HPD’s Landlord Ambassadors Program Closes First Deals

Last May, Enterprise Community Partners and HPD launched their Landlord Ambassadors program by selecting community-based nonprofits to reach out and help owners of small and mid-sized multifamily buildings throughout the city take advantage of HPD’s housing programs. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to create and preserve 200,000 units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class.           

The program connects owners with HPD programs and educates them about program benefits, helping owners navigate program requirements, and stabilizing at-risk developments by offering technical assistance to owners such as clearing code violations, help hiring managers, and setting up payment plans for tax liens. The program had its first closing on June 20, with a $450,000 loan to a six-unit building in East New York. Two other buildings closed at the end of the 2018 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

The six-unit building in East New York had 75 open housing code violations, including 14 of the most serious class C violations. According to HPD, the current owner of the property was living out of state when she inherited it in 2003, then learned the property manager wasn’t doing his job. She moved back to the city and tried to right the building’s course, but couldn’t afford the work. Mutual Housing Association of New York assisted the owner in identifying contractors to bid on the work, facilitating the contractor bid process to ensure three contractor bids were submitted to HPD, identifying an asbestos testing firm, and providing general guidance and resources on property management best practices. The building’s rehabilitation work included replacement of the boiler and hot water system, window replacement, roof replacement, electrical upgrades, lead abatement, steam distribution upgrades, and installation of efficient lighting and low-flow fixtures.

With this particular financing deal, for the first five years, the owner must offer at least two apartments at rents affordable to households making no more than 50 percent of Area Median Income, or AMI (50 percent of which is $46,950 for a family of three), and at least three at 80 percent of AMI ($75,120 for a family of three). Then for the remaining 25 years of the affordability restrictions, two units must be affordable to 70 percent AMI households ($65,730) and three at 90 percent of AMI ($84,510).