In supportive housing in which the units are leased from the private rental market, one of the key roles of the housing management staff is to build and maintain relationships with property owners (landlords) in the community. Forming strong, positive relationships can streamline access to housing and also promote the housing stability of tenants.
Step 1: Identify potential landlords — There are many different strategies for developing an initial list of property owners with whom to explore possible partnership. A few ideas are included in the list below.
- Landlords who already have a relationship with your organization or one of the partner organizations as a housing provider, volunteer or board member.
- Landlord associations or other trade or professional organizations of local property owners.
- Public housing authority list of landlords who accept housing choice vouchers.
Step 2: Contacting the landlord/securing a housing unit — The results of this step will vary based upon whether you are contracting for a specific unit of housing or establishing a relationship to facilitate the ability of a tenant to rent from the landlord in the future.
- Reach out to potential property owners to introduce yourself, your organization and the supportive housing project.
- Explain the potential benefits in working with your project/tenants:
- A guarantee that the subsidy portion of the rent will be paid on time (if the project includes rental subsidy).
- A contact housing management staff person to call with questions or concerns (if the tenant has given permission.)
- Tenants who are educated on being good neighbors and who are, in most cases, receiving support for any issues that might threaten their housing stability.
- The ability to quickly fill future units via free marketing through supportive housing partners.
- Depending on the subsidy source, the ability to receive payment for any damages in excess of the security deposit.
Step 3: Maintain the landlord relationship — It is also important to stay in contact with the landlord in order to ensure an ongoing positive relationship and to facilitate the possibility of working together on future projects. In order to do this:
- Housing management and service provider staff should reach out to tenants regularly to ensure that they are receiving the necessary support.
- Housing management and service provider staff should communicate regularly and proactively with the landlord (with tenant permission) to identify any potential issues at the earliest stage.
- Staff should provide the landlord with up-to-date information on who to contact, and any concerns should be addressed promptly.
- Service provider staff may advocate to landlords on behalf of tenants, but it is important for housing management staff to remain objective in any disputes and to understand both the tenant and landlord point of view. This strategy helps to preserve the landlord’s relationship with existing and future tenants.
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