Arlington Housing AHC, a non-profit organization, withdraws from property management | ARLnow

Susan Cunningham, Acting CEO of AHC Inc., at a recent meeting of the Arlington County Board of Directors

(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Non-profit affordable housing developer AHC Inc. announced today (Tuesday) that it will begin handing over the management of all its properties to third-party companies in the new year.

The move comes less than a year after AHC transferred day-to-day management of the Serrano Apartments (5535 Columbia Pike) to an independent company, which Arlington County needed in response to rodent complaints and maintenance from bad quality.

Meanwhile, AHC also considered whether the other buildings still under its own management should transition to independent monitoring.

AHC does not have the scale to “consistently provide the best service to our residents or the high-quality career opportunities and training that AHC’s executive employees deserve,” said Susan Cunningham, interim CEO. of AHC, in a press release.

“This decision follows a thorough and careful consideration of the needs of our residents and employees, current industry trends and AHC’s long-term strategic goals,” she continued. “For more than 20 years, AHC Management has served thousands of families at dozens of properties. However, AHC Management’s relatively small scale, combined with two years of pandemic challenges, supply chain issues and ongoing labor shortages, has made it clear that it is the best way forward.

Sixteen AHC properties are already overseen by third parties, spokeswoman Celia Slater said. This change will affect 35 properties spanning Arlington, Fairfax and Montgomery counties, the city of Alexandria and Baltimore, as well as 100 AHC property management employees.

Each company intends to keep management staff on-site with similar job titles, salaries and benefits, AHC says.

It will also “create high-quality career opportunities for AHC’s management staff currently serving these properties,” Cunningham said.

The nonprofit plans to begin transitions in January and finalize them by April as it receives approvals from lenders and investors.

The companies selected are Drucker + Falk, which oversees Serrano Apartments, as well as Harbor Group, Paradigm Management and WinnResidential. These companies operate where the nonprofit owns properties and have experience managing the types of buildings it owns, AHC explains.

“We believe transitioning AHC’s community management to a diverse group of highly respected third-party management companies with proven systems and track records will enhance the resident experience,” Cunningham said.

Since Drucker + Falk took over management of the Serrano, there has been a flurry of activity to improve building conditions. At a meeting in mid-November with the county council, apartments with recurring dampness were mostly cleaned up, a number of convectors were replaced, buildings are regularly treated against pests and significant Plumbing repairs are underway, Cunningham told council members.

Tenant advocates have welcomed the building’s repairs, but say trust in AHC is still lacking among residents.

AHC is committed to working with management companies to continue to provide services and community engagement opportunities to residents.

Last week, AHC distributed toys, provided by Amazon and Wakefield High School, to children in Gates of Ballston apartments and delivered Christmas trees, donated by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, to residents of Woodbury Park apartments and Frederick.

This transition to new businesses will occur in parallel with the selection of a new permanent CEO in the first half of 2022, AHC said. The CEO will take over from Cunningham, who stepped in after former CEO Walter Webdale retired amid controversy at the Serrano.