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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 115449
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I am renting my condo and there is a maximum six month lease

Customer Question

I am renting my condo and there is a maximum six month lease (not renewable) allowed in our association since we are predominantly a vacation rental property. I require first and last months rent as well as a security deposit equal to one months rent.
I have been advised that if a person applies with a Section 8 voucher, I am forced to choose them over other applicants even if they will not pay my security deposit.
Don't I have the right to rent to whom I choose as long as I do not discriminate against anyone?
Also, our association requires a rider to be signed by both owner and tenant at time of lease which gives the association the power to evict or fine if the owner is not successful in controlling any ill behavior of their tenant? Is it true that in the case of Section 8 rentals, the contract is between the Housing Authority and the Landlord and that the ASsociation would have no recourse with the tenant, even if the rider was signed?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You do NOT have to take a Section 8 person if they cannot pay all of the deposits. You are being warned to not discriminate based on Section 8, which would violate the Fair Housing Act, but that would mean that you cannot deny housing based only on the Section 8 voucher. If the person can pay the deposit and necessary payments, they are not being denied because of Section 8.
Unfortunately, if there is a need for eviction the housing authority has to be involved, even if the tenant signs the rider to allow the association to evict the tenant, because the housing authority is the one who provides the section 8 payments.
As long as your policy is that if the tenant cannot pay the deposits required, you do not rent to them whether they are section 8 or not section 8 (and hold strong to that policy, because HUD sometimes sends out investigators to try to get you to agree to waive those deposits which would then allow them to make a case for discrimination under Section 8 against you).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not entirely clear on your answer. If a person applies to my condo and has a section 8 voucher, but they do not pass my credit screening and/or legal history screening, can I deny them based on those items (same as I would deny a person without a voucher)? Or if I have another applicant that I prefer, am I free to make that choice?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I thought I was pretty clear, I am sorry. You MAY DENY THEM if they do not pass THE SAME CREDIT CHECK AS EVERY OTHER TENANT even those not on Section 8. I did say that above.
If you do not make a choice of tenant based on whether or not they have a Section 8 voucher, you are free to choose a tenant for any other reason.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is still one point that you did not address. Our association (since we are predominately a vacation property by the beach) has a six month maximum lease (not renewable). We are being cautioned by other landlords that if a Section 8 tenant rents from one of us and even though he/she signs the lease indicating maximum 6 months non renewable, that the Housing Authority will not recognize that limitation and will force you to allow the tenant to stay longer if they wish. Please clarify for me about this point.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
It is harder to get Section 8 tenants out, but if they sign a lease for 6 months then that is what they are bound to. Furthermore, HUD is not likely to even approve them taking a 6 month temporary vacation rental, especially if your lease says it is a 6 month VACATION rental. However, it is not true that once they sign the lease if they do not leave in 6 months that HUD will make it so they have to stay longer, you may still evict them at the end of the lease like any other tenant.

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