We live in a condo with most people renting. Our neighbor is a single 40 year old lady who eats out everyday and has stuff delivered every two or three days. But ends up with late payment notice every few months.
Surely there would be mileage for landlords in making rent due the day after their tenant's payday.
I've found it better to insist on a class of tenants that has enough in the way of organization skills to set aside rent money and keep it. Disorganized tenants cause more damage than they're worth due to other habits of theirs that are extremely hard on buildings.
One of the things landlords can do in Australia is to have rent money paid directly from the government for tenants in receipt of welfare benefits. Having a direct debit from Centrelink means that even if the ratbag tenants trash your place, knock down the walls and burn it to the ground, at least the rent will 100% always be on time.
Agreed with TGS that being a ratbag and being on welfare are not related.
In the UK housing allowance used to be paid straight to landlords. Then they tried to pay it to tenants so that they could get used to managing their money and paying their rent. For some people it worked. For others it was an utter disaster. Landlords were not impressed.
The same circumstances that lead to a person being on welfare often contribute to a lack of organizational skills, such as the ability to pay rent on time and clean up after oneself. It can also impair a person's ability to get along with his or her neighbors.
Developmental delays, intellectual limitations, old head injuries, personality disorders, and mental illnesses are all legitimate grounds for receiving government help. But just because a person's getting financial help from the government doesn't mean he or she is capable of living independently and functioning like an adult. Many receive a higher level of aid so that they can live in, say, a nursing home or assisted living facility. In addition, there's a sizable gray area consisting of people who really would be better served in a structured environment such as a group home, if for some reason staying with family isn't an option, but that are living in apartments or rented rooms instead.
It's a very sad state of affairs that the demand for group homes and structured living options exceeds the supply. Nobody wants to go back to the days of abusive, prison-like institutions but at the same time wandering around the neighborhood isn't safe for a person with a deteriorating condition like Alzheimer's.
Generally when staying with family isn't an option, it's because of the level of care and supervision required to interact with that person. That's a politically correct way of saying that the family member's behavior is so unpleasant or egregious that it's a full-time job just to clean up after that person and keep him or her from self destructing. Long-term, people can't live that way.
What I never want to do is to take on a tenant who really needs a higher level of care than I'm willing/able/qualified to provide, or who has a high cost of doing business because of some aspect of their behavior they can't or won't fix. It won't be cash flow positive.
I've got no problem renting to people whose income comes from SSI or Disability, and I find that my single room tenants who are on disability and food stamps can more than qualify for the room rental when the government aid is factored into their income. That's because this is a relatively low cost of living area and I'm renting out a single room and not, say, the entire house. But I won't sign up to be a Section 8 landlord because I'm not prepared to work the business model necessary to cater to the organizationally-impaired. I can easily accommodate a tenant who's missing a leg, who uses a walker or a wheelchair, or who's got visual or auditory impairments. That's a minor change to the layout of the house, at worst. What I cannot deal with is a tenant who jerks me around or who is incapable of holding up his or her end of an agreement.
With a Section 8 tenant, that's the demographic. It's not necessarily their fault, and I do agree that they need shelter just as much as the next person, but the only effective way to serve that customer demographic is to set it up in a very structured way with lots of rules and supervision... which I personally don't have the wherewithal to enforce. Doing it any other way results in property damage. Given that I don't have the wherewithal to set up a proper Section 8 operation, I do not believe that I should be required to take on a substantial amount of extra, unnecessary work and heartache while also operating at a financial loss. That's not business.