Section 8 is a program that helps the poor pay a part of their rent, so that the poor can afford to live in decent housing. It offers assistance that helps many from becoming homeless. However, the program is not a cure all, or at all compassionate toward those they supposedly help.
There are many traps that prevent the recipient any fair help, when it comes down to the “rights of the recipient, as tenants.” Section 8 screens the recipient, and the process is very long and frustrating. After being on a waiting list for YEARS. After the recipient is allowed to find an apartment, he/she is given 60 days to find a suitable place to live. They do not find a place for the applicants like the general public assumes.
A single person can not find a place that rents for any higher than $350.00 a month. Most times, a single person can not get an apartment with more than one bedroom. Even if they have grandkids visiting on the weekends. It is almost impossible to find a decent place for that amount of rent. Those with children fair a lot better.
Landlords who rent to section 8, know all the loop holes to justify their own purpose. The tenants however, end up being victims to many snares. Section 8 pays only part of the rent. Landlords demand application fees even though they know that an applicant has been screened under a microscope by section 8. They ask for high deposits that are not paid by the program. If a poor person can not pay these extra fees, and can’t get the money in the 60 days allowed, they are dropped from the program. They don’t even have a chance to get into an apartment.
The applicant has to sign a lease for a year. This opens up a system where landlords are in complete control over the so called agreement.. The tenants must abide by this lease, or lose the service of section 8. A lease is supposed to be a contract between the landlord and the tenant. I have yet to see a contract written up by a tenant. Everything on the lease is what the “Landlord,” wants.
Leases are for the protection of landlords. Once the lease is signed, the tenant is helpless in fighting for their rights. The tenant is held HOSTAGE for the duration of the lease. It is coercion unto the tenant, because all landlords now require a lease to protect their own interest. It is a catch 22 for tenants. If they don’t sign a lease, they don’t get the apartment.
Deposits are another issue that protect the landlord and not the tenant. Landlords keep deposits for any made up reason they can come up with. It is always the landlords word, against the tenants, and the landlord always wins. Tenants do not have any tenant rights organization to fight for them. Legal Aid is very limited in helping. Landlords pull all sorts of underhanded schemes and get away with it, because the laws favor the landlords over the tenants every time.
If a tenant is in a trap by being forced to stay in a place for a year, and is unhappy for a number of reasons, it becomes a prison sentence. They can not move out because they are bound to the lease. They must pay the landlord for a year’s rent if they move out sooner. Section 8 will void the tenant out the program for breaking the lease.
I have had to stay in places that made me physically ill, and made me go on anti depressants in order to cope, all because I was a prisoner to a lease that I was forced to sign. The landlord can use any excuse to evict a tenant, and have the tenants name put on a black list. A lease is a form of cruel and unusual punishment, put on a tenant for a crime that was never committed. It is an “entrapment” to provide the landlord with a guaranteed rent payment for the duration of the lease. This is “tenant slavery.”
If a tenant moves out before the lease is up, the landlord can have his or her pay check garnished for the remainder of the money. They can also put the amount in a collection agency to collect the money. If a car is repossessed for the buyer, the owner does not have to pay the rest of the loan on the car. So why is a tenant required to pay for the rest of the lease? Tenants are said to have rights, but the landlords act like slave masters, and the law , and section 8 are always on their side.