Subsidized housing provided by private property owners is another option for obtaining low-income housing. Private landlords often work with HUD to provide cheap apartments for rent or rental homes for low-income families.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) is an incentive for landlords to work with HUD. It provides tax credits to landlords who help low-income families by providing affordable rent. Property owners frequently take advantage of LIHTC credit due to the appeal of receiving such tax breaks.

How to Get Affordable Housing From the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

In the United States, LIHTC participating properties account for approximately 90% of the affordable apartments and housing units. That is due partially to the participation of private landlords. 

However, the bulk of the rental units are provided by developers who work with state government agencies and HUD. The LIHTC program provides funds directly to each state for the purpose of developing new affordable housing complexes.

LIHTC properties vary greatly in size and type. You can find participating landlords and developers offering cheap studio apartments or entire homes for rent. Duplexes, townhouses, and large apartment buildings are just a few possibilities. 

You may enjoy looking for an LIHTC property for that reason. The program gives you a wide range of property types from which to pick. Thus, you can select one that suits the needs of your family.

For a landlord to receive tax credits through the LIHTC programs, the property must meet a certain standard of residency. The same is true for a developer creating a new low-income housing complex under LIHTC. At least one of the following qualifications based on family size and area median income (AMI) is required:

  • At least 40% of the tenants must have an income of 60% or less than the AMI.
  • No tenants on the property may have an income above 80% of the AMI..
  • The income of at least 20% of unit tenants is at or below 50% of the AMI.

Applicants must note that LIHTC does not consider expenses like childcare when calculating income and eligibility. That contrasts with voucher programs like Section 8, which often do factor in such expenses.

Nonprofit and for-profit developers are potentially able to join LIHTC. However, they must meet program standards and agree to use their housing developments to serve low-income families for a period of decades. Such developers are typically encouraged to build housing complexes in areas that are otherwise undesirable due to high costs for construction, utilities, or other necessities.

If you meet requirements for affordable apartments through the Section 8 Voucher Program or other assistance programs mentioned so far, you and your family can quickly find an apartment or home that way. If your income level is too high, you must find another path to affordable housing. The following slide lists more alternatives you can try.