A. J. Johnson Partners with Mid-Atlantic AHMA for Affordable Housing Training - June 2024

person A.J. Johnson today 05/15/2024

In June 2024, A. J. Johnson, a renowned expert in the field, will join forces with the esteemed Mid-Atlantic Affordable Housing Management Association to conduct training sessions for real estate professionals. These sessions, tailored for those in the affordable multifamily housing field, will be delivered through live webinars, culminating in an in-person administration of the HCCP exam.  The following sessions are scheduled:

June 6:  HOTMA - Update on HUD Requirements - On January 9, 2023, HUD published a final rule implementing The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), signed into law on July 29, 2016.  This final rule was published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2023, and became effective on January 1, 2024. Virtually all HUD programs are impacted by the rule, as are the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program and the Rural Development Section 515 Program. Since publishing the final rule in February 2023, HUD has provided additional guidance in implementing the rule, including extensions regarding implementation. This three-hour training will explain any updated HUD guidance and will cover the following areas: (1) Definitional changes relating to earned and unearned income, non-recurring income, and foster children; (2) Revised Income Exclusions; (3) New requirements relative to Student Financial Assistance; (4) Changes to the HUD permitted deductions from gross income, including a full review of the new "hardship exemptions;" (5) Brand new rules regarding assets; (6) New Interim Recertification requirements; (6); and (7) the new definition of "annual income."

This session is a must for all managers of HUD, Rural Development, and LIHTC properties and will provide plenty of opportunity for Q&A.

June 11: Intermediate LIHTC Compliance  - Designed for more experienced managers, supervisory personnel, investment asset managers, and compliance specialists, this program expands on the information covered in the Basics of Tax Credit Site Management. A more in-depth discussion of income verification issues and minimum set-aside issues (including the Average Income Minimum Set-Aside), optional fees, HOTMA changes, and use of common areas are included. The Available Unit Rule is covered in great detail, as are the requirements for units occupied by students. Attendees will also learn the requirements for setting rents at a tax-credit property. This course contains some practice problems but is more discussion-oriented than the Basic course. A calculator is required for this course.

June 12: Advanced LIHTC Compliance - This full-day training is intended for senior management staff, developers, corporate finance officers, and others involved in decision-making concerning how LIHTC deals are structured. This training covers complex issues such as eligible and qualified basis, applicable fraction, credit calculation (including first-year calculation), placed-in-service issues, rehab projects, tax-exempt bonds, projects with HOME funds, Next Available Unit Rule, employee units, mixed-income properties, the Average Income Minimum Set-Aside, vacant unit rule, and dealing effectively with State Agencies. Individuals taking the HCCP exam on June 13 will be provided with study materials and a practice exam to assist in preparation for the HCCP exam.

June 13: Review of testable areas and administration of the Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP©) exam (In-person exam in Richmond, VA). After two days of intensive and comprehensive live webinar LIHTC training, AJ will review program requirements and administer the HCCP exam in person.

These sessions are part of a year-long collaboration between A. J. Johnson and MidAtlantic AHMA designed to provide affordable housing professionals with the knowledge needed to effectively manage the complex requirements of the various agencies overseeing these programs.

Persons interested in any (or all) training sessions may register by visiting either www.ajjcs.net or https://www.mid-atlanticahma.org.

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Navigating Fair Housing in Digital Advertising - Ensuring Non-Discriminatory Ad Delivery

Introduction: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity has released crucial guidance on how the Fair Housing Act applies to digital advertising in the housing and real estate sectors. With the increasing use of automated systems and artificial intelligence (AI) in ad targeting and delivery, it is essential to understand the potential risks of discriminatory practices and take proactive measures to ensure fairness. Understanding the Risks: It's crucial to grasp how new technologies enable advertisers to target specific audiences while excluding others, potentially leading to discrimination in housing-related ads. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability. By understanding these risks, you can proactively ensure fairness and avoid potential legal issues. Discriminatory ad targeting can manifest in various ways, including denying information about housing opportunities, targeting vulnerable consumers for predatory products, discouraging potential consumers, and steering home-seekers to specific neighborhoods. Audience Targeting Tools: Ad platforms offer audience categorization tools that segment potential audiences based on various characteristics like gender, age, income, and location. While these tools can be useful, they can also lead to discrimination if used to exclude or target specific groups based on protected characteristics. Advertisers and platforms should be cautious when utilizing these tools for housing-related ads and avoid segmenting audiences based on protected characteristics or proxies. Custom and Mirror Audience Tools: Custom and mirror audience tools allow advertisers to target specific audiences or find similar audiences based on existing data. However, if protected characteristics limit the source audience, these tools can perpetuate discrimination. Advertisers and platforms should carefully analyze the composition of source lists and ensure they are not unjustifiably limited based on protected characteristics. Regular audits of ad delivery outcomes can help identify and mitigate discriminatory practices. Algorithmic Delivery Functions: Ad platforms employ machine learning and AI to determine which ads are delivered to consumers. However, these algorithmic delivery functions can also result in discriminatory outcomes. Ad platforms should ensure their algorithms do not direct housing-related ads based on protected characteristics, leading to steering, pricing discrimination, or other discriminatory practices. Regular testing and adjustments are necessary to minimize disparities and ensure fairness. Recommendations for Advertisers and Platforms: Advertisers need to utilize platforms that actively manage the risk of discriminatory practices to ensure non-discriminatory ad delivery. Ad platforms, on the other hand, play a crucial role in this process. They should create separate processes for housing-related ads, avoid targeting options based on protected characteristics, conduct regular testing, adopt less discriminatory alternatives for AI models, ensure fair pricing practices, and maintain transparency through documentation and auditing. Ad platforms can contribute significantly to fair housing practices by fulfilling these responsibilities. Conclusion: By diligently following the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, advertisers and ad platforms can contribute to fair housing practices and mitigate the perpetuation of discrimination in digital advertising. This commitment to fairness ensures compliance with the law and fosters a more inclusive and equitable digital advertising landscape. It is crucial to be aware of the risks, implement proactive measures, and work towards non-discriminatory ad delivery to ensure equal access to housing opportunities for all.

Maximize Efficiency and Savings - Sign Up for HUD's Energy and Water Benchmarking Service for Multifamily Properties

HUD recently provided information on its Energy and Water Benchmarking Service, available for sites participating in HUD s Multifamily project-based rental assistance programs. The free service provides participating owners with data on energy and water consumption at their sites. While up to 9,000 properties are eligible for the service, it's concerning that only just over 700 properties have taken advantage of this opportunity. I encourage all eligible property owners to sign up for the Energy and Water Benchmarking Service to ensure they are not missing out on this valuable resource. The Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP) is a game-changer, offering over $800 million in grant funding and $4 billion in loan commitment authority. It is the first HUD program to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, climate resilience, and low-embodied-carbon materials in HUD-assisted multifamily housing. This program presents a significant opportunity for property owners to improve their properties and potentially gain financial benefits. Provided Data Leads to Actionable Improvements The service's data is not just numbers but a practical tool that helps owners identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements. These improvements can benefit residents and promote green investment in individual properties or entire portfolios. Once the data is provided, owners can confidently use it to apply for GRRP grants and loans, knowing they are making informed decisions based on real data. Offers annual property analysis reports identifying usage trends and energy and water savings opportunities. Establishes eligibility for or prepares owners to use federal, state, and utility energy efficiency programs. It supports early compliance with local ordinances as more localities across the country become interested in the energy usage data of multifamily properties. Provides technical assistance, training, and other resources. When an owner signs up for the service, they will receive personalized support in assessing the efficiency of their buildings for up to four years. HUD s contractor, Leidos, will support property owners and management by contacting utilities to access the necessary energy and water use data and provide cost and energy savings recommendations. Registration Information There is no deadline for signing up for the service, but limited funding is available. Owners who delay signing up for the service may miss the opportunity or not be able to take advantage of the full four years of the initiative. Owners and managers interested in the program should email their interest and the property ID(s) to mfbenchmarking@hud.gov.

Webinar Announcement: Tenant-on-Tenant Harassment in Multifamily Housing

A.J. Johnson will host a pivotal webinar titled "Tenant-on-Tenant Harassment in Multifamily Housing: Navigating the Challenges" on June 20, 2024, from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Webinar Overview This essential webinar addresses the pressing issue of tenant-on-tenant harassment in multifamily housing properties. The session will provide property managers and landlords with the knowledge and tools to handle these conflicts effectively, ensuring a safe and respectful living environment for all residents. The webinar will cover the legal implications of harassment, preventative measures, and practical strategies for managing tenant interactions. Key Topics Understanding Harassment: Learn the definitions and examples of tenant-on-tenant harassment. Legal Framework: Gain an overview of the laws and regulations that protect tenants from harassment. Roles and Responsibilities: Understand what landlords and property managers can and should do when faced with tenant complaints. Who Should Attend This webinar is ideal for: Property Managers Landlords Real Estate Professionals Tenant Advocates Legal Professionals Registration Interested participants can register for the webinar on the A.J. Johnson Consulting Services website under the "Training Schedule" section. For more details and to secure your spot, visit www.ajjcs.net. Don't miss this opportunity to enhance your understanding and management of tenant-on-tenant harassment in multifamily housing. Register today to ensure your residents a safer and more harmonious living environment.

HUD Proposes Comprehensive Changes to HOME Rules

On May 15, 2024, HUD published a preview of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing significant changes to the HOME Program. The proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register before June, and public comments are due no later than 60 days after that publication. The proposed rule would make changes in many areas: Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) Requirements: Major revisions to CHDO requirements are proposed to streamline processes and improve efficiency. HOME Rents Approach: A new methodology for setting HOME rents is being introduced to better align with current housing market conditions. Small-Scale Rental Projects: Requirements for small-scale rental projects will be simplified, making it easier for developers to comply. HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Programs: The proposed changes will provide greater flexibility in TBRA programs, allowing for more effective tenant support. Community Land Trusts (CLTs): New flexibilities and simplified provisions are being proposed to encourage their use and effectiveness. Tenant Protections: The rule would significantly strengthen tenant protections by mandating a HOME tenancy addendum with a uniform set of protections to be included in leases of all HOME-assisted rental housing units. For tenants receiving TBRA, a streamlined set of protections will be required. Advanced Property Standards: HUD proposes incentives for meeting higher property standards incorporating green building practices, enhanced energy efficiency, and innovative construction techniques for new construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation projects. Homeownership Housing Resale Requirements: Clarifications to resale requirements for homeownership housing are included to ensure transparency and consistency. Technical Amendments and Simplifications: The proposed rule will make technical amendments and simplifications to align with the changes introduced in the 2013 HOME Final Rule. These proposed changes are part of a broader effort to modernize and improve the HOME program, incorporating updates from the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA), the Economic Growth Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, and the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) Final Rule. Additionally, the rule updates citations to align with recent changes to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations at 2 CFR part 200. HUD plans to publish further rulemaking to ensure consistency across all regulations. The proposed changes are detailed in the Proposed Regulation, with further revisions anticipated following the implementation of the HOTMA and NSPIRE Final Rules. While all the proposed changes are important, I will publish a series of articles in the weeks ahead outlining the proposed changes in four specific areas: (1) HOME Rents, (2) Small Scale Rental Projects, (3) Tenant Protections, and (4) Advanced Property Standards.

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