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A Word About This Manual
This manual was initially prepared as a resource for public housing agencies (PHAs) participating in the Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration that were transitioning to project-based management. However, given the recent shift to project-based management for the public housing program as a whole, it is anticipated that this manual will have much broader application. Included with this document are sample job descriptions for Regional Manager, Housing Manager, Housing Assistant, Maintenance Superintendent, Maintenance Superintendent and Housekeeper. These job descriptions are also in keeping with a project-based model.
How to Use This Manual
The intent of this document is to provide PHAs with a sample procedures manual for housing managers under project based management. Please note that it assumes a fairly evolved (or decentralized) project-based management structure, one that is consistent with norms in private housing. PHAs must decide what model best meets the needs for each property. Consequently, PHAs should adapt this manual to fit local conditions, where appropriate. For example, while the manual assumes that housing managers will have purchasing authority of up to $200 without prior approval from the regional manager, PHAs may feel that higher (lower) thresholds are appropriate.
Certain other assumptions used in the development of this manual include:
Local landlord-tenant laws. These laws vary across jurisdictions. For example, whereas this manual includes a late fee of $10 on the 6th day of the month and $15 on the 10th, PHAs may not be permitted, or may not choose to adopt, such a late fee policy. Similarly, rules on managing security deposits or the disposition of abandoned furniture vary by locality. PHAs will want to conform the procedures in this document to all such local laws.
Automated management information system. This manual assumes that the subject PHA has an automated management information system to handle such functions as: rent collections, wait list management, reexaminations, work orders, and property accounting.
Forms. It is assumed that, as part of this hypothetical PHA’s automated management information system, all forms required by housing management personnel are contained in a “shared” drive within the agency’s “intra-net.” This manual references, but does not include, these forms. The exception is of certain forms that, in the opinion of the authors, might be new to PHAs who previously have maintained centralized property management systems. For example, this manual includes a Petty Cash Log (few PHAs today have petty cash accounts for each property) as well as a Traffic Log (tracking the number of applicant inquiries under a site-based waiting list system). These selected forms appear as exhibits at the end of the chapters in which they are first introduced and are referenced, in the text, with brackets (<>).
Agency size. While no specific agency size was intended in the development of this manual, smaller agencies will likely have simpler organizations and possibly more streamlined procedures than contained herein.
Collective bargaining. The majority of larger PHAs are subject to collective bargaining agreements. This manual assumes that the maintenance staff is covered under a collective bargaining agreement, but one where the work rules are more similar to practices in private housing (where the workforce tends not to be subject to formal collective bargaining agreements).
In keeping with its conventional approach to property management, this manual has a particularly strong emphasis on marketing, curb appeal, and customer satisfaction. While some public housing properties benefit from strong demand, and therefore face little difficulty filling units, efforts at curb appeal, customer satisfaction, and marketing should be universal themes, regardless of property type or subsidy program.
Another resource developed in conjunction with this manual is a series of sample job descriptions. Managing under PBM model means the assignment of new job tasks and responsibilities for housing management personnel, especially for the following positions: housing manager, assistant housing manager, maintenance supervisor/technician, and regional property manager. The sample job descriptions are provided in the Manual’s Appendix.
This manual combines (1) the experience of various MTW and non-MTW PHAs who, in recent years, have initiated project-based management with (2) the actual operating procedures of a private property management company. Special appreciation is extended to: Allied Group of Renton, WA, and the housing authorities of King County, WA, Portland, OR, Cambridge, MA, Dade County, FL, Louisville, KY, Baltimore, MD, Tampa, FL, and Indianapolis, IN. This manual was prepared under contract C-OPC-21702, Task Order 5, between Abt Associates Inc. and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
How to Use This Manual i
Property Management Goals ix
Agency Philosophy ix
Agency Organization x
Reporting Relationships x
Agency Policies x
Automated Management Information System (AMIS) xi
Organization of this Manual xi
Chapter 1 1
Financial Management 1
1.2.The Operating Budget 1
1.3.Financial Reporting 1
1.4.Budget Thresholds 2
1.5.Coding (Chart of Account Structure) 2
1.6.Monthly Cut-off 2
1.7.Declining Budget Form 3
1.8.Approving Vendor Invoices 4
1.9.Petty Cash 6
e of Agency Funds, Facilities, and Materials 7
1.11.Fixed Assets 7
1.12.Annual Inventory 8
Chapter 2 11
General Office Procedures 11
2.1. Overview 11
2.2.Administrative Staffing 11
2.4.Office Equipment, Services, and Supplies 12
2.5.Hours of Operation 14
2.6.Phone Protocol 14
2.8.Bulletin Boards 15
2.9.Product Knowledge Notebook 16
2.10.Key Control 16
2.11.Agency Calendar 18
2.12.Courier Service 18
2.13.Weekly Property Staff Meeting 18
2.14.Monthly Operations Timeline 19
2.15.Periodic Reporting 19
2.16.Property Inspections 21
2.17.Utility Allowances 21
2.19.Access to Occupied Units 22
2.20.Approvals for Non-Housing Use of Units 23
2.22.Property Insurance 23
2.23.Emergency Procedures Plan/Manual 25
2.24.Annual Reexaminations 26
terim, or Special, Reexaminations 27
2.26.Lease Renewals/Expirations 27
2.27.Annual Home Inspections 28
2.28.Resident Complaints 28
2.29.Required Approvals 28
Chapter 3 31
Marketing and Leasing Presentation 31
3.2.The Leasing Training Program 31
3.3.Leasing Book 31
3.4.Advertising/Marketing Efforts 32
3.5.The Marketing Plan 34
3.6.Telephone Technique/The Invitation to Apply 38
3.7.The Importance of an Accurate Traffic Log 38
3.9.Curb Appeal 39
3.11.Safety Precautions for Leasing 40
3.12.Showing the Apartment/The Marketing Path 41
3.13.Closing the Deal 42
3.14.A Lasting Impression 43
3.15.How Do Others View You? 44
3.16.Special Leasing Plans for Properties Completing Modernization 44
3.17.Maintaining Copies of Advertising 44
3.18.Fair Housing 44
3.19.General Comment 45
Chapter 4 47
The Waiting List 47
4.2.Outline of Site-based Waiting List Procedures 47
Chapter 5 51
The Mechanics of Leasing an Apartment 51
5.2.Move-in Inspection 52
5.3.What to Give the Resident at Move-in 53
5.4.Resident Handbook 53
5.5.Lease Execution 54
5.6.Rental Insurance 54
5.7.Live-in Aide 55
5.8.Resident Transfers 55
Chapter 6 57
Resident Relations and Retention 57
6.2.Developing a Relationship 57
les for Resident Retention 60
6.6.Parcels and Packages 60
6.8.Parking Numbering Systems 61
6.9.Resident Recognition Programs 61
6.10.Resident Councils/Associations 61
6.11.Resident Council Funding 62
6.12.Programming Community Space 62
6.13.Collaborations with Outside Service Agencies 63
Chapter 7 65
Unit Turnover Procedures 65
7.1.Termination of the Lease 65
7.2.Move-Out Process 66
7.3.Cleaning and Preparing Vacant Units 69
7.4.Monitoring Unit Turnover 71
Chapter 8 73
8.2.Personnel and Staffing Plan 73
8.3.Customer Relations and Appearance 74
8.4.Work Order Procedures 75
8.5.Unit Turnover (see also Chapter 7) 79
8.6.Preventive Maintenance 80
8.7.Working Hours 82
ventory and Materials Management 82
8.10.Shop Organization 84
8.11.Purchasing (see also Chapter 11) 84
8.12.After-Hours Procedures 85
8.13.Maintenance Quality Inspection 85
8.15.Reporting Problems 86
8.17.Grounds Maintenance 87
8.20.Service Contracts 87
8.22.Salvage/Disposition of Materials 89
8.23.Fire Code Violations 89
8.24.Emergency Snow Plan 89
8.25.Domestic Hot Water 89
8.26.Weekend and Holiday Coverage 89
Chapter 9 91
Lease Enforcement 91
9.2General Principle 91
9.5Legal Status Codes 94
9.7House Rules 94
9.8Formal Resident Grievances 94
9.9Alterations to Unit 95
9.10Disposition of Abandoned Property 95
Chapter 10 99
Security Programs 99
10.2. Security Program 99
10.3.Daily Patrol of Grounds 99
10.4.Graffiti Removal 99
10.5.Restricted Parking 100
10.8.Access Control 100
10.9.Security Equipment 101
10.10.Courtesy Guard Service 101
10.11.Resident Programs 101
10.12.Law Enforcement 101
10.13. Tracking Crime 101
10.14. Photo Identification 102
10.15. Lease Enforcement 102
10.16. Office Security 102
10.17. Incident Reporting 102
Chapter 11 103
11.2.Ethics in Public Procurement 103
11.3.Procurement Planning 104
11.4.Authorization Levels 104
11.5.Procurement Methods 105
11.6.Technical Description and Specifications for Procurement 105
11.7.Cost and Price Analysis 106
11.8.Blanket Contracts (i.e., Pre-Established Contracts) 106
11.9.Section 3 107
11.10.Minority Business Enterprise Program 109
11.11.Wage Rate Requirements for Maintenance Work 109
11.13.Codes and Laws 111
11.14.Certifications and Permits 111
11.15.Identifying and Soliciting Vendors 111
11.16.Vendor Registration 112
11.17.Justification of Award to Other than Lowest Bidder 113
11.18.Non-Competitive Purchasing 113
11.19.Executing the PO/Obtaining Approvals 114
11.20.Notifying Vendors of Award 114
11.21.Appeals from Unsuccessful Vendors 114
11.22.Receiving your Goods or Services 114
11.23.Record Keeping 116
ternal Controls 117
Chapter 12 118
Capital Programs 118
12.2.Capital Planning 118
12.3.Capital Fund Budget 118
12.4.Procuring Capital Improvements 118
12.5.Modifications to Physical Plant 120
12.6.Capital Work Funded through Resident Councils and Other Bodies 120
Chapter 13 123
pervisory Responsibility 123
13.3.Recruitment, Posting, and Filling Personnel Positions 123
13.4.Drug Testing 124
13.5.Dress Code and Uniform Policy 125
13.7.Beepers and Communications 125
13.8.On-Call Status 125
13.9.Attendance Reports 125
13.11.Leave of Absence 126
13.12.Payroll Records 126
13.13.Disciplinary Action 126
13.14.Annual Performance Reviews 126
13.15.Salary Schedules and Compensation 126
13.17.Employee Files 127
13.18. Posting of Minimum Wage, Worker Safety, and EEO Signs 127
13.19. Accident/Injury Reports 127
13.19.1.Time Clocks 127
13.19.2.Employee Orientation 127
13.20.Travel Expenses 127
Chapter 14 129
Risk Management and Safety 129
14.2.General Loss Prevention Strategy 129
14.4.Reserves Against Losses 129
14.6.Monthly Safety Meetings 130
14.7.Sound Safety Practices 130
14.8.Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) 131
Chapter 15 133
Energy Conservation 133
15.2.HUD’s Utility Funding 133
15.4.Utility Monitoring 133
15.5.Capital Planning 133
Chapter 16 135
Computer Operations 135
16.1. Equipment and Software 135
16.2. Repairs and Service 135
16.3. Computer File Storage 135
16.4. E-mail 136
16.5. Scheduling 136
16.6. Help Desk 136
16.7. User Computer Access Form 136
16.8. Training System Access 136
Chapter 17 137
Tenant Accounting 137
17.1.Overview of the Tenant Accounting System (TAS) 137
17.2.Leasing of Units: Rent Set-Up 137
17.4.Unit Status Codes 138
17.5.Rent Collections 138
17.6.Resident Charges 140
17.7.Rent Re-Determination 140
17.8.Terminating Accounts 140
17.9.Office Safe 141
17.10.Escrow Accounts 142
17.11.Reimbursement for Property Damage to Resident 142
17.12.Reporting Other Income 142
17.13.NSF/Account Closed Checks 143
Appendix - Exhibits
The purpose of this manual is to provide each Housing Manager, and other site personnel, with the routine operating instructions and general expectations for the day-to-day operation of his/her development.
This procedures manual has been designed as a simple reference guide. It is not an attempt to replace communication between the Housing Manager and supervisor. The Housing Manager has a responsibility to ask questions and inform the supervisor if he/she does not understand any instruction contained, or faces a situation not addressed, herein.
Note: Hereafter, simply for the sake of editorial convenience, residents and applicants are referred to using the feminine pronoun and housing management staff are referred to using the masculine pronoun.
Property Management Goals
The Agency’s goals for all properties that it manages are:
To maintain the property in superb condition,
To keep expenses within the operating budget,
To explore opportunities for revenue growth or expense reduction,
To assess and address capital needs proactively,
To comply with all Federal, State, and local laws and regulations, and
To provide excellent service to all residents.
The development of the annual budget for each property shall reflect these goals.
The Agency is devoted to providing first-rate property management services and believes, in furtherance of that goal, that its employees are its greatest assets. As such, the Agency is committed to making the workplace a source of joy, pride, and learning. The Agency recognizes that personal growth is imperative for an employee’s full potential to be realized. Therefore, the Agency encourages the pursuit of educational means designed to refine and expand job skills. The Agency also strongly supports career advancement through internal promotion.
The Agency’s solid reputation has been built on the success of its employees and is committed to providing competitive wages, benefits, and fair management practices.
The Agency is an equal opportunity employer and does/will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment in any manner.
Agency structure is typical of most property owners/agents, except that the Agency is overseen by a five-member Board of Commissioners, which sets policy and provides oversight. The Agency has two main divisions – Property Management and Housing Vouchers. In addition, the Agency maintains four “support” offices – Accounting, Resident Services, Human Resources, and IT. Within Property Management, there are two regions, overseen by Regional Managers, and an Office of Construction, which handles larger construction projects, e.g., comprehensive modernization.
The Housing Manager is responsible for the overall operating performance of the property, from collecting rent to readying vacant units. Although the Housing Manager may delegate the completion of these tasks to subordinates, the Housing Manager is ultimately responsible for their successful completion and for meeting all property goals.
The following is the chain of command:
Site personnel (other than Housing Manager)
Director of Property Management
Under this arrangement, each Housing Manager will go to his Regional Manager for management leadership, while all other on-site personnel will receive supervisory direction from their Housing Manager.
If it is not possible to resolve issues that come up in connection with employment, job activities, or general requests with the direct supervisor, staff should contact the next person in the chain of command. Issues relating specifically to employment may be referred to Human Resources.
In addition to the instructions contained in this manual, the Housing Manager shall also be familiar with the following, copies of which shall be available in the Management Office:
Admission and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP)
Risk Management Handbook
Collective Bargaining Agreement
Emergency Procedures Manual
Job Descriptions (for all site employees)
Utility Allowance Schedule
Product Knowledge Notebook
The Housing Manager shall also be familiar with (and have a copy of) HUD’s Public Housing Occupancy Handbook.
The Housing Manager is expected to keep current with all policies and procedures that come into effect at a later date, as notified by the Agency.
All required management forms can be found on the Agency’s “shared” drive, along with this manual and other related documents, including the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy, the Personnel Handbook, the Lease, etc. The Housing Manager shall become familiar with any updates, deletions, or additions to these required policies, procedures, and forms.
Automated Management Information System (AMIS)
The Agency maintains an automated management information system, or AMIS. This system, which is explained more fully in Chapter 16, includes the following modules:
As a result of AMIS, the Housing Manager does not need to prepare certain management reports that might otherwise be required in other property management organizations. Rather, standardized reports are available electronically within the respective modules, which the Housing Managers can access directly. For example, AMIS eliminates the need for Accounting to distribute monthly financial reports since the Housing Manager can access these reports electronically.
Organization of this Manual
The remainder of this manual is divided into the following chapters:
General Office Procedures
Marketing and Leasing Presentation
Site-based Waiting Lists
The Mechanics of Leasing an Apartment
Resident Relations and Retention
Unit Turnover Procedures
Safety and Risk Management
This chapter covers financial management, including annual budgeting, financial reporting, and accounting (other than tenant accounting, which is discussed in Chapter 17).
1.2.The Operating Budget
Property-specific operating budgets are developed each year according to the following schedule:
1. Accounting releases preliminary budget figures, including any fees for centralized services.
5 months prior to start of fiscal year
2. Final budget package distributed to Housing Managers.
4 months prior to start of fiscal year
3. Housing Managers complete and submit detailed budgets to Regional Managers.
3 months prior to start of fiscal year
4. Site budgets approved.
2 month prior to start of fiscal year
The key to meeting this schedule is proper planning. When preparing the budget, the Housing Manager should examine last year’s expenses, deferred costs, property inspections, service contracts, etc.
Typically, in accordance with instructions provided by Accounting, the Housing Manager will be required to prepare/submit the following as part of the annual budget package:
Rental Market Study
Projected Rent and Income Schedule
Line Item Budget and Supporting Narrative
Updated Capital Needs Analysis
Three-year Operating Comparison Worksheet
The Housing Manager is responsible for the budgetary performance of the property. Once the budget for the property has been approved, Accounting will produce monthly financial reports by the 5th business day of the month. These financial reports (covering the prior month’s activities) will be available within the Finance Module of AMIS.
Once the financial reports are available, the Housing Manager reviews these reports with the Regional Manager. The Regional Manager then prepares, by the 10th day of the month, a narrative explanation for all major line item variances (maintenance materials, maintenance contracts, personnel, etc.), positive or negative.
In reviewing the monthly financial reports, the Housing Manager assures that all charges to the property are accurate. If the Housing Manager determines that an expense has been inappropriately charged to his property, he contacts Accounting to reverse any charges. Ultimately, the Housing Manager is responsible for all site purchases.
The approved operating budget is the formal financial plan for the property for the subject year. Once approved, the Housing Manager is responsible for implementing that budget. The Housing Manager is authorized to make purchases up to $200 without prior approval from the Regional Manager. Any single purchase of more than $200 requires the approval of the Regional Manager. (Please see Chapter 11, Procurement.)
Regardless of the purchasing approval levels, the Housing Manager is ultimately responsible for all expenses incurred by the property and for assuring economy of operation.
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