Uncollected Rent Continues To Reduce Revenue for the District of Columbia

GGD-82-55: Published: May 20, 1982. Publicly Released: May 20, 1982.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Arthur R. Goldbeck
(202) 275-3641
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO evaluated the District of Columbia's efforts to record, bill, and collect accounts receivable to determine whether the District is collecting all rents that should be collected and whether procedures, accounting methods, and collection actions are supporting the revenue effort.

The District continues to lose large amounts of revenue annually, because it fails to effectively manage rent collections from public housing and urban renewal tenants, thereby requiring increased levels of Federal subsidies or additional District funding. GAO was unable to determine the annual rental loss for fiscal year 1981 due to poor recordkeeping and documentation, but GAO believes that the District is losing substantial amounts. Delinquent rents for both programs amounted to about $4.2 million for fiscal year 1981 with over $2 million uncollectible. Collection efforts have been hampered due to a failure to maintain accurate accounts receivable for both public housing and urban renewal properties. Public housing financial records, although automated, do not provide accurate and reliable delinquent rent balances which can be used to identify delinquent tenants. The documents which substantiate automated financial records are not regularly maintained and actions taken against delinquent tenants are not recorded in the tenant files or elsewhere. Housing managers do not uniformly apply collection actions, allowing many tenants to remain delinquent. Urban renewal tenant financial records are not automated and do not show current rent balances, because they are not maintained in a timely and accurate manner. Even when delinquencies are identified, vigorous collection actions are not pursued.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Community Development's urban renewal program is now basically completed. Only a relatively few tenants remain, and the Department has begun systematic prosecution of non-payers, making conformance of URA procedures moot at this time.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct the Department of Housing and Community Development to establish and use uniform collection procedures for public housing and urban renewal tenants.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct the Department of Housing and Community Development to bring all urban renewal property tenant accounts up to date and require that the accounts be periodically reviewed to better ensure they are kept up to date.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct the Department of Housing and Community Development to begin taking prompt, aggressive, and consistent collection action against newly identified delinquent tenant accounts and initiate action to verify and collect amounts of delinquent rent due from older delinquent accounts on a prioritized case-by-case basis.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Community Develpment continues to work on the billing system but has not yet completed its efforts. GAO is currently looking at financial management systems throughout the D.C. Government, pursuant to a congressional request. The Department's automated billing system will be included in GAO review work, making further followup duplicative.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct the Department of Housing and Community Development to immediately institute procedures guaranteeing a timely and accurate automated tenant billing system and organized and easily accessible manual delinquent tenant files which can be used to verify the automated system.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct the Department of Housing and Community Development to initiate legal action against urban renewal tenants where such action is appropriate and necessary to collect delinquent rent and establish and use procedures for eviction in appropriate cases.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Jul 13, 2016

Jun 8, 2016

May 31, 2016

May 2, 2016

Jan 8, 2016

Sep 15, 2015

Jul 23, 2015

Jul 10, 2015

Jul 6, 2015

May 19, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here