Section 8: Nice Deal if You Can Get It

As WalletPop reported recently, property investors buying foreclosures are flocking to get a boost from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Choice Voucher program, better known as Section 8. Low-income tenants approved to receive the vouchers typically have to spend no more than 30 percent of household income on rent, and the feds pay approved landlords the remainder of the bill – which usually means most of it. A tenant in Los Angeles who earns $12,000 a year would pay just $300 a month for a one-bedroom apartment whose actual rent is $1,100. The landlord gets a government check for the remaining $800.

Not surprisingly, the only people who love Section 8 more than landlords are the more than two million tenants who get to live in nice homes for a bargain price. Want to get in on the deal? A modest income is just the first thing you need. A proven need for a home can help. You should also be prepared to wait, usually for years. Nationally, only about one in four eligible households actually gets aid, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.