Over 12 years later, Lisa Williams and her team continue to prove critics wrong. When Williams first started her business venture, Help U Manage Compliance, she was told her business structure – focused on Low-Income Tax Credit (LIHTC) compliance services for smaller property management companies – wouldn’t be able to sustain itself. Now, Williams is an expert in her field and a trusted source for program compliance.
In January 2021, Quadel announced its strategic partnership with Williams and HUMC to elevate HUMC’s platform to help more affordable housing providers – including the “little guys,” middle markets and larger owner/operators. Williams discusses her business philosophy and industry prospects as waivers end and consulting engagements begin again.
Making Compliance Accessible for All Properties
Williams notes smaller property management companies are often budget strapped which can make it difficult to hire enough managers and compliance staff to accomplish all required work. This is one of the many reasons Williams established HUMC.
“When I built my company, I wanted these small companies to have the same access to the expertise I have as the larger companies. (I figured out how) I can make it affordable for them. That is what always upset me about working for big companies,” Williams said. “They wouldn’t let me bring on the small ‘mom and pop’ properties because they were too little and they didn’t make the management company money. But, they still need help. Kind of like the name of our company – Help U Manage, HUM, – I get them humming along. We want them to get to that point.”
Preparing for the LIHTC Recertification Backlog
As a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal government implemented various moratoriums and notices regarding affordable housing programs and regulations. For the LIHTC program, the IRS issued Notice 2020-53 which detailed protocols for the required program income recertifications. Under this notice – and under the most recently published Notice 2021-12 issued in January of this year – owners of low-income housing buildings are not required to perform income recertifications between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. While these notices allow owners to delay income recertifications, some states still require owners to follow student status regulations and monitoring.
However, starting September 30, 2021 all owners must resume income recertifications.
With this change will come the demand for assistance completing all backlogged recertifications. And for smaller property management companies with 100-200 files, the mountain of work may be too much. Williams and her team are ready to assist clients nationwide – even those short-staffed or with no staff.
“The problem with the waiver is that they are going to have to go back and do a full certification. So, even though they didn’t have to do it during COVID, (the recertification requirement) doesn’t go away. It’s just delayed,” Williams said. “Property management companies are getting a lot of pushback from their managers. (The managers) are saying they can’t do their regular work and all the additional work. (Companies) are having people quit or call in sick. Some are also not wanting to meet with tenants because of COVID-19. Sometimes they’ve lost staff and have nobody. And we can work with people who have nobody.”
Resuming Onsite Work Safely
As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to roll out in greater amounts across the country, Williams and her team are vaccinated and ready to get back to working with clients onsite. This will be an important step to help properties complete their backlog of certifications and verifications because tenant interviews are required.
“I expect May and June to be heavy travel months as we go onsite resuming LIHTC and USDA file compliance,” Williams said. “Our team will be following all CDC requirements as we get our clients caught up on regulatory compliance.”