Yes. Background checks cost money.
Charge the same amount as it costs to run the criminal and credit check. The application fee is charged once for each person over 18 who will be living at the property.
Yes. This can be confirmed with your attorney, but basically the prospective tenant can take you to court where you would have to prove that the money was used for the background or criminal check.
Section 8 is a program which basically provides subsidized housing to people. The government pays all or a portion of the tenant’s rent, depending on what the individual (or family) qualifies for.
When a tenant receives Section 8 and only a portion of the rent is covered, the tenant is expected to cover the remaining amount themselves.
Opinions on this vary widely and I’m not aware of any laws that say you have to accept prospective tenants with a Section 8 voucher.
Pros: The main reason to accept Section 8 is because whatever portion of the rent the tenant is approved for will be the portion of the rent that is automatically deposited into your bank account on a monthly basis and it will never be late.
Cons: The main reason to not accept Section 8 is because there exists a bias that tenants who receive financial aid will not care for the property as well as someone without the aid.
Notes: My personal experience has been that people with money are just as likely to not take care of a property as anyone else. I suggest meeting with all prospective tenants in person, calling the current landlord, and performing background checks like with any other prospective tenant. This information is more solid and quantifiable than judging someone based on whether they receive aid or not.