How to Get Residents' Cooperation When Converting to Tax Credit Site
As a manager of a tax credit site, you may be asked to help manage the conversion of an existing site to tax credit housing. If so, one of the major challenges you’ll face is getting the current residents’ cooperation. For instance, you may need to relocate residents to different units or keep them away from areas of the site during reconstruction. And you’ll need residents to show up for interviews and complete the certification paperwork.
The first step in heading off problems and getting residents to cooperate during a conversion is to send an announcement letter explaining the upcoming rehabilitation project and how it will benefit them. The letter should also explain that the rehabilitation is part of a tax credit conversion project, how the tax credit program works, and acquaint them with the certification process. It is also a good idea to forewarn residents when the project will take place and what inconveniences they can expect (e.g., closing of the main entrance).
Failing to communicate with residents about an upcoming conversion can cause serious problems for a site, especially if some residents decide to band together and refuse to complete the certification process. That’s what happened to one site in Ohio when residents didn’t understand the rehabilitation process or the requirements of the tax credit program. The residents formed an association, and several of them refused to complete the certification paperwork. One irate resident withheld the rent and sued the owner for violation of free speech after the owner tried to evict him. The court decided the case in favor of the owner and evicted the resident, but not until after a lot of litigation and hassle from the residents [Timbercreek Village Apts. V. Myles, 5/99].