Every supportive housing project should have documented policies and procedures that are clearly written and comprehensible to all staff. Having clear policies and procedures in place helps provide support to staff, helps supportive housing projects run smoothly, and helps ensure consistent and predictable responses to important events. Such policies can detail how staff will deal with such topics as rent collection, housing inspections, dispute resolution and others outlined in the Policies and Procedures Manuals for Property/Housing Management in Supportive Housing. A few such topics are outlined below:
In any supportive housing project in which one of the partner organizations is receiving rent from tenants, there should be a clear rent collection policy. Collecting rent is a critical function of property/housing management. The organization collecting the rent should adopt a clear rent collection policy, have it in writing, and apply it uniformly and consistently. Staff must be consistent in application of rent collection policies to prevent the possibility of tenants falling behind in their payments and to assure that cash and non-cash receipts are appropriately safeguarded. Click here for more details on Policies Regarding Rent Receivables.
There should be a clear policy regarding whether pets are allowed the unit and under what circumstances. If pets are allowed, it is advisable for tenants to sign a Pet Agreement Addendum to the Rental Agreement, so that expectations regarding pets and their care are clear. Even if the property has a no-pet policy, it must still allow companion or service animals as a reasonable accommodation for tenants with a disabilities who request exception to the No Pet Policy. Click here for more information on addressing Tenants’ Animals and Sample Documents, including a Sample Pet Agreement Addendum to the Rental Agreement and Sample Companion/Service Animal Procedure.
Proper Handling of Tenants’ Abandoned Belongings
Occasionally, tenants leave their housing unit without first notifying the owner or manager. It is important to preserve the tenants’ rights to their belongings, particularly if they might return to reclaim their property. The property manager should direct the legal and respectful storage or disposal of any personal belongings left by the former tenant. Click here for more information on Proper Handling of Tenants’ Abandoned Belongings, including a Sample Notice of Belief of Abandonment.
Tenant File Maintenance and Record Keeping
It is a primary duty of the property manager to ensure that all tenant application and occupancy files are maintained in accordance with the housing owner’s standard operating procedures. Tenant files are subject to inspection by funders and government monitors, such as HUD or the local Housing Authority, to assure compliance with funding requirements and fair housing regulations. Click here for more information on Tenant File Maintenance and Record Keeping.