Rights and Responsibilities: Who Owes Whom What

HUD is all about regulation, but it is also about rights and responsibilities.  From the time a person fills out an application to move in, or rejection of the application, there are rights and responsibilities on both sides.

All should be treated with respect, the applicant has the right to see the tenant selection plan and know what his or her obligations are.  Management has the responsibility to work hard to pick the most appropriate tenant.

Prospective tenants have the right to challenge management if they have been rejected and they have the right to go directly to HUD if all levels of management continue to reject their application.

Both tenants and management have rights and responsibilities to each other, to maintain the upkeep of the building and to be able to live in a harmony.

There are several types of rights and responsibilities that should be considered. Such as the Rights and Responsibility document (R and R), provided by HUD.  There is one R and R for each type of HUD property.

I know you all have this form in your tenants’ file.  The tenant gets their first form when they move in and you give the tenant a new form at every recert.

The question isn’t do you have the form, the question is have you ever read the content of the form?

I mean the entire thing not just the front page that designates what property it is for.  It really is a very useful document.  It protects both the manager, staff and the tenant.

There are also rights and responsibilities specific to handicap tenants.

Reasonable accommodations need to be made to assure the tenant is able to live a normal life in the building.

Common areas must be manageable.

Elevators must be the right size, bathrooms should accommodate the person.

Of course there are reasons why all accommodations can’t be met, but for the most part management needs to provide services necessary for the handicap tenant and the tenant using the services should act appropriately.

You know this….. But is this process happening?

These are things to think about

Tenants and management have the right to privacy.

You may noticed cognitive and or physical changes in a tenant and want to help, which is fine.  But there is a difference between wanting to help tenants with their needs and meddling in their business.

If the tenant needs additional services they may be in the wrong level of care and need to move into an assistant living or nursing home or home with family.  If management or staff recognize changes, they need to assist for the safety of the tenant and other tenants. Management will need to get the right people involved. Start with family, with a little luck there will be some family involvement already.  If you have a Service Coordinator (SC) talk with them.  If you don’t have a SC then you will have to look for someone else to help.  I know it is easier said than done but we need to try our best.

The same goes for tenants, it is their home so they have the right to know what is going on, but tenants do not have the right to gossip.  We all know tenants talk to each other and sometimes include staff.  Management has the right to confront a tenant spreading rumors.  Of course, you won’t stop the rumor mill, but you can’t ignore it either.

The last thing I want everyone to think about is the fact that you are providing services in an independent living setting.  Yes, HUD states that you should provide services to the tenant to keep them in the building as long as possible: such as meals on wheels, aide and housekeepers and transportation to the doctor’s office.

But that is where it stops.

Management does not have the right to give information to outside agencies, such as homecare agencies, medical personnel, and health insurance companies.  Although HUD does not officially use HIPPA rules it does comply with the privacy rules. Giving tenant information, such as social security numbers or knowledge of illness is unlawful and unethical.

I know it is nice to have conversations with other people about tenants in the building, but sometimes it is safer to keep things to yourself. You never know, you may be opening Pandora’s Box.  This goes for management, staff, tenants, family and anyone else that you come in contact with in the building.

Maintaining rights and responsibilities can be a challenge, but it is a challenge we need to uphold.

Have a great week!


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