VHDA has offered homebuyer education since 1996. Recognizing that information and resources to help consumers make financially sound and informed decisions are essential to Virginia’s rental housing market, VHDA decided to expand our housing education beyond homeownership. To help focus attention on the importance of rental housing, our Housing Education department developed a user-friendly “How to be a Successful Renter” eBook. It concentrates on three core principles: pay rent on time, maintain the property and abide by all lease provisions. This free eBook is available on vhda.com/RenterEd.
We began by identifying over 700 industry professionals to verify the need for, and possible use of, a rental education manual. Across Virginia, those providing rental counseling, group workshops, locator services, and financial and legal assistance were surveyed. In addition, VHDA associates facilitated regional roundtable discussions in Abingdon, Emporia, Exmore, Hampton, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Manassas and Richmond.
These sessions provided an opportunity for stakeholders and partners to examine the feasibility of a rental education manual as a useful tool for consumers, landlords and educators. VHDA associates also met with staff from the Richmond HUD office, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s Fair Housing office, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia.
Development of the eBook took survey results and roundtable comments into consideration. The result is an in-depth renter tool that spells out Virginia’s laws and regulations in a consumer-friendly format. Both the renter’s rights and responsibilities are detailed, as well as common misunderstandings, challenges, barriers, landlord-tenant issues and fair housing concerns.
The importance of being a knowledgeable renter is reinforced with information that includes tips, alerts, examples and additional resources.
VHDA’s eBook is designed as a replicable model to support Virginia’s rental industry professionals, who are encouraged to share it with applicants, renters and colleagues. “How to be a Successful Renter” information is supported by a quiz, certificate and partner PowerPoints for each chapter. Those providing counseling, education and other renter services can implement all or part of the nine-chapter eBook to enhance their housing services and programs.
The free eBook is available for download at vhda.com/RenterEd. For more information, send an email to RentalEducation@VHDA.com.