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Be SMART Multifamily

Purpose of the Program

Be SMART The Be SMART Multifamily program is being undertaken to:

  1. Improve the energy efficiency of the existing rental housing stock in the 15 targeted communities;
  2. Create and preserve affordable rental housing opportunities; and
  3. Increase the availability of capital to finance energy efficiency measures by leveraging other public and private capital.

Be SMART Multifamily complements the Department’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability (MEEHA) Program and the Green Grant Rental Housing Preservation Program, which provide funding for energy audits and energy efficiency improvements of affordable multifamily rental housing developments across the State of Maryland.

Eligible Types of Housing

Priority for program loans will be given to multifamily rental properties that are located in the 15 targeted Main Street communities  and the counties in which these 15 Main Street communities are situated. “Affordable” means rental housing with existing income or rent restrictions, or housing with units that serve tenants with low to moderate incomes, as determined by the Department. Multifamily rental housing may include apartment buildings, townhouses, single-family homes, single room occupancy (SRO) and shared housing facilities with five (5) or more units.

Eligible Activities – Program Loan Structuring

Program funds will be used to make direct loans for the purchase and installation of equipment and materials for energy efficiency measures at existing multifamily rental properties. Program funds will also be used to establish loan loss reserves to induce private sector lenders to make loans for the same purpose.

Proposed energy efficiency measures must be based on an Energy Audit in a format and from an auditor approved by the Department . Energy efficiency measures eligible for funding include, but are not limited to: lighting retrofits, hot water heater retrofits and replacements, ENERGY STAR qualified HVAC systems, insulation, windows, draft stopping and duct sealing, appliances and fixtures, water conservation measures, and renewable energy generation and water heating equipment.

Program loans will finance energy efficiency measures identified in the Energy Audit.

  1. The Energy Audit must provide an estimate of operating expense savings to the property owner that will result from identified energy efficiency measures. Estimated savings will be used to size and structure the loan from the Program. In select cases where reduced utility expenses for tenants result in a reduced utility allowance, a portion of these savings may be used to justify increased contract rents to support a loan from the Program.
  2. The interest rate of the Program loan will be based upon the overall cost of funds to the Department, with adjustments as necessary to reflect the specific risk of each transaction.
  3. The term of the Program loan will generally not exceed the weighted economic life of the energy efficiency measures that are undertaken. Generally, Program loans are expected to have a term of between 5 and 15 years.
  4. Program loans may be structured in a position subordinate to conventional financing and allow for repayment on a cash flow basis. Borrowers will be required to adhere to programmatic requirements such as reporting, income restrictions, and federal cross cutting rules including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Davis Bacon.
  5. Program loans will be secured with standard loan documents that reflect all the terms and conditions of the loan and, where necessary, incorporate terms imposed by providers of other funding.
  6. Borrowers must also agree to maintain an agreed upon percentage of the units affordable to families whose income does not exceed 100% of area median income, with a preference provided for projects which restrict the greatest number of units for the longest term.

How to Apply:

Applicants should complete the Be SMART Multifamily program loan application along with the supporting documentation and submit it to DHCD as outlined on the application. PDF files are preferred.

Applications will be accepted on an on-going basis and evaluated based on readiness to proceed and how the project furthers both the energy efficiency and the housing affordability purposes of the program. Priority will be given to projects in the DHCD’s pipeline for rental housing financing, DHCD’s portfolio, or other assisted housing developments.

Be SMART Multifamily Application - Part I 
Be SMART Multifamily Application - Part II 

For More Information, Contact:

Department of Energy’s BetterBuildings Program
  • Better Buildings in Maryland – Be SMART Multifamily
  • Multifamily Housing Programs
  • Community Development Administration
  • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
  • 100 Community Place
  • Crownsville, MD 21032
  • Toll Free (Maryland Only): 800-543-4505
  • Danielle England, CDA
  • Tel: (410) 514-7441
  • Fax: (410) 987-4097
  • E-mail: england@mdhousing.org
  • Lee Peschau, Construction Manager, CDA
  • Tel: (410) 514-7477
  • Fax: (410) 987-4097
  • E-mail: Peschau@mdhousing.org

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