Landlords & Investors

The Legal and Policy Reasons Underlying Oxford House Group Leases
In 1988, Congress established the requirements that every State in the country establish a revolving fund to help start houses based on the Oxford House model (P.L. 100-690). Since that time, Oxford House, Inc., has organized a national
headquarters to help individuals throughout the United States open Oxford Houses. The purpose of this page is to assist new groups, landlords, rental agents and local officials understand how Oxford House leases residential single family houses in good neighborhoods.

In 1975, Oxford House leases were pathfinders in the landlord-tenant arena. Today, they have become the norm for the thirty-nine states and two hundred-nineteen cities in which Oxford House operates. The leases are exactly the same as a lease to a single family but with certain important distinctions.

Who Signs the Lease
The signatory of the lease is the individual Oxford House; for example, Oxford House – Main Street. The effect of this commitment by the group to the landlord is important because of the nature of Oxford House and the application of local landlord-tenant laws.

Oxford House works because an individual resident who returns to using alcohol or drugs–in or outside of the house–must be immediately expelled from the
house. If the individual is a signatory to the lease the immediate eviction becomes difficult, if not impossible, because of local landlord-tenant rights. In
many jurisdictions it takes up to ninety days to evict a tenant even for nonpayment of rent. Since no individual is a signatory to a Oxford House lease, the relapsing individual who is being evicted has no legal rights to delay his or her
departure. There is no way to accomplish this result without the signature on the lease being in the name of the particular Oxford House group.

The landlord gets additional benefit from this type of agreement. The landlord deals with duly constituted officers of the group and can expect accountability for
all matters concerning the occupancy. Individuals come and go but officers will always be duly authorized to act for the group. Moreover, the landlord does not have to worry about the accountability of particular individuals. He or she is dealing with an established organization that, of necessity, takes pride in preservation of its good name and reputation.

Who is Responsible
The particular group house is responsible to the landlord. An important part of why Oxford House has been so successful is that accountability and responsibility is given to the recovering individuals themselves. As a group they
behave responsibly and out of the “group responsibility” individuals develop a new responsible lifestyle free of alcohol and drug use.

Oxford House, Inc., plays an important part in making certain that individual groups behave responsibly through the use of the “Charter” mechanism. Each individual group is given an Oxford House Charter which makes it a part of the network of Oxford House recovery houses. That charter carries with it certain privileges; for example, the individual house is (1) brought under the tax exempt status of Oxford House, Inc. (2) given support and education about the operation of self-run, self-supported recovery houses, (3) provided assistance in filling vacancies and enforcing sobriety and financial responsibility and (4) monitored to
assure quality control. It becomes important to every house that it keep its charter.

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