District of Columbia's Rent Establishment Policies and Procedures Need Improvement

GGD-78-50: Published: May 17, 1978. Publicly Released: May 17, 1978.

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The District of Columbia's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is responsible for providing decent, safe, and sanitary housing to low-income District families who cannot afford such housing. As of June 30, 1976, approximately 11,300 families lived in DHCD-provided housing, over 10,900 of whom were in DHCD-owned projects. The public housing program is financed mostly with rental income and federal funds. DHCD is also responsible for planning and administering the urban renewal program of the District.

DHCD rents space to tenants under both the public housing and urban renewal programs. During the 6-month period ended June 1976, DHCD charged about 60 percent of its public housing tenants improper rents, losing about $902,000 in revenues. The losses occurred because the District used a 1971 rent schedule to set rents, used an outdated definition of tenant income for setting rents, delayed processing rent changes an average of 6 months, and was ineffective in verifying tenant income. Rent policies and procedures for urban renewal properties were not always appropriate and were not uniformly and effectively implemented. Tenants were treated inequitably and revenues were lost, although documentation was not sufficient to estimate the amount of revenue lost. Inadequate utility payment policies and procedures also resulted in inequitable treatment of tenants.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct DHCD to: (1) improve policies, procedures, and practices for setting rents and utility allowances of public housing and urban renewal tenants; (2) regularly monitor the rent-setting and utility allowance process; and (3) improve documentation of rent actions, particularly under the urban renewal program, to ensure control over the rent-setting process. The Mayor should also implement specific recommendations for public housing, urban renewal, and utilities.

    Agency Affected:

 

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