Resident Code of Conduct: Overview


It is important that recovery residence operators know and understand the importance of a Code of Conduct policy.

Former recovery house residents often mention the house’s social structure as THE significant reason for their recovery success.  A recovery house’s Code of Conduct is the foundation for this structure and consequently the foundation to a resident’s recovery success.

The effectiveness of the Code of Conduct (sometimes called “the House Rules”) lies not in the written agreement, but in the ownership of the Code of Conduct by the residents.

According to OhioMHAS’s Recovery Housing Development Guidebook, a recovery house organization should have their Policies and Procedures document on hand and easily accessible, and this document should include, among other policies, the Resident Code of Conduct.

(LEARN MORE from OhioMHAS Recovery Housing Development Guidebook

Also, ORH requires for certification that recovery house organizations have a list of house rules for residents, the organization must provide the resident the house rules upon move in, and the house rules must be kept in a common area.

These rules should include (at minimum): 

  • Prohibited use and possession of illicit drugs and alcohol.
  • List of items that are prohibited in the home.
  • What language is inappropriate.
  • Parking rules for the neighborhood.
  • Noise rules for the neighborhood.
  • If and where smoking is allowed on the property.
  • Other rules as determined appropriate by the house (including any good neighbor rules).

But as important, these house rules must be supportive of recovery, allow the residents to make (depending on the house level) and enforce rules themselves, and any references to immediate termination or eviction of residency are only in response to actions or behaviors, by the resident being asked to leave, present a serious threat to resident health and safety.