Owning & Operating Recovery Housing
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW AND THINGS YOU MUST KNOW
Owning & Operating recovery housing involves areas including Recovery, Housing & Business. While the Recovery component allows for flexibility, Housing has specific federal, state and local laws that you must follow. As a business owner you have additional legal responsibilities. If you are interested in opening or are an existing recovery housing provider and would like more information please call 216-860-0696.
There are Federal, State and Local Fair Housing Laws to protect individuals from housing discrimination. Understanding Fair Housing should be one of the first topics you learn about when opening a recovery residence. Protections apply when someone is trying to open a recovery residence in a community, as well as when you are operating a recovery residence. There are many local organizations that provide free training and online resources.
Ohio’s Landlord/Tenant Laws do apply to recovery housing. Where this tends to be the most misunderstood is during the time someone is asked to leave due to not complying with the rules. It is important to understand their rights as a tenant and your responsibilities as a housing provider.
Federal law requires you to provide specific information about lead paint before a prospective renter is obligating under lease to rent from you.
Occupancy codes limit the number of individuals who can occupy a given residence. Be sure to know and follow the local occupancy codes for your area. Applying for a Certificate of Occupancy through the city housing and building department is the best way to ensure that you are complying with the occupancy load, and that the use of the property is appropriate.
According to the Ohio Revised Code counties with more than 200,000 people must require rental property registration. Check your county auditor’s office to confirm if you must register and any other requirements they may have.
Every city will have their own requirements that landlords will need to follow. Common requirements include rental registration, occupancy permits, safety such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors & lead paint disclosures. Click on the city that your recovery residence is located in to learn more. It is always best to contact the city to be sure you are in compliance.
|Cleveland Heights||North Canton|
|Cuyahoga Falls||North Ridgeville|
|Garfield Heights||Parma Heights|
In addition to meeting the federal, state and local laws, it is recommended that recovery housing providers meet minimum quality standards. The national organization NARR has developed recommended standards that can help with establishing a framework for operating your recovery residence.
It is important to have a good business plan. Keep in mind that as with any rental business, vacancies are a major factor. You have to be sustainable even when you have vacancies or variables in rent. The plan should include ongoing expenses, taxes, higher utility costs due to a shared living arrangement and unforeseen expenses . There are organizations that offer free workshops and information for individuals who are interested in opening a business.
Very often recovery housing providers will not have the correct insurance that is required for a recovery residence. They will generally have only homeowners, general liability or rental insurance. It is important that you research your options and be very clear with your agent what you are intending to do with the property. Also, be sure that you check the minimum insurance requirements from any funding sources you contract with.
HIRING A LIVE IN HOUSE MANAGER
Often times recovery housing providers will hire a “live in house manager” with the only compensation being free rent. This may not be always be in compliance with employment laws. Be sure to understand what your legal responsibilities are regarding the classification of employment, minimum wage laws and taxes. It is also important to know what you can and cannot put in a job advertisement. Seeking legal advice is highly recommended. You can also contact the department of labor for more information.
Connecting residents in recovery housing to community supports and opportunities is key in supporting their recovery goals. Every individual has unique needs and circumstances and it is important to be able to connect them to resources that meets their needs. One of the first things you should do is to develop a resident resource guide.
It should have information including local support groups and meetings, employment, healthcare, education, life skills development, legal assistance, housing, treatment, food assistance, clothing and transportation. You can even include relapse prevention information. Have the guide available for residents to search for information on their own and consider including one in their new resident welcome packet.
There is a myth that recovery housing providers can deny an applicant based on them utilizing Medication Assisted Treatment. As a recovery housing provider it is important to know what the facts are related to this topic. Ask us about becoming MAT Ready*.
When writing your policies and house rules ensure that you are using dignified and respectful language. Avoid phrases like “immediate discharge” and language that implies the person has no right to make their own decision or have self determination. Not only can this language be harmful to the person and the environment and against best practices in some instances the language is not accordance to due process and a person’s rights.
*The information provided is not intended to replace or substitute any professional, financial, medical or legal advice. The online listings of providers and services is for general information purposes only. To be listed the Service must be located in the Northeast Ohio and be a provider of recovery, treatment or support services. Ask us for more information. NEORRN does not endorse or recommend providers nor engage in verification of quality of services. Providers do not pay to be listed on the NEORRN website. All providers and services listed follow their own eligibility criteria and being listed on the NEORRN website does not guarantee that an individual will be accepted into their programs. NEORRN does not own or operate recovery housing.