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Ask us your questions!

Written by Cathy Turner, Spectrum Enterprises

Writing Blogs is not my forte. I am almost always scrambling for a good topic. Sometimes it seems like everything has already been discussed. So how about getting in touch with me and telling me what you want us to write about? What’s an issue that you want discussed? Is there something in the program that you’ve never quite understood or you can’t see the logic in the way something is done (or supposed to be done)? Let me know. I promise your identity will NEVER be revealed. When I write about your question, I promise I will start with “Good Question!” SO touch base with me somehow and give me a good topic to discuss. If I don’t get anything, I’m going to start making stuff up. Like this:

Dear Cathy,

I am a property manager in a small town. Everybody knows everybody else and it’s hard to find good quality tenants to fill my vacancies. When Spectrum comes out they always ask about extended vacancies and I always worry that my marketing efforts will be considered inadequate. What should I do?

Signed, Small Town Manager

Dear Small Town Manager,

Small towns can really prove to be a challenge for even the best managers. And your concern about being able to show good marketing attempts is appropriate. If units stay vacant for too long, they lose their qualified status unless “reasonable” attempts are made to re-rent. So here are some good ideas for ensuring the credit worthiness of your units despite the vacancies.

1- Turn ‘em. Get those vacant units rent ready ASAP. Don’t steal the fridge from one to get another one ready. Keep copies of work orders in your file. Then you will be able to show the date the unit became vacant and when the turnover was completed.

2- Market them. If you’re not using Craigslist then you’re not trying very hard. And it’s cheap! Contact the PHA, Newspapers, put flyers on windshields, whatever it takes. Keep copies of everything and be sure to note the dates they were posted.

3- Freebies! Count up all the vacant units and figure out how much lost revenue it equals. Consider free rent for the 12th month of a new lease or maybe gift certificates to local eateries for timely rent payments. 4. Lower rent. You wouldn’t have a problem filling your units if you gave them away for free would you? You probably don’t have to go all the way down to free but nothing says your rents are too high than a high vacancy rate.

5- Clean up the place. Take a good look around. Is there broken glass on your sidewalk? Cigarette butts? Is grass growing out of your gutters? These things limit curb appeal. My point is: Be creative. Incentivize and take a good long look at what your place offers. And be sure to document everything you do to market LIHTC units.


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