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LIHTC Units Vacant for an Extended Period

Written by Cathy Turner, Spectrum Enterprises

As a monitor for compliance in two states I review the vacancy period of low income units on a regular basis. You may be surprised that it not uncommon for me to see units that have been vacant for five or more months. It is our practice to inquire about these units; generally checking for violations of the Vacant Unit Rule. We are checking to see if your units are actively marketed, habitable and rent ready.

Per Treas. Reg. §1.42-5(c)(1)(ix) the owner of a low income project must be required to certify at least annually to the agency that, for the preceding 12 months period: “If a low-income unit in the project became vacant during the year, that reasonable attempts were or are being made to rent that unit or the next available unit of comparable or smaller size to tenants having a qualifying income before any units in the project were or will be rented to tenants not having a qualifying income.”

Units can have an extended vacancy period for a multitude of reasons. However, it is important to document that reason and what measures you have taken to rent the unit in a timely manner.

Does your property have a waiting list? Are you actively processing the applications on the top of the list? Will the next household on the list be ready to move in quickly? How are the units being marketed? Be able to provide examples of how low income units are advertised. What kind of outreach are you doing in the community? How quickly are vacant units becoming rent ready? Don’t wait to complete the turnover work until the unit is leased. Be sure to document your file with a work order showing the date of move-out and the rent ready date.

The goal here is to fill vacancies as quickly as possible with households in need of a low income unit. A failure to provide documentation of reasonable attempts to re-rent low-income units will result in a report of noncompliance.

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