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Inclusionary Housing BMR Rental Program Overview

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development Below Market Rate (“BMR”) Inclusionary Housing Program requires some developers to sell or rent 12% of units in new developments at a “below market rate” price that is affordable to lower or middle income households. The program is governed by Planning Code Section 415 and by the City and County of San Francisco Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program Monitoring and Procedures Manual 2013 (”Procedures Manual”). The program is administered by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (“MOHCD”) and currently includes over 600 affordable rental units all around San Francisco. In most cases, BMR rental units are mixed into a larger market rate building. In a few cases, an entire building is made up of BMR units.

To be eligible to rent a BMR unit, a household must meet specific income and other requirements as detailed in this overview.

“PROCEDURES MANUAL”

This document is an informal overview of the BMR program. The formal rules and requirements of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development BMR program are described fully in the City and County of San Francisco Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program Monitoring and Procedures Manual 2013.  Each BMR unit is governed by the Procedures Manual that is in place at the time of the rental.

APPLYING FOR A BMR RENTAL UNIT

You can learn about current BMR rental opportunities through postings listed on the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development website at www.sfmohcd.org and through local advertising by the building. Applicants are encouraged to sign up for the City’s housing email alert system to learn about new rentals as they arise.

New units are posted for at least 28 days before the application deadline. Once a unit is listed on the MOHCD website, applicants must contact the building for a paper copy of the application. Re-rental units are posted on our website for 7 days. 

Applicants must submit a complete application to the building by an established deadline date. The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development will hold a public lottery for the available BMR units in each development. Placing high on the lottery list does not guarantee the unit, as applicants must still be qualified by the building according to their approved guidelines. Applicants do not need to attend lotteries.

QUALIFICATIONS

Qualified Household Member

A household is defined in terms of financial relationships and can include any partnerships as long as their combined gross annual income meets the eligibility guidelines. To be considered a member of a household, a person must either be (1) on the lease for the unit or (2) claimed as a dependent on the tax returns of a household member who will appear on lease for the BMR unit (or otherwise be verified as a legal child or guardian). All members of the household who will live in the unit must appear on the application and will count as a household member. For example, a child counts as a household member in terms of determining income maximums, unit size choice, etc. Please note that 100% student households do not qualify for the Program.

Size Requirements

A minimum of one person per bedroom is required. In other words, a one person household may not rent a two bedroom unit. There is no restriction on renting a unit that has fewer bedrooms than the household size, although buildings rules will dictate a maximum household size by unit type.

Income Requirement

Most new BMR rental units are available to households making no more than 55% of Area Median Income, or “AMI."  The following chart states the income maximums by household size. Note that every person in your household counts as one household member, including children, etc.  Each new listing will state the maximum income limits for the units available.

Income Maximums by Household Size for Most New BMR Rental Units (55% of Maximum Income by Household Size derived from the Unadjusted Area Median Income (AMI) for HUD Metro Fair Market Rent Area (HMFA) that contains San Francisco) - click for PDF

Income Maximums by Household Size for Many Re-rental BMR Units 60% of Maximum Income by Household Size derived from the Unadjusted Area Median Income (AMI) for HUD Metro Fair Market Rent Area (HMFA) that contains San Francisco - click for PDF


Basis for Determining Income Eligibility

For purposes of determining household income, each person who is 18 years or older in an applicant household must present: (a) a complete set of past one year federal (only) Income Tax Returns (signed & dated) and W-2 forms; (b) three recent and consecutive pay stubs or income statements; and, (c) three recent and consecutive statements from each savings, checking or any other type of account in which each person has money saved. MOHCD will determine final income eligibility based on your household’s current income and assets.  All forms of income shall be considered for determining income and for determining the household's ability to pay rent, including government assistance, pensions, etc.

HOW BMR UNIT RENTS ARE SET

MOHCD uses federal income standards that are produced annually to determine the maximum allowable rent levels for the units. Most maximum rents assume that a household at 55% or 60% of Area Median Income is paying no more than 30% of its total income on rent. The City does not fix the rent of the units but merely establishes the maximum price by this formula. Please refer to the website posting for each specific unit to learn the rent maximums attached to that unit.

It is important to note that rents are not based on the actual income of the renter household and that renters may pay more than 30% of their household income on rent in some cases.

How Will the Rent Adjust Year to Year?

Rental developments will readjust rents annually on the anniversary date of the lease based on the current allowable affordable rents published by MOHCD, as published at www.sfmohcd.org. Rent levels will rise or fall based on federal income standards that are released at the beginning of each year.

Will I Have "Rent Control?"

No. BMR rent levels are not regulated by the San Francisco Rent Control Ordinance and may rise beyond inflation. Over the past 10 years, BMR rents have risen from 2% - 9% a year, with an average of approximately 3% a year. Renters should also be aware of the fact that most building owners have the right to convert their BMR rental units to affordable ownership units.  Under such a conversion, BMR renters would have certain rights and opportunities, as outlined in the City and County of San Francisco Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program Monitoring and Procedures Manual 2013.

Rental Assistance Programs

Section 8 housing vouchers and other valid rental assistance programs can be used to rent a BMR unit.  In the case of a valid rent subsidy, the required minimum income will be based on the portion of the rent that the tenant pays after the use of the subsidy.

Current Rent Levels

Rent Levels at 55% of HUD Unadjusted Area Median Income 2014 (new units)

STUDIO

1 BDRM

2 BDRM

3 BDRM

4 BDRM

55% OF MEDIAN

 

With Utilities

$934

$1069

$1201

$1335

$1441

Without Utilities

$899

$1022

$1139

$1252

$1331

Rent Levels at 60% of HUD Unadjusted Area Median Income 2014 (most older units)

STUDIO

1 BDRM

2 BDRM

3 BDRM

4 BDRM

60% OF MEDIAN

 

With Utilities

$1019

$1165

$1311

$1456

$1573

Without Utilities

$984

$1118

$1249

$1373

$1463

LOTTERY FOR UNITS

All individuals and households may enter the lottery for a BMR unit. However, those households in which one member holds a *Certificate of Preference from the former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency will be given highest preference in the lottery ranking process. Those households in which one member holds an **Ellis Act Housing Preference Certificate from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development will be given second highest preference in the lottery ranking process. Households that live or work in San Francisco will be given third highest preference in the lottery ranking process.

If the number of units available exceeds the number of qualified applicants who hold a Certificate of Preference, Ellis Act Housing Preference or who live or work in San Francisco, the units will become available to other qualified applicants outside of San Francisco.

For new developments going through the initial lease-up, the EAHP priority applies to twenty percent (20%) of the affordable units. Buildings with four (4) or fewer affordable units are not required to provide the EAHP priority at initial lease-up because 20% of that number of units is zero. For re-rental units, EAHP certificate preference applies to every unit that becomes available, regardless of the number of affordable units in the building.

*Certificate of Preference holders are primarily households displaced by Agency action in Redevelopment Project Areas during the 1960’s and 1970's, but may also include other persons displaced by Agency action.  Please contact 415-701-5613 for more information.

**Ellis Act Housing Preference holders are primarily households displaced by Ellis Act evictions as defined by The Ellis Act Displacement Emergency Assistance Ordinance passed into law on December 18, 2013. To be considered an EAHP holder, you must submit a copy of your certificate with the application. To verify that you are an EAHP holder, please contact us at 415-701-5613 or eahpcertificate@sfgov.org or click here.

RESTRICTIONS ON BMR UNITS

All BMR applicants should carefully review the current version of the City and County of San Francisco Affordable Housing Monitoring and Procedures Manual to fully understand the restrictions on BMR units. The following information is for quick reference only.

Period of Restriction

BMR units will be restricted in their rent level and other applicable restrictions will apply for the life of the project unless otherwise noted in the planning approvals or other use restrictions for the project.

Renter Occupancy

BMR units are intended to be renter-occupied and should never be used as subleased property.

Lease Changes on BMR units

A BMR renter cannot add or subtract a person to or from lease without having the household's application re-reviewed by the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development.

Monitoring Units

BMR renter households will be monitored for income on an annual basis and must remain income qualified for the unit over time with certain allowances explained in the City and County of San Francisco Affordable Housing Monitoring and Procedures Manual.

OTHER HOUSING RESOURCES

Where can I find more information about City programs?

For further information affordable rentals available in San Francisco, please visit the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development website at www.sfmohcd.org and look under “Renters." Please also sign up for the City's housing email alert system by clicking here.

THANK YOU!

 

 

 

Last updated: 12/1/2014 3:39:17 PM