Benchmark Your Site Management Practices

August 10, 2009
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How well do you run your project-based Section 8 sites? Here is one barometer you can use as a benchmark: the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) has compiled a list of best practices observed by management agents. Although the PHFA management agent list is not all inclusive, it provides a tool that will assist management agents in the “challenging role of trying to keep units fully occupied by tenants so the property can pay the bills.” Below are excerpts from PHFA’s Housing Management Best Practices.

  • Establish a preventative maintenance program.
  • Establish a plan to manage the property’s capital repairs and replacement needs.
  • Properly train staff and provide periodic continuing education. Support staff, such as the property’s accounting staff and regional managers/regional maintenance personnel should also receive training. Note: These costs are not permitted operating expenses and should be paid from the management fee collected.
  • Pay your staff an appropriate wage. If you are unable to provide pay increases to your staff, work with them to provide compensation in other ways, such as paying more of their benefits or offering incentives for reaching certain goals. A disgruntled employee can damage a property’s reputation quickly.
  • Have a written policy in place to manage the turnover of vacant units. Schedule a unit inspection once the notice of lease termination has been received so the work required upon move-out can be determined.
  • Have a policy in place to keep the property fully occupied.
  • Establish written eviction procedures.
  • Create a physical environment that supports a sense of community within the development (e.g., establishing an after-school program if a number of households have children, or a computer center that residents can use).
  • Secure the property. Develop effective relationships with local police. Make improvements to the physical appearance of the site to improve security.
  • Work to obtain yearly rent increases.
  • Review real estate taxes on a yearly basis for appropriate assessment.
  • Review insurance bills yearly and put out your insurance for bid each year to make sure you are getting adequate insurance for your property.

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