what are income restricted apartments

What Does it Mean When Apartments are Income-Restricted?

In Real Estate by Jamie

Are there any inexpensive living options available for those in our community who are below the average of the working class? Yes, specifically, income-restricted apartment complexes. So, what are income-restricted apartments exactly?

Income-restricted apartments are apartments available to tenants with a specific level of income, they are designed to provide assistance to low-income families and individuals in need of housing. These apartments may be operated by the government, managed independently by a company, or by a private landlord. 

While these programs may be very useful for many, they can be hard to attain sometimes, depending on the area you live in. BUT, nonetheless, a great alternative option to those needing assistance!

How Does One Qualify for Income-Restricted Apartments?

Eligibility to qualify for these types of apartments depends on a few key factors. The first eligibility requirement is to establish total income; if you make less than 50 percent of the median population in a given area (or some places base your rent at 30% of your total annual income). There is a particular range within the federal, state, or city level which predicts eligibility for such individuals.

Next, the major factor would include family size. Families/ individuals are classified as “low, very low, or extremely low” in order to qualify. Depending on family size, the requirements for being eligible can increase or decrease. In other words, this makes sense for areas that have a higher cost of living in larger cities comparative to smaller or rural areas.

A great example of this would be the city of San Francisco compared to the central valley (Fresno, CA) differ in population size, so the requirements would be more income-based to people who live there. Demand in rural areas for income-restricted homes might be lower versus for higher living areas. The reason for this would be for landlords to cover costs of living, depending on a geographic region. All of these key aspects are crucial to consider when applying.

How Do You Apply for this Program?

The following will highlight important steps you need to take to start your application process. To locate a rent-restricted apartment complex, the ideal first step is to visit the HUD website, also known as the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This department sets eligibility and income guidelines for a given area. To find income limits in your specific area, visit by clicking here. The HUD develops assisted housing programs and may differ from one another. Check your local branch for more information regarding what is available.

The next step would be to contact your local public housing authority (PHA) – they will assist in providing income-based housing options that would most fit your budget. The PHA is an extremely valuable and informative online tool to help starters pinpoint key information in beginning the process for available rentals. In order to begin the application process, identify if you are applying for a complex owned privately by a landlord or directly funded through the government. Once identified, get into contact with the landlord or find the appropriate application online. Each county has its own website and data regarding low-income public housing.

The last few steps include application and appropriate documentation. After submission of all requirements, patience is the final step. Some apartment complexes, especially privately owned, may require a criminal background check to be included in documentation; they might have stricter applications than others. Other documentation needed for submission with the application can include your birth certificate(s), photo IDs, and/ or proof of age – if a family is applying. Having flexibility and several options when it comes to applying can help you find a home faster. Always be prepared for a waitlist, especially in cities with higher demand for income-based homes.

Are Income-Restricted Apartments Ssafe?

Moving can be hard and scary. It is key to do research prior to moving or considering a possible area. Conversations with building managers, current residents living in the area, or even asking family or friends to accompany on apartment tours might help establish some background.

However, income-restricted apartments are usually in a standard living space, close to other complexes. Most of it depends on what area the apartment is located in, which will provide some context regarding it’s safety.

Another important factor to consider when planning to move into a particular area is what your budget range might allow. Although income-restricted homes are naturally for the low-income, they could possibly range from cheapest to more expensive options based on area, city, and personal preference. Having these conversations with family, as well as, apartment managers can help narrow down the best fit for you.

What If Your Income Increases? Are You Still Eligible?

Annually, you are required to report any changes with income to maintain eligibility for restricted income living. If there is any change (an increase) in gross income, it is likely that you should report these changes to the appropriate party. This does not necessarily mean you will be dismissed from the program.

A reporting of income is crucial at the end of every year, but regulations might differ depending on your apartments of choice. Contact your local apartment manager regarding eligibility requirements prior to moving in.

What Are the Global Economic Benefits of Income-Restricted Homes?

Overall, the benefit of income-restricted apartments provides a safe and affordable way for struggling families. It is a great way for the state to keep the homeless population at a low as well. The overall economy can benefit by reducing poverty rates and social service costs. Job opportunities are also created for the under-served populations by providing them with an area to grow. Provided state help is the key to help those in need, stay afloat.

About the Author


Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.