Multifamily Affordable Housing

Multifamily Affordable Housing

ArentFox Schiff has one of the leading national practices in the field of multifamily affordable housing. We represent clients in all phases in the life of multifamily affordable housing projects and student housing projects, including acquisition, senior, mezzanine and local government financing (representing borrowers and lenders), development, construction, management, disposition, and local property tax abatement programs. We are counsel to the largest multifamily lender and credit enhancer of tax-exempt multifamily bonds in the country. We represent borrowers and investors in addition to lenders.

ArentFox Schiff has extensive experience with senior loan financings (both construction and permanent), mezzanine financing, local governmental financing, tax-exempt financing, low-income housing tax credits, seniors housing, securitized financings and negotiating joint venture agreements among the equity holders of the projects.

Our practice includes projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Work in the multi-family field has necessarily entailed representation of clients in complex work-out scenarios and financial restructuring, work with municipal financial structures, and also related tax and regulatory work.

Affordable housing is a core area of practice for the Public Finance Group. Our work has recently included lobbying Congress to protect the interests of the not-for-profit community in retaining their interests in affordable housing projects.

Representative Work

Fannie Mae

  • Represented Fannie Mae in providing forward MBS commitments for permanent financing of Waterfront Station II—a proposed 449-unit multi-family mixed-use property in the Southwest/Waterfront neighborhood of the District of Columbia and adjacent to the Waterfront Metrorail station.
  • Represented Fannie Mae in providing a forward MBS commitment for permanent financing of 500 Main Street— a proposed 477-unit multi-family mixed-use property close to the New Rochelle Metro North train station in New Rochelle, NY.
  • Representing Fannie Mae in providing a forward MBS commitment for permanent financing of Crossings at Brick Church—a proposed 400-unit multi-family project in East Orange, NJ, adjacent to Brick Church train station.
  • Represented Fannie Mae in connection with its direct pay credit enhancement of $78.5MM tax-exempt, green, multi-family housing revenue bonds (Bonds).
  • Represented Fannie Mae in connection with mortgage loan credit enhancement for a $289,065,000 NYC Housing Development Corp (HDC) sustainable development loan to a public-private JV borrower.

Washington Housing Conservancy

  • Represented Washington Housing Conservancy in the acquisition and financing of several projects, including developing a joint operating agreement model to avoid adverse tax consequences in a transaction where WHC collaborated with other nonprofit organizations and used tax-exempt bonds to reduce cost.
  • Represented Washington Housing Conservancy, a nonprofit corporation, in acquiring “Crystal House,” an 825-unit apartment project in Arlington, Virginia, for $336.6M. The transaction was financed with a senior loan provided by Amazon and a mezzanine loan provided by the Washington Housing Initiative Impact Pool.
  • Represented a joint venture of the Washington Housing Conservancy and National Housing Trust Communities in their $39.5M acquisition and senior, mezzanine and Prince George’s County Housing Investment Trust Fund loan financing of Hamilton Manor, a 245-unit apartment complex in Hyattsville, MD. Negotiated 20 years of property tax abatement through a “Payment In Lieu of Taxes” property tax abatement agreement with the County.
  • Represented a joint venture of the Washington Housing Conservancy and the Montgomery Housing Partnership in their $28.8M acquisition and senior, mezzanine and Montgomery County Housing Initiative Fund loan financing of Earle Manor Apartments, a 140-unit apartment complex in Silver Spring, MD.   Negotiated 15 years of property tax abatement through a “Payment In Lieu of Taxes” property tax abatement agreement with the County.
  • Represented Washington Housing Conservancy on its acquisition and senior and mezzanine financing of Huntwood Courts, a 214-unit multifamily community in the Deanwood neighborhood of Washington, DC, and WHC’s first acquisition in DC, boosting WHC’s long-term, programmatic strategy to acquire and preserve naturally occurring affordable housing in the DC region to stabilize rents and prevent displacement. We worked with the Department of Housing and Community Development to obtain a tax relief certification enabling WHC to proceed with the acquisition subject to reduce transfer and recordation taxes.

Municipal Capital Appreciation Partners

  • Represented Municipal Capital Appreciation Partners I, II and III, a high yield debt fund focused on the purchase and restructuring of tax-exempt bond financed affordable apartment buildings nationally, handling several dozen projects, as well as similar work for Capital Properties, and several local developers in the DC region and Richmond.   

National Housing Partnership

  • Represented National housing Partnership (NHP) and its affiliate  NCHP, as well as the regional developer Artery Homes on the acquisition and disposition and financing, predominately using tax-exempt bonds, of dozens of affordable apartment buildings nationally and regionally, as well as similar work for Lincoln Properties and its affiliate Fore Properties,  which work included workouts and restructurings including several times on a portfolio basis.


  • Represented the RTC on the management and disposition of its tax-exempt housing bond portfolios, and AFS has lectured on these subjects at the National Association of Bond Lawyers and the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

Representing County Governments

  • Represented a county government in connection with a public-private partnership with a real estate developer to construct residential apartment building workforce housing on county property utilizing Virginia Housing Development Authority tax-credit financing.
  • Represented a county government in connection with developing and rehabilitating a historic preservation site to convert historic buildings to affordable multifamily apartment units and developing the horizontal county-owned infrastructure.

Representing Other Housing Nonprofit Organizations 

  • AFS also formed two other housing nonprofit organizations focused on preserving low and moderate income housing for projects coming of LITHC restriction periods, again drafting all the formation documents, drafting the application for and obtaining recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS (pending) and counseling on various tax related and state law related conflict of interest issues. AFS has similarly drafted the organizational documents and application for recognition of tax-exempt status for a nonprofit focused on providing housing for health care workers, in 2 of these cases successfully expanding the basis for recognition of tax-exempt status beyond published authority.

Student Housing

  • Served as borrower’s counsel for a national nonprofit in connection with financing the leasing, construction and renovation of dormitory and residential facilities at Howard University, including the modernization of the Harriet Tubman Quadrangle, comprised of freshman dormitories for 665 students, known as Crandall Hall, Truth Hall, Wheatley Hall, Frazier Hall, and Baldwin Hall; the creation of 700 suite-style residential units (containing approximately 1,360 beds) at College Hall and the creation of 176 dormitory/residential units at Axios for students, faculty, staff, and associates of Howard University.
  • Served as underwriter’s counsel for a student housing project for Marymount University in the suburbs of Washington, DC. The project consisted of 267 student residential units available to the University under a concession agreement with the project owner.
  • Represented Bethune Cookman University in the development of a two-dormitory project. Responsible for drafting and negotiating the construction documents, the project’s financing by the developer, and purchasing the project by an affiliate of the University upon completion.