Affordable housing managers have some of the most difficult jobs in property management, if not all of real estate. One small slip in compliance can get them into trouble resulting in fines, fees, lost income, etc. But now, the same property management software that’s been making life easier for traditional residential managers has finally made its way to affordable. And this isn’t just a small step in the right direction: it’s an overhaul of the entire industry. Affordable housing software has the potential to change the lives of property managers nationwide.
Let’s explore why the latest tech is a revolution in affordable housing operations, especially for independent rental owners.
An affordable revolution: from flip phone to smartphone
According to Yardi Vice President Chris Voss, who specializes in affordable housing, “The latest affordable housing software is delivering to this industry what Apple delivered to the world in the form of the iPhone.”
The technology is so new, most affordable housing managers didn’t know that something like this was possible. It wasn’t really on anyone’s radar. That’s because until recently, there hasn’t been a strong compliance software or support structure for their operations. They were almost all working with pen and paper.
What’s changed in affordable housing software?
The latest tech is going far beyond spreadsheets and basic accounting software. Now, every aspect of compliance and property management can be done from a single cloud-based system. It allows owner-operators, leasing agents and accounts to:
- Manage LIHTC, HUD 50059, Rural Development and HOME programs
- Generate and electronically submit TRACS and MINC files
- Receive and distribute housing assistance and subsidy payments
- Track member, family, asset, income and expense information
- Produce and file required tax credit and project-specific rent reports
- Manage set asides for low-income housing
- Streamline waiting list management
- Perform mass recertifications
The right software will even let you integrate online compliance workflows, making it easy for renters to apply for housing.
Online workflows reimagine what’s possible
For the first time, applicants can complete their “paperwork” online, never stepping foot onto a property until they’re approved. Affordable housing managers are able to take what was once a set of complex compliance rules and simplify them with software. Site team members who have no experience can be just as successful as ones who’ve been in the industry for decades.
To take it a step further, a software provider can complete the paperwork for them. Yardi offers this service, but it may not be offered by any other property management providers.) With guaranteed compliance service, property managers no longer have to fear filing errors. These fears are well-founded and can even hurt their ability to grow and serve their community.
A big challenge affordable housing managers face is change management. Many site team members have been working the same way for years. It’s up to the tech provider, property owner and property manager to show their staff that there’s a better way to work. That means getting them comfortable with the technology.
Owners and managers need to be understanding of this, but the biggest burden falls on the software company. They need to provide training tools and support that go above and beyond what most of the industry offers.
According to Voss, tech companies need to pierce the myth that residents are incapable of using technology. Not only can they do it, but they’re excited about it.
“Everyone’s heard the myth that cloud-based tech is not going to be as secure,” said Voss. “Part of our campaign is educating and partnering with the affordable housing industry. We’re letting them know our tech is actually more secure than having paper floating around.”
Software is also far more efficient than asking somebody to thumb through an entire book of documents and regulations. “Affordable managers are finding fast adoption rates,” said Voss. “I admit, the first year has a learning curve. That’s an expected obstacle we can help businesses get through, but residents definitely want these tech adoptions to happen.”
Software is a competitive differentiator
Affordable housing software is a revolution in online leasing workflows. The way renters apply for housing has pernamently changed. It’s also eliminated the most stressful elements of managing these properties. When operators no longer have to spend hours processing compliance paperwork, they can spend more time on important tasks there was just never time for — but now there is!
Affordable housing software is an industry exception, not the norm
Most online property management software does not offer the support affordable housing operators need. Check out Yardi Breeze Premier and compare it to anything else on the market. Nothing comes close in terms of automation, functionality, simplicity and support.
Smartphones replaced flip phones, and now, the affordable housing revolution has forecver changed the industry. There’s no going back.