Housing Specialist

City of Takoma Park, MD Class Specification

CLASS TITLE: Housing Specialist
DEPARTMENT: Housing and Community Development
REPORTS TO: Affordable Housing Manager
DATE: 03/2009
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Oversees and manages the operation of the rent stabilization program including the rent reporting process, the rent increase petition process and determining the rent stabilization allowance each year. Investigates complaints, advises tenants and landlords of their rights and responsibilities. Identifies and prepares exhibits for court cases, write case summaries and assists in implementing the City’s affordable housing policy and action plan.


Customer Service

Handles customer questions and complaints, communicates with customers, handles service problems politely and efficiently, always available for customers, follows procedure to solve customer problems, understands all City services, maintains pleasant and professional image. Anticipates, monitors and meets the needs of internal and external customers and responds to them in an appropriate manner. Continually seeks to provide the highest quality service to all customers. Listens carefully when dealing with the public and communicates concern through tone of voice and by taking action to solve their problems in a timely manner. Complies with the City’s Customer Service Policy, including 24-hour response time for telephone calls and e-mails. Explains departmental and City issues to the public in a manner that demonstrates interest and concern for their problems. Listens well, diffuses conflict before it starts, finds causes of and solutions to problems, handles difficult people.


Communicates well both verbally and in writing when required, creates accurate and punctual reports, delivers presentations, shares information and ideas with others, has good listening skills. Effectively conveys information and expresses thoughts and facts. Demonstrates effective use of listening skills and displays openness to other people’s ideas and thoughts. Keeps key employees informed regarding relevant information. Shares information with other members of the team to foster teamwork and to further attainment of the City’s goals. Written and oral information is presented in a manner that projects a positive and professional image of the City.

Reports problems, concerns, issues that should be corrected. Readily shares information and ensures that team members are kept informed and up-to-date. Establishes team and individual accountability for goals, objectives and outcomes. Intervenes as necessary to identify and resolve conflict among team members. Makes conscious and deliberate efforts to build team spirit and identity.

Job Knowledge

Understands duties and responsibilities, has necessary technical skills, understands the City’s mission/values, keeps job knowledge current. Demonstrates the appropriate level of proficiency in the principles and practices of one’s field or profession. Demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement, including the understanding and application of technology where appropriate. Operates within the organization's formal and informal structures, builds allies and relationships across departments, uses allies to build consensus and create results, is appropriately diplomatic, understands others' roles and perspectives, can sell projects and ideas across the organization. Adapts to change, is open to new ideas, takes on new responsibilities, handles pressure, adjusts plans to meet changing needs. Prioritizes well and reacts to opportunities. Is attentive to detail and accuracy, is committed to excellence, looks for improvements continuously, monitors quality levels, finds root cause of quality problems, owns/acts on quality problems.



Adapts to change, is open to new ideas, takes on new responsibilities, handles pressure, adjusts plans to meet changing needs.

Computer Skills

Skilled in the use of computers, adapts to new technology, keeps abreast of changes, learns new programs quickly, uses computers to improve productivity. Makes good use of web tools and on-line resources, can implement and manage web projects.

Negotiation Skills

Conducts positive negotiations, ability to compromise, handles conflict, seeks common ground, articulates own and others goals, stays focused on positive outcome.

Personal Organization

Keeps information organized and accessible, maintains clean/functional work space, works systematically/efficiently, manages time well.

Problem Solving/Analysis

Breaks down problems into smaller components, understands underlying issues, can simplify and process complex issues, understands the difference between critical details and unimportant facts.


Establishes and implements the rent stabilization allowance each year in accordance with the formula set forth in the code and notifies the landlords/agents in writing of the new rent stabilization allowance. Composes instructional letter and revises rent report forms to be sent to landlords and/or agents.

Evaluates completed rent reports submitted by landlords/agents for accuracy and compliance with the rent stabilization ordinance.

Takes appropriate actions regarding violations, investigates possible violations of the rent stabilization and landlord-tenant laws and meets with landlords/agents when needed to resolve identified violations and inform them of potential consequences if violations are not abated. Issues municipal citations to landlords when identified violations are not abated.

Monitors statutes of municipal citations to ensure payment and compliance.

Meets with landlords, agents, real estate brokers and appraisers to interpret and explain the rent stabilization rules and regulations, policies and procedures.

Randomly surveys tenants residing in rental housing properties to assess landlords’ compliance with rent stabilization law.

Coordinates facts of case with city attorney. Testifies in court.

Reviews applications and documents submitted by landlord/agent pertaining to rent increase petitions and exemption from rent stabilization. Evaluates petitions for compliance with notification requirements, rents being charged, and documentation relating to rent increase petitions in accordance with adopted ordinances. Investigates petitions to identify any rent discrepancies, or if the need for additional documentation exists. Determines if an inspection is needed to verify improvements in listed rent increases and coordinates with COLTA’S Inspector.

Advises landlords and tenants of their rights and responsibilities under the rent stabilization and landlord-tenant laws.

Assists tenants in filing complaints for alleged violations by explaining the rent stabilization and landlord-tenant laws, informing them of their rights under the law.

Investigates allegations regarding illegal increases in rent and transfer of utilities and fees. Determines if municipal citations are appropriate, if so, issues municipal citations to landlords.

Prepares and processes complaints of violations of the rent stabilization and landlord-tenant laws.

Investigates and mediates allegations regarding violations of the rent stabilization and landlord-tenant laws.

Composes letters to landlords addressing issues, including requests for information, clarification of code requirements and identification of actions required to resolve the problems.

Creates settlement agreements and coordinate signatures of landlord and tenant.

Identifies and selects relevant documents and mark as exhibits in illegal rent increase, illegal transfer of utilities and fees, and rent increase petition cases scheduled before the Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs (COLTA).

Prepares exhibits for all COLTA cases that have been appealed in accordance with circuit court regulations. Writes and summarizes table of contents for appealed COLTA cases. Testifies at hearings.

Coordinates submission of all required court documents for appealed COLTA cases including transcript and exhibits with City Attorney.

Monitors the effectiveness of rent stabilization and landlord-tenant laws. Recommends changes to ordinance and department regulations.

Assists in the implementation of the City’s affordable housing policy and action.

Participates in other outreach and educational efforts sponsored by the City and other agencies.

Responds to general inquiries regarding rent stabilization program.

Writes articles and publicizes information in newsletters, postings on the web and cable television.

Enters information into a computer terminal/database, updating and closing cases; researching and retrieving information; contacting related parties; and filing information.

Prepares and/or reviews complex, routine and non-routine reports, resolutions and analysis utilizing a variety of software; receives, sorts, and summarizes material for the preparation of reports and resolutions; prepares work reports; relays and interprets administrative decisions, policies and instructions.

Maintains and updates department or organization records.


Participates in Landlord Certification seminar, Tenant Rights Program, and other educational programming.

Performs other related duties as assigned.


  • Computer
  • General Office Equipment


Education and Experience

Associate’s degree from an accredited college or university in Paralegal, or a related field; and,

Two to three years of progressively responsible experience; or,

Any combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Licenses and Certifications

Paralegal Certification desirable.


Knowledge of:

Principals and practices of mediation and dispute resolution.

Correct English usage, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary.

Standard business arithmetic, including percentages and decimals.

Applicable state, federal and local ordinances, laws, rules and regulations.

Landlord-tenant regulations and rent stabilization law and other housing related laws.

Interviewing and investigation techniques.

Record keeping, report preparation, filing methods and records management techniques.

Knowledge of court rules and regulations.

Department organization, standard operating guidelines and policies, rules, and regulations.

All computer applications and hardware related to performance of the essential functions of the job.

Skill in:

Using tact, discretion, initiative and independent judgment within established guidelines

Appreciation and understanding of the dynamics of a culturally and economically diverse community.

Organizing work, setting priorities, meeting critical deadlines, following up on assignments with a minimum of direction.

Applying logical thinking to solve problem or accomplish tasks; to understand, interpret and communicate complicated policies, procedures and protocols.

Communicating orally with internal staff, residents, property owners, and other departmental staff in order to give and receive information in a courteous manner.

Mental and Physical Abilities

Ability to interact with a wide variety of clients while maintaining a courteous and professional work environment and priorities.

Ability to draft and type correspondence.

Ability to write clear and concise reports and correspondences.

Ability to interpret rules and regulations.

Ability to use good analytical skills in solving problems or accomplishing tasks.

While performing the essential functions of this job the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; speak and hear; lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.

Working Conditions

Work is performed in a normal office environment with little exposure to outdoor temperatures or dirt and dust.

The incumbent's working conditions are typically moderately quiet.

Maybe required to work evenings/ weekends.

file: Housing Specialist

This class specification should not be interpreted as all inclusive. It is intended to identify the essential functions and requirements of this job. Incumbents may be requested to perform job-related responsibilities and tasks other than those stated in this specification. Any essential function or requirement of this class will be evaluated as necessary should an incumbent/applicant be unable to perform the function or requirement due to a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodation for the specific disability will be made for the incumbent/applicant when possible.