TM Associates ensures every opportunity to maximize a community’s value and profitability will be uncovered. Since 1978, they have earned their reputation for diligence, dedication and service throughout the Mid-Atlantic and beyond, evidenced by countless apartment communities developed and managed to meet the highest expectations and standards.
Streamlining the Collection of Compliance Data
Affordable housing providers have always had one thing in common throughout the history of the industry: paperwork.
Every affordable housing unit requires renters who are documented as eligible to live in the unit based on factors such as income, assets, age and other programmatic standards. Files of paperwork proving eligibility can quickly become burdensome. Getting the data out of those files and into a reportable format for compliance reporting also becomes challenging.
Digitizing compliance files is the first step in reimaging how affordable housing providers operate. Replacing paperwork and intake meetings with online digital workflows is a game changer.
RentCafe Affordable Housing
RentCafe Affordable Housing replaces handwritten notes, physical file storage and lengthy applicant interviews with a private, online user experience. It revolutionizes the way households qualify for affordable housing properties and eases the burden of compliance data management.
RentCafe Affordable Housing supports compliance with Low Income Housing Tax Credit, HUD 50059, HOME and Rural Development program requirements.
One of the simplest ways to make compliance data easier to collect and report on is to use RentCafe Affordable Housing. Multifamily property managers who currently use RentCafe for marketing and resident services, and who own properties with affordable housing compliance mandates, can easily upgrade to RentCafe Affordable Housing.
That’s just what TM Associates did in the first half of 2021, and the benefits quickly became evident.
Investing in digital affordable housing solutions
TM Associates is a property management organization serving the northeast region of the United States and based in Baltimore. Shay Dugan is TM’s chief operating officer, and she describes a “night and day” difference in how her organization accepts applications for affordable housing units since they began using RentCafe.
In the past, TM relied on paper application packets that included forms filled out by hand and several pieces of personal documents such as bank statements, paycheck stubs and social security information. TM site staff would accept the paperwork, scan it into a digital file, and then transmit the information to a centralized compliance team for processing.
TM’s compliance team would often find application packets were missing required information or forms. TM’s site staff would be notified of the missing items which would require them to reach out to the applicant to explain the deficiencies and set up a meeting to receive all required documents.
How digital applications help
“Our records show that each paper-based application required an average number of three moments of contact between our team and the applicant. That amount of back and forth slowed our certifications down to the point that it would take weeks to get someone qualified and approved to move in,” said Dugan.
According to Dugan, it now takes as few as 10 days to get a complete household application submitted, reviewed and approved. Eliminating the delays of paper based applications and reducing review times from weeks down to days not only saves work and staff hours for TM, but also gives households the benefit of faster access to affordable housing.
High-performing compliance workflows are a great way for affordable housing to build value into their properties. Tracking how well properties are completing eligibility reviews, annual recertifications, and periodic reporting is a core component of the overall strategy of running a successful affordable housing program.
TM uses RentCafe to increase their oversight of the application process.
“RentCafe simplifies the way I see what tasks are incomplete. Having that information on a dashboard relieves me of having to reach out to different departments to find out the status of applications they are working on. Instead, we can all see what’s outstanding and what we need to do to make the final determination of eligibility for applicants,” says Dugan.
Maintaining social distance
TM’s adoption of the web-based RentCafe solution came just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic. While offices closed or reduced the capacity to serve in-person clients, RentCafe gave safe, online opportunities for TM to receive applications for their units.
“Of course, I didn’t foresee COVID coming when making a decision to implement RentCafe, but it turned out to be great timing,” says Dugan. She expects to leverage the industry’s gradual acceptance of new online affordable housing solutions, such as RentCafe, as TM seeks new client properties to manage.
“For some in our industry, it took the COVID pandemic to accept the need for new ways of doing business. I see that as an opportunity for our organization to grow. We can’t skip a beat, and we expect Yardi to be there with us as we work to change the standards of affordable housing service delivery,” says Dugan.