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How Do I Handle Problems With Renters?
You must handle problems with renters with fairness, tact, diplomacy, and in accordance with your Unit Quarters Policy, the Forest Service Manual and Handbook, any union agreements that apply to the unit, and other relevant laws and regulations.
Of course, the best time to deal with a problem is when it is first observed and is more likely to be a small problem. When the problem is small, it is usually easy to inform the residents of the problem and ask that they correct it. Your unit quarters policy, along with the Forest Service Manual and Handbook, provide written statements of many of the requirements for people who rent Forest Service quarters. You should not hesitate to show residents "where it is written" that their behavior or actions are not in accordance with established policy. Sections of the manual and handbook that refer specifically to requirements for renters include:
If a problem is not corrected when brought to the attention of the resident, be sure to keep a record of complaints, contacts with the resident, and resident actions, in case disciplinary action eventually becomes necessary. If you need advice in handling a specific situation, or if you believe disciplinary action has become necessary, consult with your personnel specialist in employee relations.
Smoking, alcohol, and drugs are perennial issues in government quarters, especially crew quarters. The main source of guidance on these issues is contained within Forest Service Manual (FSM) 6440 - Real Property Management.
Departmental Regulation 4400-6 is the USDA Smoking Policy. It is included in FSM 6440 section 6443.8 as Exhibit 1 (page 13). It states that smoking is not allowed inside USDA buildings, but personal quarters are exempted from the ban. Your Unit Quarters Policy must clarify whether bunkhouse and crew quarters common rooms are considered personal quarters or whether they must be smoke-free.
FSM 6440 section 6443.1 (page 7) contains the Rules of Conduct for Government Property. These rules apply to Government compounds and public buildings. 6443.1.7 covers alcoholic beverages and narcotics. It basically says that driving while under the influence and possession of drugs are prohibited in Government compounds and public buildings. FSM 6440 section 6445.3.3 (page 25) defines acceptable conduct in Government quarters. It clarifies that Government-owned buildings used for residential purposes are not considered public buildings, and mandates that Regional Foresters and Station/Institute/Area Directors must "Establish standards of conduct for occupants of quarters in compliance with local ordinances, regulations, and laws." These standards should include alcohol and drug issues. Sometimes responsibility for determining standards of conduct is delegated down to the Forest or District level, and such standards are included in the Unit Quarters Policy.