Attract Quality Applicants When Leasing Units at Tax Credit Sites

October 18, 2009
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Getting top-quality households through your tax credit site’s office door is tough. But dealing with their worries about living at a tax credit site is even tougher. Some applicants may think twice about renting a unit at a tax credit site because of some preconception that the tax credit program adversely affects the quality of housing, the mix of residents, and how well the site is managed. As a result, the site owner can lose out on good households who end up renting at a conventional site instead.

With the right training, your leasing staff can overcome applicants’ misconceptions of tax credit sites and help you land good residents. Here are some objections applicants may raise and how your leasing staff can overcome them.

Some applicants, who confuse tax credit sites with government subsidized housing projects, may ask “Is this a public housing project” or say they would prefer to live in a “regular apartment community.” To overcome this stigma, the leasing staff should inform applicants about the tax credit housing program. While income limits apply to some units at a tax credit property, the community is still privately developed and privately owned. To bring the point home, tout unit/apartment features and community services that differentiate your property from subsidized sites.

Some applicants may harbor negative stereotypes about tax credit residents, including assuming that all eligible households are getting other government assistance. This can be overcome by pointing at that while maximum income limits apply to some units at your community, minimum income requirements apply to everyone. Reassure applicants that you’re scrupulous about screening every applicant regardless of income level. And, you may want to spell out all of your site’s screening criteria.

Some applicants may presume that the level of service at tax credit sites is lower than that offered at conventional communities, for example, assuming that the property is not kept up or it takes a long time to get units repaired. Leasing staff can respond by reassuring applicants that the site’s management team is first-rate. If possible, point to other communities that are managed by the same company.

Finally, first positive impressions are important, so make sure your property is in good shape. Flowers and landscaping tell drive-by traffic and visitors that a site is top quality and run by professionals.