Renting an affordable apartment

If you are looking to rent a unit that is restricted as affordable housing, you must demonstrate that your projected household income will not exceed the applicable income limits as well as meeting certain other eligibility criteria.

Affordable housing differs than subsidized housing, in that it is not accompanied by a rental subsidy (like a Section 8 voucher). The monthly rental amount quoted to you by the property owner/manager is the actual rent for the unit being offered, which is below what they make their market rate rental units available for.

Income eligibility is determined by assessing all income received by all members of the household, at their gross amount, and forward projecting for the coming 52 week period. Additionally, 1% of the total value of a household’s assets are added to the calculated income to arrive at a total projected annual income.

For the purposes of income certification, the following are some examples of sources that would be considered as income, but is not an exhaustive list:

  • Part time and full time employment income (base, overtime and bonus pay)
  • Self-employment income
  • Unemployment income
  • Temporary disability payment, Worker’s Comp, and long term disability
  • Income from government sources (Social Security, SSI, SSDI, Supplemental SSI, VA benefits, RIWorks etc)
  • Distributions from retirement vehicles (Social Security, pension, 401k, traditional and ROTH IRAs, 403(b) etc)
  • Investment income from stocks, bonds, brokerage account
  • Rental income from non-residential real estate
  • Gambling proceeds
  • Annuity payments
  • Child support and alimony
  • Reoccurring family support or cash gifts

For the purposes of income certification, an asset is considered anything that has cash value with interest earnings or growth potential held by any member of the household. The following are items we typically count as assets, but is not an exhaustive list:

  • Current value on bank accounts (checking, savings, money markets)
  • Certificates of Deposits
  • Retirement accounts from which no distributions are being received or will be received in the coming 52-week period
  • Investment accounts from which no distributions have be made or will be received in the coming 52-week period

For purposes of income certification, we do NOT count food stamps or government issued rental subsidy as income, nor do we consider personal property, such as vehicles, recreational equipment, art, jewelry etc. as assets.

You can find the current income eligibility limit here to help you make a self-assessment regarding eligibility.

The following is a list of situations that would disqualify a household from renting:

  • The applicant has an ownership interest in another residential property.
  • The applicant was claimed as a dependent on another person’s most recent tax return.
  • The applicant’s household size does not meet minimum occupancy requirements. The number of people in the household may not be less than the number of bedrooms in the unit ~ 2 bedroom units must have at least 2 people in the household, 3 bedroom units at least 3 people, etc.

Once approved, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued to the property owner/ manager to demonstrate that you’ve met the income criteria. You will be required to recertify on an annual basis. Income limits are subject to change annually, so it is possible to be eligible in one year but not the next. Since rental rates are set using the current income limits, the rent on the unit is also subject to change annually. You may not sign a new lease prior to submitting an application for income certification and being deemed income eligible.

If at recertification a tenant is found to be no longer income eligible, tenants may remain in the unit for another lease term but are no longer eligible for the restricted rental amount, meaning the rent will revert to market rate rent.

You can download the Rental Application for Income Certification below and submit it, along with all the required supporting documentation, directly to our office in HARD COPY format to the CHLT, 1070 Main Street Suite 304, Pawtucket RI 02860. If there is an onsite property manager, deliver it to them and they will get it over to us. Please make sure that you provide copies of documents (not originals) as we are unable to return your documents to you.