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Where should I send the Utility Allowance Check?

The handling of disbursements of utility allowances (UA) in affordable housing varies from property to property. The question remains how do properties determine the best way to apply the utility allowance. Do the checks need to be made out to the utility companies with C/O on the checks, or do the tenants come in every month and need to sign the back of the check? Should I just give the tenants the utility check and rely on them to make the payment. If I depend on the tenants to come in and pick up their checks I could be hunting the same ones down every month to get them to come in. The issue is that tenants are not coming in to pick up their checks, even after we have sent them notices.

Another good question is perhaps why HUD projects don’t send Utility Reimbursements directly to the providers. One manager told me that her company cut one check each month to the utility provider with a voucher that listed each household and their amount. I’m not sure what the requirements are to get this set up. Another property directly mails them to the utility companies. They are written to the company, for the benefit of the customer/tenant.

Whichever method you choose, get a consent form signed by the tenant so they know you are applying the UA accordingly. It may also be a good idea to include how the utility allowance checks will be applied in your Tenant Selection Plan too.

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