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Rent Adjustments

# Add the ability to track a client’s changes in rent while living at the same address. A significant challenge for some users supporting clients in housing is that rents change over time. It’s not uncommon for a standard rental agreement to have an annual increase in rent, but a bigger challenge comes when a client is living in rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing, which means that a change in income results in a change in rent. In all of the places in HIFIS that allow a caseworker to record a client’s rent, rent is a static field. Changing the rent amount would lead others to believe that the rent is and has always been set at the new amount and would remove any record of the client paying rent at the older amount. _In an interview, a participant shared that due to changing rent, they are in the practice of adding an end date to a client’s Housing History records and creating a new, duplicated Housing History record with the new rent amount but the same address. This is problematic because it has the unintended consequence of making it look like the client has a short duration of housing. By most analyses, it would appear as if the clients in question are moving every year or so and that the community as a whole has difficulty with their previously homeless clients maintaining their housing for any length of time._ Rather than creating an entirely new sub-module to simply track rent increases, there is a logical place for this data to be stored: in the Expenses module. The Expenses module currently tracks all ongoing financial obligations a client is responsible for, and already includes an option for rent. ![Screenshot: Existing Expenses module with sample Rent expenses displayed]( "Screenshot: Existing Expenses module with sample Rent expenses displayed") _Screenshot: Existing Expenses module with sample Rent expenses displayed_ When a user creates a Client Housing Record and fills out the Rent field, an Expense record should automatically be created with the type of “Rent” and a Start Date equal to the Start Date of the housing record. This Expense record should not be editable and should be linked to the client housing record. **Action Item RA-1: Automatically create an Expense with the type “Rent” when a Client Housing Record exists with a Rent value** We envision an extra tab on a client’s housing record (i.e. Housing History) that displays changes in rent over time. This could be entitled “Rent Adjustments” or something similar. This would display all linked Expense records for this housing record, along with the relevant dates and amounts. Because we suggest using the existing Expenses functionality, we anticipate that this would not be an overly onerous enhancement. An alternative approach would be to display changes in rent over time at the bottom of the Display Housing History screen. This could function similarly to how the Waiting List module handles status changes. **Action Item RA-2: Create a way to display the history of Rent Adjustments on a Housing History record** ![]( Display Client Waiting List Information (note Status History at the bottom)_ Users now need a way to update a client’s rent. From the Rent Adjustments tab, there could be a button labelled “Adjust Rent.” Clicking this button should lead to a form titled “Add Rent Adjustment.” This new form would only need a few fields: “Reason for Adjustment,” “New Rent Amount” and “Rent Adjustment Date.” The Reason for Adjustment field should be a single-select drop-down field requiring the following values: - Increase due to inflation - Rent-sharing arrangement - Change in client income - Renovations - Other **Action Item RA-3: Create a “Add Rent Adjustment” form, and a “Add Rent Adjustment” button to reach it, with corresponding rights** ![]( _Mock-up: Add Rent Adjustment screen could look like this_ Users should be able to edit existing Rent Adjustments, in case one was made in error. **Action Item RA-4: Add the ability for users to Edit Rent Adjustment, with corresponding rights** It is recommended that the Rent field be removed from the Edit Housing History screen. In addition, on the Display Housing History screen, the “Rent” field should be relabeled to “Current Rent” and only show the most recent/current Rent value. **Action Item RA-5: Adjust existing fields on Edit Housing History and Display Housing History to reflect the new functionality** Whenever the rent is adjusted, the Expense record containing the previous rent amount should gain an end date equal to the rent adjustment date. **Action Item RA-6: Automatically update Expense records derived from Rent when corresponding Housing records are updated** It is somewhat confusing that there is currently a Rent field in a Housing Unit Record, and also a Rent field in a Client Housing Record, but that these exist independently of each other. The Rent field in the Housing Unit record should contain the most recent known rent for that unit, and should update whenever there is a change. **Action Item RA-7: When rent is adjusted, update the Rent field on the Housing Unit to contain the same value** The combined result of these enhancements should be: - A user can automatically see the client’s rent amounts for all addresses in the Financial Profile \> Expenses page, without having to double-enter this data; - A user can see all of the rent increases for a particular unit over time when pulling up the Housing History record; - Users should be able to track rent adjustments over time without much difficulty; and, - A user can look up the Housing Unit to see what the current rent is, rather than an outdated or blank value.