From Software to Success

4 min read

Technology Tips for Affordable Housing Developers Undergoing a RAD Conversion

I have good news for affordable housing developers modernizing their properties through a RAD conversion: Software can eliminate many of the complexities involved in managing the recapitalized assets. But—and this is a big but—only if these developers have taken some fundamental preparations. Based on our experiences working with developers on RAD conversions, my colleagues and I recommend the following:

  1. Define your goals. RAD is a HUD program available to owners of Section 8 Mod Rehab, Rent Supplement and Section 236 RAP, enabling them to convert the unit subsidy funding to long-term Section 8 project-based rental assistance. The start of any owner’s RAD decision begins with a host of questions about strategic goals. What are you hoping to gain from RAD? What does a successful conversion look like to you? Make sure you understand the purpose of RAD and how it works. There are many useful resources available on HUD’s website ( that you can access if you are unfamiliar with the program. (One caveat: HUD updates the RAD rules frequently, so be careful to review the most up-to-date materials.) If you can define your goals, you can more easily identify the role that technology will play in helping you achieve them.
  2. Select your Section 8 funding platform before you make any IT decisions. An owner undergoing RAD can replace the current Mod Rehab HAP contract with either Project-Based Vouchers (PBV) administered by the local PHA, or Project-Based Rental Assistance (PRBA) administered by HUD. Compliance guidelines differ for each. For instance, if you opt for PBRA, which most developers choose, you may be responsible for such tasks as income certification and waitlist management. With PBV, the agency typically handles these tasks. Your selection, therefore, will determine the type of software or capabilities you’ll need.
  3. Involve your software provider ASAP. Many developers already use software that can easily support RAD conversions.

But keep in mind that you will be creating a new entity (or property financial asset) and that the data required for the new entity may differ from what you’re used to tracking. For example, the RAD data could include compliance information on rent and household income. This is an especially important consideration for developers with little experience in the financing strategies they’re employing with RAD, such as leveraging Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity. If you undergo a RAD conversion for the purposes of obtaining LIHTC financing, you’ll need software to help you manage the tax credit portion of your assets. Whatever the scenario, your software provider can tell you what adjustments or additions you will need to have in place when the new entity is created. Ideally, you should start working with your provider at least 60 to 90 days before your closing date.

  1. Assess your reporting needs. Establish parameters for the reports you’ll want to see and when. Figure out who can access the reports and whether they’ll be shared with your executive team, board, financial partners and other stakeholders. These policies will help your software provider integrate appropriate reporting tools into your modules. Also remember: It’s likely that your agency partner will contribute to the reports, so make sure that you set expectations in advance.
  2. Choose a champion. You should designate a staff member who can be the in-house expert on the software and on the RAD program in general. This person can also serve as a liaison between you and the regulatory agencies, making sure that all parties understand each other’s needs and goals.
  3. Provide training to users. Anyone on the developer side who leverages technology, such as site and compliance managers, needs some degree of training, whether it’s familiarizing them with new features and functions of existing software or teaching them how to use an entirely new platform. Training should also extend beyond technology. It should cover the basics of the RAD program (and any new funding programs utilized in the process). Trainees who don’t understand all relevant programs may face challenges in using the software correctly.

These tips may seem elementary, but they’re easy to overlook once you start navigating the complexities of RAD and its outcomes. Developers who follow these guidelines will effectively enable their software providers to pave the way toward success. The results will be fewer obstacles, faster progress, higher value, and, eventually, better housing for underserved communities.