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Low-income tenants often lack the financial resources to pay rent on time, and many landlords rightly grapple with concerns about tenants’ ability to honor their leasing agreements. Although landlords have traditionally sought to simply minimize low-income renters’ overall share of their tenant population, new tools are available to provide landlords with both financial protection and support for these tenants.

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These include tools like housing choice vouchers and income-restricted rental subsidies, which support a landlord’s decision to rent to low-income tenants by providing a more reliable form of payment for landlords. For example, housing choice vouchers enable tenants to pay rent in a more active manner by allotting a regular payment to the landlord that remains outside the tenant’s control, relieving the landlord from relying solely upon a tenant’s rental payment. In addition, rental subsidies enable tenants to pay lower rent than what the going market rent is for a unit, keeping rent unaffordable without compromising the landlord’s return on investment.

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In addition to these tangible financial tools, landlords can also look to employment and financial training services, which may be available through collaborative efforts with local employers, government, or nonprofits. Landlords that proclaim their commitment to providing better financial resources for low-income tenants may also find it easier to acquire quality tenants that may have otherwise not applied due to misunderstandings about the landlord’s affordability.

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Finally, by investing in a consistent tenant screening process, landlords may be able to more accurately assess the financial responsibility of prospective tenants, while also fostering communication and trust between the landlord and tenant. All of these strategies can go a long way in ensuring that the relationship between landlords and low-income tenants produces a successful outcome for both parties. By incorporating these tools, landlords may find that low-income tenants can offer reliable and sustained long-term leasing agreements, producing mutually empowering outcomes.

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