We believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to live a fulfilled and accomplished life. It is our mission to provide a safe, affordable and accessible home for individuals with disabilities in Southwest Ohio so that they can live as valued members of their community. We know that having the community-based housing needed allows our tenants to focus on living a fulfilling life. The items below (in alphabetical order) contain information about the housing, from what a Housing Authority will require with a Housing Choice Voucher to our specific policies and procedures to provide a high quality home for those who rent from us. If you have any questions, please always feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-619-2929.
Absences from Home
Affordable housing tailored to meet the needs of people with disabilities is in very short supply and it is our goal that no person with a developmental disability is denied an opportunity to live in the community in a residential setting appropriate for their needs. Therefore, our lease requires that if a tenant is going to be out of a unit for more than 120 days, the landlord is notified. At the point of notification, we will enter into discussions about the possible timeline for return to the home. In cases where someone will be out of the home for long periods of time (for instance, 6+ months) that their lease may not be able to be held so that another person in need may access the affordable housing. These discussions and decisions are made with the County Board and factor in the specifics of the situation at hand.
Our homes are equipped with Salto KS lock systems. These locks are proximity readers, reading either a key fob or the credentials on a phone. Tenants will provide a list of individuals they would like to have permissions and we will process the request. Approved providers and family members can obtain access by choosing permissions on key fobs or phones. The key fobs are pricey therefore for everyone (but the tenant), we charge a deposit for the key fob. We will refund this deposit upon the return of the fob.
We started this system because our homes see a rotation of unrelated individuals come through and changing the locks when someone moves out is not always reasonable. This system will allow us to provide independent and individual permissions to access the home as needed. Likewise, it allows permissions to be removed real time as needed.
All access must be approved by the tenant or their guardian.
Charges for Damages
In order to be good stewards of funds and ensure that we have sufficient resources to ensure that all of our tenants have access to high quality housing, we do charge for damages sustained to our homes. Only damage beyond normal wear and tear will ever be charged. Additionally, if the damages appear may be specifically related to an individual’s disability, we attempt to reach out to the SSA or Provider to evaluate whether there is a modification that can be made to prevent damage from recurring.
From time to time, damage may also be caused by Provider staff. Most often, this is vehicle related: parking on unpaved surfaces and contact with the structure of the home. In these events, we will attempt to resolve this directly with the Provider organization.
We understand that our tenants generally are low income and therefore we are happy to enter into a payment arrangement when necessary. Please contact our offices to set up a payment arrangement.
Often our primary point of contact in a home is the Provider. For each home, we record a primary contact for the Provider and will provide all notices and address any concerns in the home to this individual. Much of this communication comes via email in recognition of the varying shifts and unpredictability of the activities the Provider may be involved in.
We ask that the Provider contact ensure that critical information, such as upcoming inspections, is shared with the individuals on staff in the home. It is not our intent to surprise staff by a visit to the home but often the staff in homes are surprised to see us during a scheduled visit.
We also ask that Providers respond to emailed questions or requests. We understand that the Providers are responsible for a lot of varied activities and we do not want to overwhelm emails with follow up requests.
Any criminal activity on the site is strictly prohibited. Given the shared housing nature of most of our sites, any criminal activity jeopardizes not only the offender by the occupants of the dwelling unit. Criminal activity is a lease violation. If this is deemed to have a detrimental impact on others on the site, we will be forced to initiate eviction proceedings.
Fire Safety: Training, Sprinklers, and Monitored Smoke Detectors
Of critical concern for us is fire safety. In the US, individuals with intellectual disabilities are significantly more likely to perish in a fire. We count on our Providers and Guardians to ensure the tenants are aware of pathways to evacuate a home. All of our homes have smoke detectors. We have also equipped many of our homes with monitored smoke detectors and with sprinkler systems.
The sprinkler systems in many of our homes are intended to provide additional time to evacuate the home, not necessarily to preserve the home. Please use haste in evacuating any home, even those with sprinkler systems.
Our monitored smoke detectors are connected to a panel. If a smoke detector is tripped, the monitoring service will dispatch the fire department. If there is an accidental tripping of the detector (i.e. while cooking), please call the number on the information card by the panel and provide the password printed on the card. If this call is made early enough, the monitoring service may be able to call of the false call. If there are enough false calls for fire, the municipality may impose a financial penalty which would be passed along to the household.
If the fire panel is beeping when there is no alarm, you can attempt to reset the panel using the code on the card. If the beeping does not stop or recurs after a period of silence, then please call our offices and we will send someone out to service it.
We use a variety of funding mechanisms to create housing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Each of the programs has its own set of rules and regulations for how we work with our tenants. Please understand that this will require that we will need to obtain specific information from tenants to meet the compliance requirements and that it will also likely mean that the administrators of these programs will, from time to time, need to inspect the properties to ensure that they meet program requirements.
Many of our homes have garages. We do not permit parking in the garages, except in specific situations. We have come to this decision for a number of reasons. First, from time to time, we will need to use garage space to expand living space to accommodate a disability or to add features (like sprinklers) to a home. Secondly, when we have permitted people to park in the garages many homes experienced damage from vehicles. Automotive repairs inside garages are prohibited. Minimal vehicle repairs outside the home such as replacement of a battery, or a tire is acceptable.
As typical with any residential lease, tenants are responsible for making sure that their guests follow the expectations that are laid out in the lease. This would include any visiting friends, family and providers. The tenant can have adverse lease actions taken if a visitor violates a term of the lease. Most often, this would be for disrupting others peaceful enjoyment of their homes (roommates and neighbors) or causing damage to the leased property. We certainly need and greatly appreciate the assistance of the Provider to ensure that tenants are assisted with addressing adverse actions by any guests.
Due to the nature of our homes, where unrelated individuals share a home, our lease lays out specific expectations of overnight guests. Per the lease, a guest cannot stay for more than 3 consecutive days without obtaining permission from the landlord. Additionally, there is a maximum of 7 nights per year of any overnight guests per tenant.
We will permit additional nights on a case-by-case basis. This expectation is set as an attempt to ensure that the rights of all of the tenants in a home to be protected. We do not want a tenant to end up with an additional de facto roommate. Additionally, additional people in a home also result in additional costs (ie. utilities) that are borne by all of the tenants in a home.
Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)
Housing Choice Vouchers save our tenants a fair amount of money by limiting their responsibility for rent and utilities. However, there are a number of expectations that come along with this program.
Income Verifications: HUD requires that the Housing Authority abide by strict documentation requirements for the program which will need to be completed at move in and annually. Notices of Annual Recertifications are mailed to the tenants’ residences. It is important that these notices are addressed when received. Failure to do so will result in the tenant losing their rental assistance. As a landlord we get notified when the tenant fails to provide the needed information and will share this information with the Provider, Representative Payee, Guardian and SSA in an attempt to ensure that the tenant does not lose access to this program.
Annual Inspections: Prior to the initial placement of a voucher in the home and annually, the Housing Authority will inspect the property. For annual inspections, it is the responsibility of the tenant to permit access to the Inspector for this inspection. Failure to allow access results in a failed inspection and can cause the tenant to lose their voucher.
Absences from the Unit: If a tenant is absent from the unit for more than 120 days (hospital, nursing home, developmental center, etc), then the housing authority can remove the voucher from the home. However, by proactively notifying the housing authority and requesting a reasonable accommodation, we can often prevent the loss of the voucher. Please reach out to us in these cases and we can advise how to prevent losing the voucher.
Unauthorized Tenants: HUD has strict requirements about unauthorized guests/tenants in a home with a voucher. During their annual inspection, they are trained to look for evidence of other people in the home. All tenants on the voucher are required to meet strict guidelines for participation in the subsidy program and therefore those that have not gone through this rigor can cause the voucher holder to lose their voucher. (Please note that for those with a shared housing voucher, this would apply to anyone sharing their bedroom not the other people in the home.)
Quarterly, we send out notices of inspection week. During inspection week, the HVAC filters are changed and staff will inspect the property. These inspections are intended to look for any maintenance item that is needing to be addressed as well as any condition in the home needing to be addressed. If there is damage to the home or cleanliness of the home is an issue, a follow up email will be sent to the Provider in the home. The cleanliness items that we focus on are ones that can bring about a pest control issue, those that present potential health issue (especially relating to bodily fluids), those that impact the comfort of a roommate sharing the home, and those that can prevent safe egress from the home in the event of an emergency.
Most of our homes have driveways and are in residential neighborhoods. We understand that with shift changes and house vehicles, even a typical amount of driveway parking can prove to be problematic for provider staff.
It is however our intent that our homes fit seamlessly into the neighborhood. The most typical complaint we receive from neighbors is related to parking. When parking, please consider whether you are making a street difficult to pass, particularly if there will be an Access bus load near there.
Please ensure that you are not parking off the side of the road in the grass or in the unpaved areas in our yards. Please attempt to avoid areas across from where someone will be backing out of their driveway. We understand that this can create a lot of challenges for provider staff, but we really want our tenants to be seen as members of the community and when neighbors become aware that non-residents are creating regular parking issues for the neighborhood, this has a deleterious impact on the tenants.
Whenever a pest is noticed, please call our offices. We will initiate pest control services for pests such as mice, roaches, and ants for all counties. Our contract for Butler County homes allows us to provide bed bug treatments. For other counties, please understand that we require that we are notified of any bed bug issues even though the tenants are responsible for acquiring and scheduling the treatments. We will also require proof of appropriate treatment by a licensed pest control professional. Failure to report pests or to comply with pest control protocols is a lease violation. While a home is being treated for bed bugs, we may limit work order activity to emergency items to prevent the possible spread of bed bugs between homes. Furthermore, if conditions in the home are directly related to the pest control problem, the home may be billed for the services. These protocols are intended to promote the best living conditions for our tenants.
Pets can be permitted provided that they meet the expectations of the pet policy (including type, size and vaccination status), a deposit is paid and authorization is given. However, at the time of the requested, the pet must be acceptable to all of the tenants in the home as evidenced by a sign off.
The pet policy does not apply to tenant who needs an animal related to their disability. A tenant in this position will need to request a reasonable accommodation prior to the introduction of the animal. Consent from the other tenants will not (cannot) be sought. However, lease action can be taken against the tenant if the assistance animal negatively impacts the unit's peaceful enjoyment.
There are items that we do not permit in our homes or on the property. These items were chosen due to insurance reasons, for fire safety concerns or personal safety concerns. These include the following:
We are happy to make reasonable accommodations for tenants when appropriate. This can mean making physical changes to the space or adjusting protocols and policies to accommodate a person’s disability. If something needs to be addressed, please contact our offices. We will review the needs, related documentation and appropriate processes and provide feedback on any request.
Referrals & Applications for Tenancy
We have funding contracts that allow us to operate this housing at an affordable rate to our tenants. Our contracts prescribe that the county boards of developmental disabilities are the only entities that can make a referral for tenancy. Given the shared housing nature of our housing, this is to promote a positive housing situation for all tenants. Applicants may be required to attend specific meetings prior to filing an application for a home, a process that would be prescribed by a person’s SSA. If a Provider or Guardian would like to propose a specific tenant for an opening, they will be required to reach out to the SSAs involved in the home and with the applicant prior us setting up a tour for the person. We will not accept an application for a person who has not been referred by the County Board of Developmental Disabilities, per our contract.
Rent & Representative Payees
Per the lease, the rent is due at the first of the month. We understand that many of our tenants do not receive their social security check until shortly after the first of the month. We have a grace period of 10 days in the lease. If the rent is late, a $10 late fee will be added to the account.
Due to the large number of tenants with representative payees, our contract with the County Boards and the rules governing representative payees, from time to time we will report actions that may appear to be in violation of representative payee rules. This is intended to look out for the rights of our tenants.
Smoking is not permitted inside the home or within 20 feet of a door or window by a tenant, a provider, or any guests to the home. Smoking is defined as any inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any electronic cigarette, lighted cigar, tobacco product or other combustible product in any manner or in any form. This policy is set to prevent the negative impact on air quality for any tenant in the home as well as the negative impact on the structure. This can be particularly important if any tenant in the home uses oxygen.
Storage of Materials
Storage is always a critical item in our homes. Policies seek to protect our tenants, their rights, and the structure. Due to fire safety concerns, no flammable fuels can be stored inside a building (propane, gasoline, etc.). Oxygen shall not be stored or used near any stove, furnace, hot water heater or any other igniting device. Lastly, all manners of egress must be kept clear. Items shall not be stacked in front of a window, obstruct the full swing of a door, or be in the direct pathway of any exit, including through the garage. Generally, we will request that any chair, couch, or mattress moved to a garage, basement or along the outside of a home be removed. This is a bed bug precaution. All of these items will need to be wrapped in plastic prior to being placed at the curb for trash removal.
We also seek to protect our tenants through what they store and how they are identified. Unless there is a compelling reason, we ask that all electronics, equipment and furniture that appears to no longer be able to meet its primary function, be removed from the premises. Additionally, we ask that all stored items be marked to identify the ownership of the stored materials. The goal of this policy is to prevent the storage of items after a tenant has moved or passed away. Having these items remain both restricts the storage for the current tenants and may leave the last tenant with the responsibility of removing all of the stored materials for all of their former tenants.
Tenants are responsible for ensuring that trash is removed appropriately from the site. Trash must be bagged and placed in lidded trash cans while awaiting trash day. The lids must be closed. If a home finds that they routinely have more trash than their trash can can accommodate, then it is expected that the trash provider will be contacted and another toter be obtained. It is important that the trash be taken to the curb weekly for removal.
From time to time, larger items may need to be placed at the curb for removal. If a large item, please contact the garbage provider in advance so that they will be prepared to remove the item. If it is a mattress or other fabric covered furniture (i.e. couch), the garbage providers require that the item be wrapped in plastic prior to being placed at the curb. This is to limit their staff exposure to bed bugs.
Use of Vacant Bedrooms
We have contracts with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and the County Boards of Developmental Disabilities. These contracts require the we utilize the bedrooms in these homes for the sole benefit of people with disabilities. Therefore, the policy is to prohibit Providers from using vacant bedrooms as an office or sleeping space. Policy exceptions are only made on a case-by-case basis for the benefit of the tenant with a disability with the approval of the County Board.
The lease for a unit will outline the responsibility for the utilities. It is a lease violation to not keep the utilities in good standing. This is particularly true for water and sewer services where the liability for an unpaid bill can ultimately become a lien on our property. Failure to pay utilities can result in the termination of a lease.
Inclusive Housing Resources negotiated a long-term high-speed internet contract with AltaFiber for the homes serviced by AltaFiber’s fiber lines. The charge for this service is $30 per site and is paid for in some, but not all, counties by the County Board. This is significantly less than is available otherwise. Other services such as cable television, land line telephone services and increased wifi speeds can be obtained at a discounted price from AltaFiber. Please contact our offices so that we can assist with making sure that the correct pricing is quoted by AltaFiber.
It is our desire to consistently provide high quality housing to our tenants, and we need your help to do this. Please report all needed repairs as soon as they are noticed. Things like no heat, no air, flooding, inoperable toilet (when another is not available), etc are emergencies and we want these items addressed as soon as possible, day or night. Other items, like a dripping faucet, running toilet, nonworking electric outlets, etc. should be sent via email (email@example.com) or call (513-619-2929) as soon as practical.
Concerns that we can not assist with
Equitable Food and food storage
We understand that having multiple adults in the home with varying dietary restrictions and preferences can create challenges for food storage. How to handle this is something for the individuals and their supportive staff/guardians to work through together. Each household is different and generally this is not something that we will weigh in on. The only times we will get involved is to run an electrical line for a second fridge or freezer or if the appliances are being used in a manner that is inconsistent with prudent use (i.e. packing a fridge/freezer impacting its function). Generally, we only permit one fridge (provided) in the kitchen and one additional fridge or freezer.
Issues between multiple providers in same home
We understand that having more than one provider in a home can present some unique challenges. As a rule, we do not get involved in issues between providers. If providers bring concerns about working together to our attention, we generally will make a referral of the issue to the County Board’s Housing Coordinator or SSA for the home.