What Does "Income Restricted Apartments" Mean?

If you’ve ever searched for a new apartment, then you’re probably familiar with the difficulties of finding the perfect space. It’s rare to find a rental property that has the modern amenities, space and location you want at the price you need, but it’s not impossible. Income-restricted apartments are a great option for renters looking for affordable units. In order to live in one, however, you must meet certain income and household criteria.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

An "Income Restricted" apartment is an option for low-income families, the disabled and the elderly to find housing at rates below the market.

What Makes an Apartment "Income Restricted"?

One way for the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help low-income families, elderly and/or disabled people find housing is through their public housing program. This program works hard to create affordable housing options in areas of high need and pays local housing agencies to manage them. One type of affordable housing often found in urban development is an apartment complex that offers sizeable, quality units for lower rates than a normal building.

How To Qualify

If you think you are eligible to live in an income-restricted apartment, your local housing agency will need to review your annual gross income according to recent paystubs or tax returns, your status as an elderly and/or disabled person, your family status and your U. S. citizenship. Once these standards have been met, you will need personal references to inform the housing agency of your behavior as a tenant.

The most specific hurdle to living in these units is income, as it is based on income limits set by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Each local housing agency has limits set on their properties according to the income of that area, so your eligibility in one city may not carry over to another. For the housing agency to consider you as "low income," your income cannot exceed 80 percent of the median income for your area. To be considered "very low income," your income cannot exceed 50 percent of your community’s median income.

Things to Consider

If, after you sign a lease for an income-restricted apartment, your income increases to a point where you can afford to pay normal local housing rates, the housing agency may choose to review your information and change your eligibility for that housing. It’s not wise to sign a lease for this type of rental if you know that your income will increase prior to the end of that lease, as it may give the housing agency a reason to evict you.

You can find income-restricted apartments near you by searching online and contacting your local housing agency. They will be able to tell you about nearby apartments and communities that will fit your needs and explain what paperwork and income limits are necessary. The housing agency is also prepared to take you through the process step-by-step to find your new home.

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