What Happens When A Section 8 Tenant Wants To Move?

section-8-move-out-houseI had the opportunity to spend some time in the field with two of our property managers (Wayne McGinnis and Mark Byers) as they performed a Section 8 Move Out Inspection.

This happens when a Section 8 tenant puts notice in that they would like to move.

Moving is a normal part of managing rental property…but because a tenant is in the Section 8 program, they must follow certain rules and regulations.

The following is the transcript of an interview I conducted in the car with Wayne McGinnis who happens to be an ex-Section 8 Inspector with the Birmingham Housing Authority.

Spencer: Now, Wayne and Mark are two of our property managers. And we’re out looking at some different houses. I wanted to come along with them today because they were conducting a Section 8 pre-move out inspection…or what we call ‘walk through’.

So about a week ago one of our Section 8 tenants put in a notice that she would like to move. In order for that to happen, we need to inspect the property and sign off that this tenant is good to move.

In other words that the house is in a good condition or satisfactory condition and we’re okay with them moving.

So, walking through the house was really interesting.

We couldn’t really film inside the house but I wanted to tell you a little bit about that process and I’ll ask Wayne to fill in wherever I may need his expert opinion.

Here is the process:

  1. The tenant turns in a move out notice
  2. We schedule a time to walk through the property
  3. We look for any damage to the house that is out of the ordinary or beyond normal ‘wear and tear’
  4. We inform the tenant on our findings and let them know if we can or can’t sign off on their move

In this case the tenant filled out a notice to move and it was sent to us. We went out there and Wayne walked the entire house with a pen and a paper in order to make note of any out of the ordinary damage. Really, he’s looking for r any kind of issues with the home that are beyond normal wear and tear.

Is that right, Wayne?

Wayne: Yes

Spencer: As we were walking through this particular house, we noticed a few holes in the wall. We also noticed that the carpet that was clean when they moved in, just around 12 months ago, was damaged.

Wayne: It was worn well beyond normal wear and tear and it was clean and in good condition when they moved in a year ago. Simply put, it’s not been taken care of.

So that would be something they would be charged off for beyond normal wear and tear issues.

Spencer: Okay. So, we walked through the house and not only were there a few holes in the wall, there were light fixtures that were missing.

They had also replaced an interior door in the home and had not installed a doorknob. So it wasn’t really a door because you couldn’t lock it.

And then of course the carpet like Wayne mentioned, the carpet was a bit messed up more than normal wear and tear. After we walked through the house we had a conversation with the tenant and let her know that we could not approve her request to move until these things were taken care of.

And so what that means is, she can either find a reputable company to fix and repair those damaged areas and then we would sign off on it. Or she could have us do it and pay gkhoues for the repairs.

We have our own maintenance department to repair those things. Is there another option? So we either fix it, she finds somebody to fix it, or she made a suggestion. What was that, Wayne?

Wayne: She asked that we create an itemized estimate of everything that we saw that was beyond normal and tear.

And we can definitely do that but we couldn’t do it today because she had too much in the house and against the walls. She will need to move everything to the center of the room (in all of the rooms). So, in our owner’s best interest, we have to be able to see those areas and make sure there’s no further damage.

Because once we do this itemized estimate, we will be sending it to Section 8 as well as the tenant and letting them know that these repair items need to either be paid for or completed before we can approve her to move out of the house. She must have a zero balance before she can move.

Part of paying for the damage can also come out of her security deposit which we keep in a trust account.

We just want to make sure we have the money to cover all the repairs that are beyond normal wear and tear. Now, there’s a lot of things that were normal wear and tear or things that were not in her control that we will not be adding to the list.

But for the items we just mentioned, we’re going charge her and turn that list into Section 8 so that she cannot move until this is taken care of and resolved. This is something we do to protect our owners.

Spencer: Right, so essentially she wanted us to come back with an estimate of all things were over normal wear and tear and then she was going to pay for that work to be done.

Now, the interesting thing is once we have those funds…if she wanted to pay us to do that once we had those funds, we could go ahead and sign off on her move documents for Section 8 and allow her to move and then it would much easier for us get in and take care of those items along with anything else that the owner wanted to take care before the house was marketed again.

So that’s just a little insight into Birmingham Section 8, how a Section 8 move, like a request to move process happens.