Many people mistakenly think that if they're approved for federal housing aid, they are guaranteed a home. It's not that simple.
There are still landlords to deal with. And many landlords, despite their participation in HCVP, take precautions regardless of the tenant. Here's how you can pass the test that landlords often conduct in secret.
A landlord's main concern is his property and his ability to collect rent through that property. The Section 8 program benefits landlords in that it offers them guaranteed rental payments—in the form of a Government check.
However, Section 8 housing units must meet certain standards, which are regularly enforced. If a landlord's property is damaged by tenants, he becomes responsible. Because of this, landlords have been known to 'drop in' at the current residence of potential tenants. What appears to be a follow-up on your application is actually a tactic to see how you care for you current property.
If you're submitting rental applications, take a day to tidy up your home and yard. That way, should your new potential landlord drop by, you can smile and relax, knowing you passed the first test.
Remember Your Manners
This should go without saying, but it's easy to get ornery when having to jump through a bunch of administrative hoops. Don't let the process get to you. Treat a landlord unkindly, and he's likely to deny your application without any explanation.
Although there are laws in place to prevent discrimination against tenants, rudeness isn't under protection. And if you're rejected on those grounds, how are you going to prove it anyway? Sometimes even guarantee of payment isn't worth dealing with an asshole. So just be cool.
Know What's on Your Record
Of all the 'tests' landlords perform, the background check is most common. You may not have a perfect record, but you better know what's on it before your potential landlord does. If he questions you about it, and you come up looking like a liar—application denied!
The key is to be honest. Own up to your past—but not unless you're questioned about it. Not every mistake you'll have made is public record, so it's best to know what your landlord is going to be seeing.
One way to do this is to use a public background checker. In a matter of minutes you can check your own background and be alerted of any record changes.
Also, you may want to use the service to check out your potential new neighbors. If you have children, grandchildren, or valuables in the home, it's good to know who you're living next to.
The most trusted service today can be found here. We recommend registering for the service prior to Section 8 housing approval, as accessing all your records can take time.
If you take these steps, your rental applications and interviews with landlords will go much more smoothly.
PS. Even if you have never been convicted of a crime, we still recommend that you complete your background check, as police and government agencies often have errors in their databases.
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