Income Restricted Apartments: A Guide To Give You An Advantage

Income restricted apartments are developments made for those with low incomes. So while they may sound like there is an income cap or limit, in reality, there is actually a percentage cap of what you will pay.

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These apartments exist to make things easier for everyone and ensure that everyone can have a home, no matter what they make. Income-based apartments are different but we will go over both today. 

What Are Income Restricted Apartments? 

Rent control alone can make getting an apartment very difficult, especially if you have a low income. That’s why these apartments exist. These apartments are different than they sound. 

Despite the name, these apartments are actually for the low-income and don’t restrict you if you don’t make enough. So this is an answer to prayers for many who can’t afford most other apartments. 

Income-restricted apartments are planned developments for low-income tenants. They are part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) initiatives that are funded by the government as well as non-profits. 

When Did Income Restricted Apartments Start?

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It all began in the 1960s when the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act established HUD. It was created to provide affordable housing for low-income families as well as those who can’t get jobs. 

The federal responsibility to ensure everyone had a house began right after the Great Depression. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that federal income was put towards the concern in the form of these apartments.

During this same time, the Civil Rights legislation to prevent housing discrimination also helped house more Americans, which also put a cap on the percentage of income one paid for an apartment.

Today, local governments have responsibility for this type of house, and over a million households classify as income-restricted public housing in America. But how does one go about looking into these units?

Income Restricted Apartments Vs. Income Based Apartments

Income Restricted Apartments Vs. Income Based ApartmentsView in gallery
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These are two terms that get thrown around and overlapped often but they are two separate things. Income-restricted apartments and income-based housing are not the same things in more than one way. 

Income-restricted apartments have a capped rent based on the average income for the area that the apartment is based in as well as the size of the apartment. This varies depending on the area the apartment is located. 

An income-based apartment based the cap on the tenant’s exact income. The cap is usually around 30% of the tenant’s income. So you can’t pay more than 30% of what you make, giving you money to spend on other necessities. 

How To Find Income Restricted Apartments

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Finding income-restricted apartments isn’t all that easy because they won’t be advertised on the standard apartment for rent ads and websites. Instead, you need to do it the right way, through the government.

These steps can teach you how to find income-restricted apartments and how to apply for an income-restricted apartment. So follow along and let some of the stress of doing things alone melt away.

Step 1: Go To The HUD website

The first thing you should do is go to the HUD, or the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They can take you through most of the steps, but learning more through their website can be very useful.

This is primarily just where you will get the information you need and not where you will be doing the application. It’s always best to talk to someone over the phone before filling anything government-related out. 

Step 2: Contact The PHA

Since income-restricted apartments are non-personal and instead based on the median income of the area, contacting the public housing authority can help you find what you may pay. Then you can decide if this is right for you.

If not, and you want a personal-based payment, then you should consider an income-based apartment instead. They will base the monthly payment off of your income instead of the median income.

Step 3: Fill Out An Application

After you call the PHA, they can help you find an income-restricted apartment in your area. The ones they choose will primarily be government-owned. This is not the same as charity-owned apartments. 

Those owned by non-profits will be found through that non-profit or local committee. Otherwise, you can easily fill out an application via the PHA. They can walk you through the steps with ease.

Step 4: Provide Documents

Every adult who will live in the new apartment will need to provide a photo ID and every child will need to provide a birth certificate. You will also need to provide proof of income for each adult in the house.

They may also ask for a background check which you can provide or they may do their own background check. So be prepared for this if you have anyone living in your home that may slow things down. 

Step 5: Wait And See

Depending on the supply and demand in the area, you may get an apartment right away or you may have to wait for quite some time. It all depends on how many people need apartments in your area.

If you feel like it is taking too long, reach out to organizations in the area that own housing units. These can either place you temporarily or permanently, depending on how far you are on the waitlist.

Income Restricted Apartments FAQs

Income-restricted apartments can be difficult to work with if you’ve never done it before. But these quick questions and concise answers can help you as you make your way to your new home.

Can I Rent An Apartment With Low Income?

Yes, you can! Income restricted apartments and income-based apartments are both designed for people with low incomes. So even if you make minimum wage, you can still rent an apartment for your family.

Since the 1960s, the American government has been trying to ensure that everyone has a roof over their head. While we still aren’t there yet, places like these apartments are a huge step in the right direction. 

How Do I Qualify For Income Restricted Apartments? 

To qualify for an income-restricted apartment, you need to provide your proof of income. While most people can rent an apartment, having an income will ensure the landlords that you can pay the rent.

Without this, then you will be stuck with choosing free housing or income-based apartments that you can afford. Because you have to be able to pay the median price for the apartment with this type of apartment. 

How Do Income Restricted Apartments Verify Income?

Income restricted apartments usually don’t dig too deep when verifying income. So as long as you have your pay stubs, you should be good. They may call your place of work and ask for a reference, but that’s about it.

If you have paid your taxes the last few years, or at least the previous year, then this process should be super quick. They can simply look back at your tax return and see what you made the previous year. 

Are Income Restricted Apartments Safe?

Income restricted apartments get a bad name because low-income areas have a higher crime rate. But the fact that they are income-restricted doesn’t play a role in this. It simply depends on the neighborhood. 

No matter what type of apartment or house you live in, having security measures in check is always a good idea. But in reality, many income-restricted apartments are extremely well kept as they are taken care of by an organization or government. 

Why Do Income Restricted Apartments Exist?

Income restricted apartments exist so that everyone has a chance to have a roof over their head if they have a job. The median salary percentage for the area is taken into effect but most of the time, that’s a large cap.

So, you probably won’t pay near the cap, this is just a measure to take into play to protect tenants. The cap is rarely what you pay no matter your income, it is simply a precautionary measure. 

How Do I Find Income Restricted Apartments?

Finding income-restricted apartments is difficult to do on your own. While realtors won’t get a percentage or commission for showing you the apartment, if you know one personally they may be able to help out.

Googling them in your area is also a way to find them, as is talking to the PHA. Just know that you can’t do it alone and there’s nothing wrong with that. Income restricted apartments are all about accepting that we are one nation and one human race.