There are several common policies that are important for an organization to have.

Fraud

Fraud involves the illegal use of property or money or lies about financial or other information, with an intent to trick or fool.

Fraud can cause serious problems for an organization—including cash shortages, court actions, legal fees and loss of reputation. It could compromise your financial resources and your ability to provide housing to your tenants or members.

An act of fraud committed by an individual associated with the management of the group is a criminal act.

The best way to prevent fraud is to have clear and tight controls that make it as difficult as possible for an individual, or a group of individuals, to commit a fraudulent act without being discovered.

Fraudulent activities include:

  • Stealing money
  • Kickbacks
  • Theft of rental receipts
  • Made-up expenses
  • Theft of property

Late payments and eviction

Eviction (or expulsion in co-operatives) refers to a legal process that enables the housing provider to seek an order to end a lease agreement or occupancy agreement.

Non-payment and repeated late payments (called arrears) are the most common reasons for evicting a tenant or expelling a co-operative member.

Social housing managers need to strike a balance between compassion for an individual resident’s circumstances and the viability of the housing organization. In most areas, a board can evict tenants or expel co-operative members for non-payment or repeated late payments and if they or one of their guests does something they should not, or does not do something they should.

For example:

  • causing damage to the property
  • engaging in illegal activity
  • affecting the safety of others
  • disturbing the enjoyment of other residents
  • having too many people living in the unit ("overcrowding")
  • misrepresenting their income
  • interfering in the housing provider’s / landlord’s interests and rights
Transcript

Text on screen: Title - “A Strong Foundation for your Housing Project: Managing Your Arrears”

(Visual: Housing decorations)

Narrator: When housing charges or rent are not paid by the date they are due, they are called arrears. A clearly worded arrears policy must be adopted and approved by your Board of Directors or members. It should be strictly applied and clearly communicated. A fair but firm attitude toward collecting rent is essential.

(Visual: English Narrator)

Text on screen: “Arrears Policy”, “Adopted & Approved”, “Applied & Communicated”

Text on screen: Title - “Tips for Avoiding Arrears”

Narrator: Communicate that arrears will be dealt with immediately and consistently. Perform checks when an individual applies to move in. Try to accept different payment methods like Interac debit, or online transfer.

Text on screen: “Immediately & Consistently”

Text on screen: “Checks: Credit Checks, References from Former Landlords”

Text on screen: “Payment Methods: Interac Debits, Online Transfers”

Narrator: If someone falls into arrears, establish communication to let them know rent has not been paid. Ensure you know the Provincial Legislation and adhere to the legal requirements of the process.

Text on screen: “Provincial Legislation”, “Legal Requirements”

Text on screen: Title - “Payment Schedule”

Narrator: Ideally, the payment should be made immediately, but under different circumstances, if the outstanding amount isn’t paid, you can try to arrange a payment schedule. This should be a short repayment schedule, 1 – 3 months maximum.

Text on screen: “1-3 months maximum”

Narrator: When an individual is unable or unwilling to pay their arrears, most organizations will take steps to evict the individual and recover the money owed. Make sure you have a documented process and meet any legal guidelines required by both the board and the jurisdiction.

Text on screen: “Documented Process”, “Legal Guidelines”

Text on screen: Title - “Future Housing Co-operative, St. John’s Newfoundland”

Opening: (Visual: Housing decorations, Newfoundland-landscape, lighthouse)

Terri Walsh: We have a sense of caring for each other, but at the same time, you also have to be responsible. If you don’t run the business right, you’re not gonna have the housing.

(Visual: Interview of Terri)

(Text on screen: Terri Walsh, President)

(Visual: B-roll of harbour, housing)

Terri Walsh: We’re focused on the financial management, but you still have to focus on the education in order to avoid arrears at all costs.

(Visual: B-roll of Board meeting)

Terri Walsh: People understand coming in, right from the get go housing charges are due in full, on time, the first of every month.

(Visual: B-roll of housing-fence, door, neighbours talking)

Terri Walsh: We have very little issues with something not being paid. If we end up in a situation where it's more critical, then we enter into an agreement.

(Visual: Interview of Terri)

If the person doesn’t honour the agreement then we have to schedule a meeting with the board.

Bottom line is we have to have the money there to pay the mortgage.

You have to have your finger on the pulse at all times.

(Visual: B-roll of Board meeting)

Terri Walsh: With prompt payments of housing charges in full and on time, we can continue to provide affordable housing rates and good quality housing. There’ve been times we’ve had some major challenges, but we always come through that.

(Visual: B-roll of exterior and interior of house)

(Visual: Interview of Terri)

(Text on screen: Want to know more? Visit CMHC.ca/Affordablehousing to learn more about the financial management of your organization.)

(CMHC logo on screen)

(Canada wordmark)

(Social Media Icons)

(Music ends)

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest policy should apply to all individuals linked with the management of a housing project, such as members of the board of directors, office and maintenance staff or any individuals who volunteer to do work on behalf of the housing project.

Any of these individuals may have access to information or power that they could use for personal gain.

A conflict of interest policy should include the following:

  • Individuals within the group cannot obtain special benefits by being in a position of power.
  • Individuals or staff associated with the management of a housing project must avoid situations where they could benefit (or could be seen to benefit) through their position.
  • Individuals, on recognizing a potential conflict of interest situation, must be prepared to explain the matter to their superior and/or the board of directors and take the necessary steps to remove themselves from the situation.
Date Published: March 31, 2018