Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Arvada, CO - Mayor Robert G. Frie

Rental Improvement Loan Program

The Rental Improvement Loan Program is a cooperative effort of FirstBank and the City of Arvada which helps owners of single-family rental dwellings in a targeted area of the City to improve their properties. Three FirstBank lenders are working jointly in an effort which entails significant commitments in terms of funding, lower loan costs and relaxed underwriting. The public expense of the Program is held to a minimum.

Over time, City officials involved in addressing housing needs within the City have found that it is difficult, if not impossible, for owners of single-family rental dwellings to secure affordable and practical financing for the rehabilitation of those dwellings. Typically, lenders are reluctant to make loans at affordable rates to the owners of rental dwellings which are located in older neighborhoods and suffer from significant deterioration. The Program addresses this problem. A three-year agreement, signed jointly by FirstBank of Arvada, FirstBank of Wheatridge and FirstBank North, provides up to $3 million. No public loan subsidies are involved. Two levels of loans - a five-year term or a 10-year term, both at the prime interest rate - are available. The loans are offered with no appraisal fees, no closing costs, no document fees and no loan origination fees. The maximum loan amount is $50,000.

The Program is available primarily within the target areas - the older residential portions of Arvada. The loans are used to refurbish, rehabilitate, improve and enhance the physical condition of single-family residential properties. Preference is given to projects which measurably improve the condition of the property, with Section 8 Housing Quality Standards serving as the minimum, and to exterior improvements which enhance street appeal.

CDBG-funded City staff provide assistance throughout the process. The City Housing Specialist for the Essential Home Repairs Program visits the site after application is made to FirstBank for an on-site inspection and work write-up for the applicant. If approved, loan proceeds for property improvements normally are disbursed 50 percent upon closing and 50 percent upon submission of adequate documentation of the completed repairs. The City Housing Specialist performs a final inspection when the work is complete and reports back to FirstBank.

FirstBank and the City reserve the right to limit the number of loans made to a single borrower. All loan servicing and risk are the sole responsibility of FirstBank which provides a report to the City on the location, number and characteristics of the loans made through the program - several of which are currently in process or complete.

Contact: Edward G. Talbot, Manager, Housing and Community Development, (303) 431-3015

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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