction
Are other landlords prepared to take this financial risk?
While the law allows for the tenant to ultimately be responsible
for the expenses the landlord has incurred, this too will require
more legal action and expense with no guarantee of ever
recovering any damages and/or losses.
While the lease was between Ms. Eight and us, the Housing
Authority was to make annual monitoring visits and bears, in
our perspective, a huge responsibility in ensuring the quality of
the living situation as well as the overall condition of the rental
unit. After all, it was the Housing Authority that was paying the
largest percentage of the bill! An addendum to the lease
absolves the Housing Authority and the Section 8 program from
any liability - "a landlord beware provision."
The filth and squalor found in our townhouse as a result of our
Section 8 tenant do not exhibit "quality" living conditions. It is an
utter disgrace that federal taxpayer dollars went to pay the rent
of a tenant who choose to live in totally unacceptable
This is not maintaining a fiduciary responsibility whatsoever to
the public trust and public funding. Rather, this perpetuates an
entitlement mentality, counter to the underlying goals of an ideal
Section 8 program.
The Housing Authority needs to take its responsibility more
Our Section 8 tenant received housing subsidization for over
seven years in the townhouse we own. The success of the
Section 8 program must be measured by how many people it
manages to get off assistance and not how long it keeps
people on it.
There should be preset timeframes as to how long a tenant can
count on Section 8 assistance and such assistance should
gradually diminish as a tenant works closer and closer toward
self sufficiency and mainstream living without the dependency
of a Section 8 voucher.
There is no doubt that we have a sour taste in our mouths regarding
renting to a Section 8 tenant. Though this may be an isolated case, it
has system-wide ramifications. If the Section 8 program is to
continue, it needs to be massively overhauled and reworked so that
other willing landlords will not experience what we went through.
Addressing points 1-4 above is a good place to start and should be
considered in any discussion about the future of subsidized housing
in the City of Frederick.