Before you jump in, let me preface this…part of my approach is to challenge you as an investor to look at things through a different lens. The one flaw that many investors inherit is not approaching investing for themselves…not placing your own personality, preferences, and resources first. Many new investors adopt a style because someone they know or admire has made it work….this is a very personalized venture and there are 1,001 ways to make it work.

Now…onto the post…

That’s right…you read the title correctly; I do not want my tenants to have jobs. Sound crazy?…think again. When I think about money, I think about the giant paper sheets of 20’s being printed by the government…and about the 2011 government bailout, when four guys in cubicles administered more than $16 trillion (yes that is with a “T”) made up electronic dollars to the entire nation.

The point is money only exists to the point you believe it does…and the government has an uncanny knack at passing huge bills to pay for public services that keep many Americans afloat. It’s rare for the government to get directly involved in building, providing, or managing housing, but they will pay individuals in the private sector to satisfy these needs by offering incentives. Millions of Americans are under-housed or homeless right now and the federal government has a vested interest in seeing that these folks get housed through multiple programs.

“As an income property owner, my goal is to promote long-term stability, eliminate vacancy, reduce operating costs, and collect rent on time every month, month after month.”

By carefully screening tenants and placing individuals on Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) with social security (SSI and/or SSDI) I can accomplish the proverbial “trifecta” of real estate investing. Think about it…my tenants have guaranteed full or partial voucher-paid rent and get paid a lump sum every month on the 3rd of the month…month in and month out…guaranteed…to top it off, if I have tenants with only partial voucher payments that have a decline in income, the housing authority will adjust their payment to cover the shortfall, guaranteeing rent.

As property owners and managers, it’s our job to provide safe, clean, and appropriately priced places for folks to live. In return, we have a guaranteed rent check with planned annual increases until the tenants die in their apartment….morbid but true.

“So, you may be asking, how do you find these people?… It’s not that hard.”

Ok, I will be the first to admit this is a difficult pill to swallow…and there are some huge misconceptions in the industry about what placing voucher tenants entails…or actually means. Most people call this “Section 8” out of convenience, but there are many housing choice vouchers to consider…including specialty programs like Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH).

Here’s a quick tip: The Public Housing Authority (PHA), referred to as the Metropolitan Housing Authority (MHA), or “Metro”, is the go-to for public housing programs in every state…PHA’s usually operate at the county level but can be at the city level in larger cities. PHA’s administer the federal voucher programs for The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can find your PHA here: State Information | / US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Back to the point…by building a relationship with your local housing authority you can tap into the voucher world…and it’s really as simple as registering and opening your unit to voucher holding applicants. I will say that the smaller the PHA, the easier it will be to work with them…major metropolitan areas have more people and larger PHA’s that operate more like a machine and can be difficult to navigate.

There are a couple of very important distinctions to make here

1- Voucher tenants do not get special treatment, meaning that they are subject to your standard tenant screening process and will be on your standard lease (with a few helpful addenda added by the housing authority). It should be noted that your standard income requirements for tenants will not work with voucher tenants…so, you won’t meet a 3x earning requirement; however, the voucher is awarded based on complex calculations performed by the PHA to determine the voucher amount….meaning the tenant has to meet income standards to afford utilities, food, etc. 2- HUD Fair Market Rents (FMR) are not guaranteed monthly rent. Voucher amounts are based on the bedroom count…so, the more bedrooms, the higher the rent. For example, say a 3BR FMR is $1,000/mo. and everything in your market is renting at $900/mo…the PHA will do a market analysis to see if your rental rate is “reasonable” before approving the rate….referred to as “rent reasonableness.” Add caution to the wind…charging an unsupported premium to the federal government is not a good idea under any circumstances.

The truth of the matter is that there is an extreme shortage of affordable housing in the United States…extreme….I mean extreme….around 7,000,000 units to be exact. If you as a rental property owner can help fill the gap, you’ll reap the rewards of long-term tenants paying market rents with built in annual rent increases. All by housing people that have no job. Resource:

This is only the tip of the iceberg when discussing vouchers and affordable housing…at the time of this writing I manage 162 voucher units across 5 counties and growing rapidly…if you would like to connect about this topic, drop me a line at I’m happy to continue the conversation.