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DC’s New Rules for Renewing an Inclusionary Zoning Lease

by Nena Perry-Brown

In light of recent reviews of affordable housing programs in DC and advocacy to make existing programs work for those of more modest means, several amendments to the inclusionary zoning (IZ) program were published in the DC public register at the beginning of the month.

IZ creates affordable units set aside to households earning up to a certain percentage of median family income (MFI) into perpetuity. The maximum affordability threshold for renters was lowered this summer from 80 percent to 60 percent of MFI. Now, a new rule will help the District ensure that renters whose income later exceeds the qualifying standards aren’t able to take advantage of the unit into perpetuity.

The new regulations will stipulate that upon lease renewal, renters can remain in their IZ units provided that their maximum household income does not exceed 140 percent of whichever is higher between whatever the maximum household income is for the unit at the time or 140 percent of what the maximum household income was at the time the lease was initially executed.

Additionally, the new regulations will loosen the standard of affordability used to qualify households for IZ units, allowing lessees to spend up to half of their income on housing. The previous requirement that households spend no more than 38 percent of their income on rental housing or 41 percent on a home purchase will now be a recommendation, as many renters spend more than an affordable portion of their income on housing anyway. The generally-accepted affordability threshold for housing is roughly one-third of income.

The public can comment on these and other rules amending the IZ program through September 30th.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_new_rules_for_inclusionary_zoning_lease_renewal/12986

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