It happened well over a year ago but it seems like the nightmare still haunts me.
Here is my experience and why I will never go there again.
I listed a lovely home for lease for a client that I have worked with many times. This 4 bedroom home was located in a great neighborhood that feeds into a highly sought after elementary school. My client, the landlord, listed the home for a very competitive price.
I received a call from a precious young mother of 3 elementary aged kids who was interested in leasing them home. I met her at the home and she loved it. She explained that she qualified for Section 8 housing and after months of waiting she finally received her “voucher”. She is a single mom who is working full time and going to school at night. She really wanted a better life for herself and a better school system and neighborhood for her children. She said she had a Walker Program voucher. I had never worked with Section 8 or the Walker program so I told her I would contact the landlord and see what he says. This landlord happens to be one who is more than willing to give a helping hand whenever he can so he agreed.
To sum up the nightmare:
1. Had to go in person to get the process going. I live about 40 minutes away from the only office that handles this. I got there when it opening and had to wait almost 3 hours before I spoke to a lady who told me that I had brought the wrong papers. The “correct” papers were sitting on my desk. Luckily I found someone to fax them to me but I had to wait another hour. The whole day was shot.
2. Next step was to get the home inspected. The utilities must be on for this so the struggling single mom had to pay to turn on all of the utilities in order for the inspection to be done. After 3 weeks, I received a call from the inspector and I was told to meet him at the house in 30 minutes! I had to drop everything that I was doing to go to the home. I waited and waited. No inspector. I called the Section 8 office. After many rings, I finally speak to a lady who confirms that the inspector is coming. I tell her his isn’t here and she starts to argue with me that he will be here. Okie-dokie. I wait another 30 minutes. I call again. I get a different lady who pulls up the paperwork and she realizes that the inspector went to the wrong address. He is in a town over 45 minutes away. The inspection will have to be another day. Second day shot to hell.
3. Now, the Landlord is upset because he lost a month of rent. The Tenant is upset because she doesn’t have anywhere to live. The inspection is done within two weeks. All is okay except that the section 8 will not pay for the full amount of the rent. They want the landlord to agree to take $250 per month less which the landlord is not okay with. He will lose money at that rate. The tenant says that she will pay the difference but Section 8 will not allow that. I go back down to the office and wait two hours to speak with someone about how the voucher amount is not going to cover the rent and show the compariables for the area. As you might have guessed, I got nowhere. Both parties agreed to terminante the contract. I faxed it to both parties and turned it in person while I was there. Third day shot to hell.
In summary, I lost 3 days of work not to mention the cost of gas. The tenant spent money getting utilities turned on that she never used and lost pay for time missed from work waiting in a line at Section 8. The landlord lost two months of rental income waiting for Section 8 to get their stuff together. Nightmare!
6 months later I received a call from the landlord. He just received his first Section 8 payment for the tenant who did not move in and whose agreement was terminated. He had called the Dallas Housing Authority and told them what happened and he was sending the check back. The DHA said that the voucher was attached to this home but that they would fix it. He continued to receive checks for several months after that and he continued to send them all back…. Can you imagine if the tenant had moved in and he had had to wait 6 months for the first rent payment?
I tried to call that precious mom but her number was no longer in service. I think of her often and I hope that she was able to find a nice home with good schools for her children.
Never, ever again.