City leaders working to improve Section 8 reputation with landlo - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City leaders working to improve Section 8 reputation with landlords

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Berton Hamamoto is the principal broker of Property Profiles.

"We have some great Section 8 tenants.  And then we've had some bad ones," said Hamamoto

The company manages about 1,000 rental units across Oahu.  Only 30 are leased to folks with Section 8 vouchers.

"The benefit is it's a guarantee from the tenant that part of the rent is going to be paid.  Unfortunately that guarantee isn't enough for landlords," said Hamamoto.

Hamamoto says he's had issues with some Section 8 tenants trashing the units or not coming up with their portion of the rent.
Tuesday City Council members met with folks from the Department of Community Services office.

"We understand that the landlord is under a lot of pressure as well. They are running a business," said Department of Community Services Director Gary Nakata.

The goal was to come up with ways to foster better relationships between landlords and potential tenants.  That can be a challenge. Many Section 8 renters have bad credit, no rental history and no job. 

"What we would like to do is have a certification process to show that these tenants have gone through these workshops and have been educated and have gotten the support they need to become better tenants," said Nakata.

Hamamoto says that's not a bad idea.

"The tenants have to learn to help themselves.  They have to turn that stigma around," said Hamamoto.

Other ideas to provide landlords more assurance were tossed around.

"There are things we can work on.  The idea how can landlords be compensated for damages,' said Nakata.

But even with incentives Hamamoto says in a hot market in many cases it comes down to who is the most qualified applicant.

"If we get five applicants for a place and one is Section 8 tenant and four have jobs and don't rely on any type of government assistance why would you take a risk with the one who doesn't have a job or is having financial difficulty," said Hamamoto.

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