Welcome Public Housing Tenants!

The NIRHA Board members and staff welcome you as a resident in our public housing.  We hope you will feel comfortable and safe during the time you are with us. It is our goal to provide you with safe, decent and affordable housing.  In our efforts to do this, there must be cooperation and communication between all of us.  We are confident that if there is clear understanding of everyone’s expectations and responsibilities this will be a good experience for everyone.

 

We hope you will take advantage of both of these resources to stay informed.  If there is information that is not on the website or in the newsletter that you think should be addressed, please feel free to contact us either via email or other means and make a suggestion. 

 

Questions regarding payment of rent

Rent adjustments

What should I do if something breaks in my apartment or elsewhere on the property?

Housekeeping questions

Are pets permitted?

Violation questions

Decorating questions

Tenant Responsibilities

Who is my Housing Specialist?

 

QUESTIONS REGARDING PAYMENT OF RENT

  1. When is rent due?

Your rent is due the first day of each month, however it is not considered late until after the 5th day of the month.  If the 5th falls on the weekend or holiday, your rent will be due the first working day following the 5th. 

  1. What if I pay my rent late?

If you do not pay your rent by the close of business on the 5th, or other approved extension as noted above, you will be charged with a late point.  Tenants who accumulate three late points within a consecutive 12 month period will automatically have their lease terminated for chronic late rent payment.  Late rent payment is a lease violation, and three violations in a year is considered a repeated and serious violation.

  1. How and where will I pay rent?

There are a variety of ways to pay your rent.  We strongly encourage you to sign up for automatic payment from your bank account.  Your rent will automatically be withdrawn from your account on the 5th day of each month. Other options are to pay with a check, money order or cash. You can mail your rent to NIRHA, 202 1st Street SE, Ste. 203, Mason City, IA  50401 or you can deliver it in person to the office. Do not send cash through the mail!

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RENT ADJUSTMENTS

  1. Will my rent be adjusted every year?

Yes.  Approximately three months before your anniversary date, you will receive a letter requesting you to fill out another set of forms and schedule an appointment to review the information.  Staff will verify your income and allowable deductions to determine if your rent needs to be adjusted based on your current information. 

  1. Can my rent be adjusted anytime during the year?

Yes.  Your rent can be adjusted any time your income, allowable deductions or family size changes.  All changes that occur during the year are to be reported to your Housing Specialist within 10 days.

  1. What will happen if I give false or incomplete information?

If you knowingly give us false or incomplete information or answers to questions about your income, family size or other similar matters, NIRHA may seek eviction, collect back charges, or even pursue fraud charges. The information you provide must be truthful and accurate and be kept up to date at all times. Remember, the NIRHA will verify all of your income with your employers. Be sure to report all changes of income or family size to your Housing Specialist within ten days.

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WHAT SHOULD I DO IF SOMETHING BREAKS IN MY APARTMENT OR ELSEWHERE ON THE PROPERTY?

  1. Who should I call for repairs?

If something needs to be fixed, don't wait! Report the problem by calling the office at 641/423-0897 ext. 1.

  1. Will I be charged to get something fixed in my home?

You will not be charged for repairs due to normal wear and tear. You will be charged when you cause damage to your unit or appliances.

  1. When will my repairs be done?

Your requests will be recorded and forwarded to the maintenance staff by the next business day if it is not an emergency. Your repairs will be made as soon as possible. Your request for repairs is authorization for maintenance to enter your unit and make necessary repairs unless we are otherwise notified. If you are not home at the time maintenance staff enters your unit, written notification will be left in the unit indicating that maintenance staff were there.

  1. What should I do about a maintenance emergency?

During regular business hours, NIRHA will send workers immediately in case of a real emergency problem. After regular business hours, please refer to your emergency contact list for phone numbers of people to call. The emergency numbers are to be used only after regular business hours and on weekends.  Please also call the NIRHA office and leave a message regarding the emergency.

  1. Can I call a service repair company myself?

You can only if you are not able to reach any of the staff members within a reasonable time.  If you do call a repair company, call the office and leave a message as to the date, time, name of the service company and the efforts you made to contact staff.  Failing to do so may result in you having to pay the service bill.

  1. What is considered a maintenance emergency?

This is an excellent question!  An emergency is defined as a situation that poses an immediate threat to someone's health or safety or will cause a great deal of property damage if not corrected immediately.

Some examples of emergencies are:

  • - Smell or leaking gas
  • - Broken/blocked sewer line
  • - Fallen electrical lines
  • - Natural disasters like severe hail storm damage, tornado, flooding or potential of flooding, etc.
  • - Unhealthy drinking water
  • - Failed heating system
  • - Hazardous electrical system
  • - Inoperable smoke detector (it is your responsibility to keep working batteries in the detectors)

 

If you see this type of problem, call for assistance anytime, day or night.

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HOUSEKEEPING QUESTIONS

  1. What is considered good housekeeping?

The Housing Authority expects you to keep a clean and orderly home. Good housekeeping not only enhances your homes appearance but also helps prevent fires and keeps insects and other pests away. Some examples of good housekeeping include:

  • - Cleaning grease and spilled food or drinks from your oven, countertops and floors immediately after the incident occurs.
  • - Keeping your floors, windows, counters, and cabinets clean at all times.
  • - Keeping the inside and outside of your refrigerator clean by wiping it down with a damp cloth. Also, remember to throw out outdated food items.
  • - Scrub your tub(s), shower(s), and toilet(s) regularly to ensure that they remain clean and sanitary.
  • - Throw away your kitchen garbage and other household trash daily.
  • - Keep yard free of garbage.
  1. What will happen if my home is poorly kept?

If your home is dirty, cluttered or otherwise poorly attended, you will be warned and expected to correct the problem immediately. You may also be required to attend special classes to enforce better housekeeping habits. If the problem is not corrected or continues, you may be evicted under the terms of your lease agreement for failure to maintain your unit.

If it is necessary to call an exterminator because your housekeeping is the apparent cause of infestation for flies, roaches, mice, etc. you will be responsible for the cost of the service.

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ARE PETS PERMITTED?

Pets are allowed on a very limited basis. Please call the office for more information.

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VIOLATION QUESTIONS

  1. Why are some residents evicted?

When residents fail to pay rent, destroy Housing Authority property, or violate other terms of their lease agreement, the Housing Authority may seek eviction. There are two types of eviction; a serious lease violation and nonpayment of rent.

  1. What are considered serious lease violations?

Some examples include:

- Failure to report changes in income or family size accurately and timely

- Destruction of Housing Authority property

- Poor housekeeping

- Fighting, or threatening the health or general well-being of other residents and staff

  1. What about illegal drug and/or alcohol abuse?

The Housing Authority will evict any resident who engages in illegal drug use or drug related criminal activity. Residents can also be evicted for alcohol abuse if it adversely affects their neighbors.

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DECORATING QUESTIONS

1.  What kinds of decorating are allowed?

You are welcome to add personal touches to your home; however certain permanent or damaging changes cannot and will not be tolerated. Please call the office if you have any questions regarding this matter. Listed below are some basic guidelines:

  1. You may put up curtains and use throw rugs
  2. Hang pictures and other decorative items
  3. Decorate with removable materials and fasteners that do not cause serious or permanent damage to any walls, floors, doors, cabinets etc.
  4. Use removable strips to attach rugs or carpet to the floors
  5. Permanent floor coverings such as vinyl, carpet or tile are strictly prohibited
  6. Ceiling hooks are not allowed for any reason
  7. Wallpaper is not allowed
  8. Painting is only allowed when completed by housing staff or authorized contractor

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PUBLIC HOUSING PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Giving True and Complete Information
    Participants certify that the information provided to the North Iowa Regional Housing Authority (NIRHA) regarding household composition, income, net family assets, allowances, and deductions is accurate and complete to the best of his or her knowledge and belief.

  2. Reporting Changes in Household Size
    Participants certify that no person, other than those listed on the application, can stay, live, or reside in the public housing unit more than 14 days in any given 12 month period without prior notice to NIRHA. Failure to report changes in the household to NIRHA will result in termination of housing assistance and could result in theft or fraud charges under state and federal law. If there is a change in the household composition, an interim reexamination is may be required.

  3. Reporting Changes in Income
    ParticipantsI must report all increases in household income within ten (10) working days of occurrence. This includes any changes in wages, hours worked, starting or stopping date of job, or changes in other income such as unemployment, child support, Social Security, pensions, gifts, inheritances, etc. Rent will not be increased unless there is a change in the household composition or until the next scheduled reexamination, unless the partcipant has been calculated at zero rent.

    If gross income decreases or expenses (medical, childcare, or handicap assistance) increase, NIRHA will recalculate income to determine if rent portion will decrease.

    Participants are required to report all changes to his/her application from the time the application is submitted to NIRHA until the effective date of reexamination or admission. Leases can be terminated if a participant fails to report any changes in income on any application.

  4. Reporting Plans to Move or Terminate Assistance
    Public Housing tenants are required to give NIRHA a proper notice of any plans to move. Proper notice means one month plus one day.

  5. Inspections
    NIRHA will inspect the units yearly and the tenant may be present for the inspection. If the tenant or any other family representative cannot be present, NIRHA staff will enter the unit and conduct the inspection.

  6. No Duplicate Residence or Assistance
    I certify that the unit will be my only principal residence and I will not obtain duplicate federal housing assistance while I am on the program.

  7. Criminal Activity
    Public housing tenants must not engage in or be convicted of any drug related or violent criminal activity or commit bribery, fraud, or another corrupt or criminal act regarding any federal housing program during participation or three years prior to admission to the public housing program.

    Tenants will be terminated and banned from receiving assistance for three years from the time of conviction if convicted of committing any of the following while living in a public housing unit: drug related or violent criminal activity; bribery, fraud, or another corrupt or criminal act regarding any federal housing program; or any felony.

    If a tenant is required to register as a sexual offender or has been charged or convicted of selling, possessing, or producing methamphetamines or the precursors of methamphetamines, he/she will be banned for life from receiving rental assistance.

  8. Cooperation
    Participants are required to cooperate in supplying all information needed to determine eligibility, level of benefits, and true circumstances. Cooperation includes attending scheduled appointments; completing and signing forms; and disclosing and verifying the Social Security Numbers for all family members age six and over. Failure or refusal to do so will result in termination of assistance.

  9. Criminal and Administrative Action for False Information
    False statements of information are punishable under federal law and are grounds for termination of housing assistance.

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WHO IS MY HOUSING SPECIALIST?

Karri Gansen is the Housing Specialist for Britt, Clear Lake, Hampton, Rockford and Sheffield. She can be reached at 641-423-0897 ext 5 or kgansen@nirha.com.

 

Karen Meyer is the Housing Specialist for Algona, Forest City, Manly, Northwood, and Rockford. She can be reached at 641-423-0897 ext 4 or kmeyer@nirha.com.

 

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Britt

 

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clear lake

 

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Forest City

 

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Hampton

 

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Manly

 

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Northwood

 

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Osage

 

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Rockford

 

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Sheffield