Through the Communities of Quality® (COQ) National Recognition program, multifamily properties can be certified as having achieved a high standard of excellence in how they are managed, the services they provide residents, the experience and training of personnel, and other criteria.
Any property manager or owner of affordable multifamily rental housing in the U.S. can apply for the COQ National Recognition program through their local Affordable Housing Management Association (AHMA) anytime during the year. Applicants’ properties receive scores for Physical Inspections, Employee Credentials, Financial Management, Programs and Services, Endorsements, and Photographs and Reports. Applicants must score a minimum of 225 points in these categories to receive COQ certification (200 points for properties with 49 units or less).
- COQ National Recognition Program Application (revised 2022) (Form date Sept. 2022)
- COQ Application Preliminary Checklist
- COQ Webinar: How to Apply (Video)
- COQ Electronic Submissions Guidelines
- COQ Application Invoice
- COQ Renewal Application (Form date June 2023)
- COQ Frequently Asked Questions – Application Process
- COQ Corporate Partner Designation
- COQ National Recognition and Awards Program Appeals and Complaint Procedures
- For COQ Program Participants: COQ Digital Smart Badges
- For COQ Program Participants: COQ Trademark Usage Guidelines
National Recognition Application Process
Who may apply: Affordable multifamily rental housing properties are invited to apply for National Recognition as a NAHMA Community of Quality any time during the calendar year by applying through a state, local or regional AHMA. To find the closest geographically located AHMA to the property, use the link at the top of the page.
“Affordable” is defined as a property participating in a government-funded, insured or otherwise sponsored program resulting in rents below-market-rate housing. At least half of the property must contain affordable units for the entire property to be considered affordable.
How to Apply: A property submits the COQ National Recognition program application to the closest geographically located AHMA to the property, along with a registration fee. Applications must be submitted electronically; see the COQ Electronic Submission Guidelines above. The AHMA reviews the application to ensure it is complete and will request additional information from the property if needed. The AHMA forwards the reviewed application electronically to NAHMA. In reviewing the applications, the AHMAs abide by confidentiality, conflict of interest, and other standards of conduct established for the program.
Application Review: NAHMA reviews the application and determines whether it meets the established Community of Quality National Recognition criteria. Affordable multifamily properties that qualify for the National Communities of Quality designation receive the following benefits:
- Permission to use NAHMA’s state-of-the-art Digital Smart Badges designed for your COQ property webpages
- A certificate suitable for framing and display
- A template press release for personalizing and sending to local media
- A free subscription to NAHMA News, a popular bimonthly newsletter featuring the top news affecting the affordable housing industry
- A listing under the National Registry of Communities of Quality on NAHMA’s website
- Permission to use the Communities of Quality trademarked logo on stationery and printed materials to promote your property
- Nationally Recognized COQ properties that score at least 325 points on their application become eligible for the annual NAHMA Communities of Quality Awards
Properties not meeting the criteria receive a letter encouraging them to try again, with recommendations on areas they should focus on.
Registration Fee: The registration fee is $150 per property for members of the submitting AHMA and $325 per property for nonmembers of the AHMA.
Recognition Renewals: National Recognition as a Community of Quality is valid for two years only. NAHMA will invite program participants to renew their application every two years (notices are sent in the summer) and pay a renewal fee to maintain their ongoing benefits. Properties that continue to meet the COQ criteria will have their records updated in the COQ program database and will be notified that their COQ designation is valid for another two years.
Please email Paulette Washington at NAHMA with any questions you may have.
COQ Property Digital Smart Badges
Participants in NAHMA’s COQ National Recognition program may highlight their accomplishments by using Digital Smart Badges on their properties’ websites, enabling web visitors to see and validate their COQ National Recognition status through a simple “click and verify” process. This allows visitors to trust that they are viewing the website of a NAHMA-recognized COQ participant. When a website visitor clicks on one of the COQ Smart Badges, they will be seamlessly directed to a page on the NAHMA website, which will instantly validate the COQ status of the property. Once complete, the visitor can return to the property website with a simple click from the verification page. In addition to the “click and verify” aspect of the Digital Smart Badges, each badge also contains a dynamic date so that the current date is always reflected on the Smart Badge—again allowing visitors to trust that the certification they are viewing is currently in effect. Most importantly, the Digital Smart Badges can’t be copied by unauthorized users and placed on unapproved websites since it takes a two-step process administered through NAHMA for the Smart Badge verification process to work.
For more details on the COQ Nationally Recognized Property Smart Badge program, click on the following links:
For COQ Nationally Recognized Properties
- NAHMA Smart Badge User Guide for COQ Nationally Recognized Properties
- Matrix to provide your website addresses for using NAHMA’s COQ Digital Smart Badges – for COQ Recognized Properties
For COQ Corporate Partners
- NAHMA Smart Badge User Guide for COQ Corporate Partners
- Matrix to provide your website addresses for using NAHMA’s COQ Digital Smart Badges – for Corporate Partners
Examples of COQ Smart Badges in Use
- Corporate Partner Digital Smart Badge (for your management company homepage): Corcoran Jennison Management (scroll to the bottom of the page)
- COQ Property Digital Smart Badge (for each of your COQ property webpages): Knightsbridge Apartments
(Also, please click on the badges on these webpages to see the verification page that pops up.)
- The Corporate Partner Digital Smart Badge may only be used by management companies designated by NAHMA as COQ Corporate Partners and is available to these companies for free.
- The COQ Property Digital Smart Badge may be used on the webpage of any Nationally Recognized COQ Property and is available for free for the first year (after that, a nominal fee of $15 for digital badge administration will be charged to properties that are not Corporate Partner properties).
- Corporate Partner COQ properties may always use the COQ Property Smart Badge for free.
COQ Corporate Partners
Management companies with at least 50% of their property portfolio accepted into the COQ National Recognition program qualify for the Communities of Quality® Corporate Partner Designation. The portfolio calculation can be based on either the number of units or the number of properties managed in the company’s affordable portfolio and is self-reported. This designation was created to honor management companies that successfully maintain a significant portion of their properties to the high Standards of the COQ National Recognition program. Click here for full details.
The Corporate Partner Digital Smart Badge may only be used by management companies designated by NAHMA as COQ Corporate Partners and is available to these companies for free.
The COQ Property Digital Smart Badge may be used on the webpage of any Nationally Recognized COQ Property and is free for the first year (after that, a nominal fee of $15 for digital badge administration will be charged to properties that are not Corporate Partner properties). Corporate Partner COQ properties may always use the COQ Property Smart Badge for free.
National COQ Registry
NAHMA provides a database of COQ properties. This is a great tool to use when trying to locate a nationally recognized Communities of Quality property. You can search the COQ database by city, state, property name, or management company.
Perform a search to find Communities of Quality (COQ) Properties.
® Communities of Quality is Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Disclaimer: Properties that meet the COQ National Recognition criteria may hold themselves forth to the public as such. However, NAHMA and the AHMAs do not assume and hereby disclaim any and all liability to any person or entity for any claims, damages, liability or other loss including, without limitation, any liability for injury or other damage resulting from any use of or reliance on the information provided through the COQ National Recognition and Awards Program. NAHMA and the AHMAs do not make any express or implied warranties, representations or endorsements whatsoever, or in any way, regarding the properties listed as COQ National Recognition or Award Winners.