How to Apply for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Apartments

Photo of a family of four (mom, dad, and two daughters) inside their home and playing on the couch.

To submit an application for a LIHTC apartment, it must have an open waiting list or immediate availability. These applications must be submitted to the apartment’s property management company.

Applicants are not required to live in the area to apply to most waiting lists. This means that a renter in California may apply for a waiting list opening in New York. Sometimes there are local restrictions, but it is rare.

To apply for a LIHTC apartment, start by finding a waiting list that is open for applications:

  1. Find an apartment that is accepting applications.

    Renters can search for LIHTC apartments on Affordable Housing Online.

    Once an apartment is found, contact the housing office and ask for information about applications.

    When looking at apartment listings on Affordable Housing Online, select the green “Contact” button to find contact information.

    As long as the apartment is accepting applications, the office will give instructions on how to apply.

  2. Complete the application.

    LIHTC applications are most commonly available online, by mail, or at an in-person location; but other means such as by email and phone may be used.

    While filling out an application, the following information usually must be provided:

    • First and last name
    • Date of birth
    • Gender
    • Social Security Number or Alien ID
    • Proof of Income
    • Employment status

    LIHTC applications tend to be longer than Section 8 applications. The entire application is usually multiple pages.

    Additional requirements that may be found in an application include:

    • Current mailing and/or email address
    • Phone number
    • Disability status
    • Race and ethnicity
    • Preference verification

    Some applications may be difficult to complete for persons with disabilities. If a disabled applicant needs help with the application, they can submit a reasonable accommodation request to the housing office.

    Once the application is completed, an application fee is usually required to submit it to the housing office. There is no set application fee, but the amount cannot be higher than the cost for processing the application.

    Some states also limit how much an office can charge for an application. Check state laws for more information on these fee caps.

    After the application is submitted, the housing office will review it for approval.

  3. Wait for the application to be processed.

    While the office reviews applications, it may take a week or more to process. This depends on the office’s available resources to review applications. Usually, online applications tend to be processed more quickly than paper applications.

    If the application meets the qualifications, the household will either be offered to move into an apartment, or be placed on a waiting list.

  4. Confirm waiting list placement (if applicable).

    Unlike the Section 8 program, very few LIHTC properties have a waiting list.

    If there is not a waiting list, the household will be informed of their eligibility. But if there is a waiting list, the property manager will confirm the household’s placement on that list.

    Usually, waiting lists for LIHTC apartments will be a number of months long, but no longer than a year. However, LIHTC apartments that also have rental subsidy programs (such as Project-Based Section 8) will have longer waiting lists than those with no additional rental subsidy.

    There is a higher demand for those subsidy programs, and waiting lists for these properties can be from many months to years long.

  5. Stay in contact with the office (if on a waitlist).

    If the household is placed on a waiting list, keep a record of it along with any other documents that were used to apply. 

    It is important to keep contact information up to date, and reply to all notices that require a response. Doing so will help keep the household on the waiting list.
    While waiting for an apartment, applicants may check their status on a waiting list.

    Some housing offices will tell applicants their exact spot on the waiting list, but others will only confirm if the household is still on the waiting list.

    Finally, when the household reaches the top of the waiting list, eligible applicants will be offered an available apartment.

  6. Move into the apartment.

    Once approved, the housing office will offer the household an available apartment.
    After moving in, tenants in LIHTC properties do not have to be income qualified a second time.

    Tenants may stay in the LIHTC unit as long as they follow the lease rules, even if their income increases above the LIHTC program limits.

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