Updated: Mar 14
You need a home you can afford but when it comes to affordable housing, everything from low-cost to Section 8 can be confusing and overwhelming to understand. Affordable housing is a great start and with property developments on the rise, more people, including families, are interested in renting an affordable apartment.
As with every other house or apartment you rent, there are eligibility criteria you have to meet. The process is about earning an affordable home.
We know that affordable housing requires that your rent not exceed 30% of your income. This is the government standard to ensure that you can cover general living expenses along with the monthly rent. Each state also has a median income that households should meet to qualify for a rental. There is a problem with using median income to determine affordability. In higher-income communities, the median income is greater than other neighborhoods, but this doesn’t mean that affordable housing in those regions is out of the question.
Unfortunately, factors such as median income, and living close to the city leave many under the impression that they cannot afford to live in these areas.
Affordable housing need not be a complicated topic. If you are interested in affordable apartments, we are here to help you find the best value including the factors that may disqualify you for affordable housing.
Let’s Look at the Requirements for Affordable Housing:
As previously mentioned, if the monthly rent requested by a landlord is 30% of your income, you could qualify for affordable housing. Another way to determine qualifying income is to learn of the state law concerning such rentals. Local housing authorities can advise on average income requirements for specific areas.
You can find the definition of affordable housing by visiting our Affordable Housing page. Here we explore everything you need to know about the affordable housing market including the differences between low-income and section 8 homes.
I’m Interested in Affordable Housing, What Do I Need to Qualify?
Affordable housing landlords look at multiple factors prior to issuing a qualifying lease. These factors include:
Proof of income
Proof of employment
Providing your landlord with sufficient information can help you improve your chances of obtaining a lease. Understanding how to be approved for an apartment will assist in preparing the documents and following due process to improve your chances of qualifying.
What Disqualifies Me for Affordable Housing?
Applicants must be 18 years old to apply for affordable housing. You may notice that affordable homes require “families” to apply; however, this does not disqualify a single person from applying for a rental. You also do not have to have children to apply for an affordable house.
You will be disqualified from affordable housing if your income exceeds the eligibility criteria. You can contact your local housing authority to determine the average income requirements per state and area.
You have outstanding debts on HUD or affordable housing authorities. If you can provide your landlord proof that you are in the process of settling these debts, you can improve your chances of being accepted for a lease.
False information on your application is an immediate disqualification. Whether your credit, previous eviction, or criminal history, always be transparent. It will be appreciated by your landlord and place your application in a better light.
We explore the factors that could disqualify your application for affordable housing.
Does a Criminal Record Automatically Disqualify Me for Affordable Housing?
If you have a criminal record, you may find it harder to receive approval for affordable housing, but it does not mean that you are disqualified.
When you have a record for an arrest but not a criminal conviction, it can improve your chances of receiving approval for affordable housing.
For a felony charge including assault or substance-related conviction, it may be more difficult to receive approval. This is particularly true if you have a history of such convictions. This is owed to the risk posed to remaining residents.
The length of time served and the nature of the offense will influence your qualification.
Most convictions that have occurred in the last year to a few months will be disqualified for affordable apartments.
Persons who are registered on the sex offender list per state will not be eligible for affordable housing.
Evictions based on drug offenses will not qualify.
My Income is Higher than the Required Affordable Housing Bracket. Am I Automatically Disqualified?
Affordable housing programs will differ based on eligibility requirements. Every state will set income limits for qualifying income. Even if your income exceeds the stipulated bracket, it is not an automatic disqualification.
It is best to contact your landlord or local housing authority to discuss your circumstances.
I’ve Been Previously Evicted. Can I Still Apply for Affordable Housing?
Evictions do not generally disqualify you for affordable housing. The application approval is determined by the reason for the eviction.
Whether the name on the lease or one of the members in the household, if anyone is evicted for a conviction for drugs, violence, or registered as a sex offender, an application for an affordable housing lease can be denied.
Evictions pertaining to credit, debts, or complaints should be discussed with the landlord in your application. Issue supporting documents concerning the reason for your eviction.
My Credit Score is Below Average. Am I Disqualified for Affordable Housing?
Your credit score alone simply cannot disqualify you for affordable housing.
When you apply for an affordable apartment rental, you will be subject to an Application Evaluation. During this review, a credit check is a mandatory process.
You can facilitate the credit check by ensuring that the information included in the report is up to date.
At the end of the day, if your credit is negative, your future landlord cannot simply reject your application. You should include your rental history (which should be positive) and information such as settling debt or steps to improve your credit to show the landlord that you can be a reliable, paying tenant.
If you do have a negative credit score, consider building fair savings. This is viewed most favorably. Your future landlord wants to know that you can afford the monthly rent and your living expenses apart from managing your debts. By creating a savings plan and adhering to a strict budget, can help you in your rental application. Consider our 10 steps to financial stability to work towards a savings plan and an improved rental future.
Can a Single Person Get Affordable Housing?
Yes, a single person can qualify for affordable housing. Many people who do not have children do not apply for affordable apartments for fear that their application will be rejected. While the HUD commonly uses the term “household” to describe a family, single persons are eligible to apply for a one or two-bedroom apartment.
I’m a Single Parent. Do I Qualify for Affordable housing?
Yes, all single parents can qualify for affordable housing. If you are pursuing a lease, always be honest about the ages of the individuals and the number of people who will be placed on the lease agreement. This can prevent complications including the possibility of an eviction owing to false information.
I’ve Been Denied for Subsidized Housing. Is this the Same as Affordable Housing?
Subsidized housing or Section 8 housing includes the government issue of a housing voucher. These vouchers contribute to paying the monthly rent. Affordable housing on the other hand is based on your income and eligibility criteria without the issue of a housing voucher. If you are rejected for housing subsidies, it may be owed to falling into a higher income bracket. Not all persons qualify for Section 8. This does not mean that you will be automatically disqualified for affordable housing. Instead, you should follow the application criteria as set by your landlord.
What is Public Housing?
Public housing consists of rental developments for low-income families, seniors, and individuals managing disabilities. The purpose of public housing is to make rentals accessible to a diverse income bracket with safe and comfortable housing features.
Public housing is considered for the most vulnerable of communities. If we compare public housing to affordable housing, we see that affordable homes to rent do not include subsidizing, and are based on the earning potential, credit, and background assessment of applicants.
If I Qualify for Public Housing, Do I Qualify for Affordable Housing?
If you qualify for public housing, it does not necessarily mean that you will qualify for affordable housing. Each landlord has their own set of criteria. You could meet the requirements with one landlord for affordability and not the other. The qualification for an apartment lease will largely depend on your income, whether you are subsidized, and many other factors from credit to rental history.
Why am I Disqualified for Section 8 Housing?
If you find yourself disqualified for Section 8 housing, it is important to consider the reason. If it is not due to exceeding the income limit, then your rejection for section 8 could affect your future rental application with another property management business.
Corruption with the local housing authority, convictions, and falsifying information are common reasons for being disqualified from Section 8.
Why Don’t I Meet the Criteria for Affordable Housing?
So, you’ve applied for affordable housing and just got your application rejected. Here’s what to do:
Check the information submitted in your lease application. All details must be correctly recorded to avoid delays or disruptions in processing.
Include supporting documentation. From your proof of address and employment to debt management, provide landlords with reasons to want to have you as a tenant. If you have bad credit, then a statement showing you paying off a credit card or debt can support financial management. If an eviction or criminal record, reasons surrounding the case, character references, and history can improve your rental application.
Do you meet the affordability requirements? This is a major reason to get rejected for affordable housing.
Can I Appeal a Denied Application for Affordable Housing?
If you are denied an application for affordable housing, the landlord will send notice of your denial. If you have applied for subsidized housing and the application rejected, then you may have grounds to appeal the decision.
Remember, appealing the decision does not automatically mean you will receive housing assistance. Individual factors are considered to determine whether you truly qualify for housing.
Only the Following Housing Programs Allow for an Appeal:
Rentals governed by the USDA