FAQ
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Q:I need affordable housing. How can HPD help?

Information about affordable rental and homeownership opportunities through HPD and HDC programs is available on their websites, or by calling the Affordable Housing Hotline at 311. For general information about housing in New York City, visit the Affordable Housing Resource Center at www.nyc.gov/housing.

Q:How do I find out if an HPD--financed apartment building is accepting applications?

You can check on the Search page of NYC Housing Connect to see if a property is currently accepting applications, or you may call the Affordable Housing Hotline at 311. You may also check for advertisements posted at the construction site and in local publications.

Q:How do I apply for affordable housing?

Visit our How to Apply section to learn about the steps involved.

Q:What if I don't want to apply online?

If you don’t want to apply online, you have the option of submitting a paper application. You may have an application mailed to you. Refer to the individual Project Advertisement on the Search page to learn more about having a paper application mailed to you and where complete applications must be sent. Submit ONLY one application per household. You will be disqualified if more than one application is received per lottery for your household. If you submit an application online, you may NOT submit an application via mail. If you submit an application via mail, you may NOT submit an application online.

Q:Is there an application or broker fee?

Applicants are not required to pay an application fee, but may be charged a non-refundable credit check fee. Broker’s fees are not permitted for HPD- or -financed units with income limits set at or below 60% of New York City’s Area Median Income (AMI) Limit. For HPD-and HDC-financed units with income limits set above 60% of New York City’s Area Median Income (AMI) Limit, you do not have to pay a broker’s fee if you apply during the lottery process. However, if apartments remain unoccupied after the lottery process, the developer may hire a broker to help rent these apartments. If you apply for the apartment through this broker, you may be required to pay a broker’s fee of no more than one-half of one month’s rent for the apartment you are renting.

Q:How do I know if I have been rejected?

Due to the high volume of applications submitted, not all applicants for every project will be contacted. You will only be contacted if your application is randomly selected during the initial lease-up or sales process.

You will be contacted if you have been rejected for any of the following reasons:

  1. The household did not meet the eligibility requirements, such as income, for the program through which the unit was developed.
  2. The household submitted more than one application per household for the development, resulting in disqualification.

There may be many reasons for rejection, but the most common ones are not meeting income or household eligibility requirements. The federal government, HPD, and HDC set minimum and maximum requirements; however, the developer may also set additional requirements concerning the applicant’s ability to be a responsible tenant.

Q:How do I appeal?

If you feel you were unfairly or wrongly rejected for an apartment, you must contact the developer first. The developer should have given you a written reason for rejection and a time frame for appealing the developer’s decision, typically two weeks.

If you have not been given an opportunity to appeal, you may report the issue to HPD or HDC, depending on the sponsor(s) of the property. Please provide as much information about your situation as possible, including complete contact information; someone from the Compliance Unit will contact you to follow up on your situation.
• For HPD, please email HPD at: hpdcompliance@hpd.nyc.gov

Q:What do I need at the interview?

If contacted for an interview, you will be required to provide documentation to support the information on your application. These materials generally include personal IDs, pay stubs, tax returns, proof of address, and asset documentation. Please confirm with the developer which documents you will need to bring to the interview. You should bring all the documents requested to the interview in order to have your application processed.

Q:What does it mean to be on the waiting list?

Developers will maintain a waiting list by property so that, if a unit becomes available, there is a ready list of potential tenants.

The developer has the discretion to close a waiting list. If you are on a waiting list, you are required to renew your status as an interested applicant by contacting the developer’s office in writing every six months. Your eligibility to rent one of these units is determined by your income at the time you are offered the apartment. If your income has increased above the allowable maximum income since you originally applied for the unit, you may no longer be eligible to receive the unit.

Q:How is income calculated?

The developer/managing agent will calculate income using annual gross income.
Your annual gross income includes all sources of employment income and other income such as social security for each member of your household. Space is provided on the application to indicate each source of income. Please complete this section very carefully to ensure that the developer/managing agent has all information that may affect your eligibility.

You must indicate ALL sources of income for ALL household members who will be living in the unit for which you are applying.

For self-employed applicants, net income (Gross Income minus Expenses/Other Deductions) is analyzed. Such applicants must have at least two complete years in the same self-employed field.

Every applicant’s income will be considered in evaluating eligibility and used to document a continuing need for housing assistance. Furthermore, please note that all sources of income must be documented and verified.

Q:Why do I have to give the developer/managing agent such detailed information about my finances?

It is important that HDC/HPD-financed units are rented or sold to applicants that qualify under the program requirements. In order to ensure fairness to all applicants, the developer/managing agent needs to certify that an applicant’s income falls within the income guidelines. All information is confidential and the developer/managing agents handle this information with the utmost discretion. Providing required information such as employment information, bank accounts, assets and social security numbers (SSN)/taxpayer identification numbers (TIN) is necessary for the developer/managing agent to fully review and approve you for an affordable unit.

Q:Is credit history considered during the application process?

Yes. If you are selected for the interview process, then the developer/managing agent will charge a fee to process a credit check for each application. Credit history is a common and important requirement implemented by building owners and can be the basis for denial for an apartment.

Q:What are the criteria for students applying for affordable housing?

Student Loans/Grants are not considered income. Furthermore, for a unit with tax credits, a household cannot be made up entirely of full-time students unless the household qualifies for an exception under Federal law.

Q:Can I apply my Section 8 voucher/certificate to an HPD/HDC financed development?

Section 8 voucher or certificate holders are eligible to apply for HPD financed low-income developments. They are processed in the same manner as all other applicants and must meet all applicable eligibility criteria. Of course, the rent of the specific apartment in question must be within the maximum level allowable under the applicant’s voucher or certificate. If you are unclear about these maximum levels, you should contact the agency that allocated your certificate or voucher.

Q:As a non-New York City resident, can I apply to an HPD/HDC financed development?

Yes, non-New York City residents can apply; however, preference is given to current New York City residents. Some projects offer a preference to New York State residents.

Q:What are the preferences?

The City is committed to widening opportunities for affordable housing for all New Yorkers. Please note that all applicants, regardless of preference, must meet the income, employment, and other eligibility criteria set for each property for which they are applying.

Preference is given to applicants that meet one or more of the following criteria:
1. Persons with Mobility, Hearing, and/or Vision Impairments

Federal disability statutes give preference to five percent (5%) of units for households applicants with a household member who has a mobility impairment. Another two percent (2%) of units receive preference for households with a household member who has a hearing or visual impairment.
2. Current Community Board Residents (CB)

Current residents of the community board in which the property is located receive a preference for fifty percent (50%) of the units. The community preference was established to provide greater housing opportunities for long-time residents of New York City neighborhoods where HPD/HDC have made a significant investment in housing. To find what CB you live in, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/cau/html/cb/cb.shtml.
3. Municipal Employees

The City recognizes that many New York City municipal employees are required to live within the five boroughs and can often find it very difficult to obtain affordable housing. The municipal preference makes five percent (5%) of the units in HPD–financed developments available to current municipal employees. Down Payment Assistance for homeownership applicants is also available. HPD/HDC will also work with its partners to provide homeownership counseling and education to municipal employees interested in becoming homeowners.

Nearly all New York City employees are eligible for the preference. For a list of eligible Agencies,

4. visit:http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/apartment/faqs-municipal-employees.shtml#agencies. Employees will be screened to ensure that no conflict of interest exists. If you are unsure whether you may have a conflict of interest, check with your agency.

5. Project-specific Preferences

As part of the agreements set forth for a specific development, additional preferences may apply. Such preferences may include, but are not limited to, preferences for Senior Citizens or Veterans. Any such preference would be specified in the advertisement for the project.

Q:What is Area Median Income (AMI) and how is it calculated?

Area Median Income is the median income levels as modified by household size for the New York metropolitan statistical area as determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.) For 2013, 100% of the AMI is $85,900 for a family of four in the New York Metropolitan Statistical Area and $60,200 for a single person. For more information, visit www.hud.gov.

Q:What should I expect after I apply for affordable housing project?

Visit our What to Expect section to learn about the marketing process and the steps involved.

Q:Who will be maintaining the website? What security measures are in place to protect my personal data?

The NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, along with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development will be maintaining the website. The website has been accredited under the Citywide Information Security Program which ensures the overall security of the City’s data and information.

Q:Once I submit my application, can I make changes?

Unfortunately, once the application has been submitted, information may not be changed in the application. The process must be the same for both paper and online applications, and people are not able to update or submit revisions to a paper application since that would result in multiple applications. Depending on your omission or error, you may not be disqualified from the lottery, but that cannot be determined until after the lottery and only once the Developer reviews your application.

Q:Once I submit my application, can I withdraw it?

Once the application has been submitted, it cannot be withdrawn. The process must be the same for both paper and online applications, and people are not able to withdraw a paper application once it has been mailed in.

Q:Why do I receive emails in relation to this website?

By creating an account on NYC Housing Connect you agree to notices in relation to website activities, including but not limited to: new projects open for application, updated website features, advice on how to fill out an application, and upcoming projects.

Q:HOW TO APPLY ?

Please review these instructions entirely before beginning the application process. To apply online, you must:

  1. Register for NYC Housing Connect. You will need to provide a valid e-mail address and basic contact information to register on NYC Housing Connect. This information can be updated at any time. Only one account should be created per household.
  2. Complete Your Household Information. You will be asked to provide detailed employment and income information for you and all household members. Once you start an application, you may save and return to it at anytime. You must complete all required fields in order to submit an application.
  3. Apply. To apply, click “Submit” for any property currently accepting applications for which you appear to qualify. You will not be allowed to submit more than one application for each property. Be sure to submit your application by the posted deadline date. You may confirm that you submitted an application by reviewing your Application Status. See below.
  4. Track Application History. You will only be contacted if your application is randomly selected during the initial lease-up or sales process. Please note: due to the high volume of applications submitted, not all applicants for every project will be contacted. You may view all projects for which you have applied on the Housing List (found in the Search tab). Here, you can see if the application period for that property is open or closed. For more on what to expect after you apply, carefully review the “What to Expect” section.

For more information on how to apply by mail, please reference the property advertisement, which includes details on how to contact a specific property’s marketing agent or developer. The property advertisement can be found in the Housing List. Advertisements may also be retrieved from HPD’s and HDC’s websites, and other public sources, such as the Affordable Housing Resource Center (www.nyc.gov/housing).

Please note: Only one (1) application per household may be submitted to each property. If you apply online, you may NOT submit a paper application to the same lottery. If you apply via paper, you may NOT submit an online application to the same lottery. DUPLICATE APPLICATIONS WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION. Your chances of being selected in a lottery are the same, whether you choose to apply online or by mail.

Tips for Applying:

DO DON’T
  • DO accurately complete an application to the best of your knowledge. Fraudulent or incomplete information may result in disqualification;
  • DO look out closely for projects in your current neighborhood. Normally, advertised properties give 50% preference to residents currently living in the community board.
  • DO take steps to prepare interview paperwork ahead of time, in case you are contacted to proceed. This includes IDs, pay stubs, tax returns, proof of address, and asset documentation.
  • DO monitor your online status.
  • DO carefully follow instructions on how to appeal a decision, if you believe you have been wrongfully found ineligible. Note you have 10 business days to respond.
  • DO NOT send in more than one application per project. Security algorithms are in place to detect multiple applications from a single household on any project, and for both paper and online applications.
  • DO NOT falsify information. You will be disqualified and possibly referred to the NYC Department of Investigation.
  • DO NOT contact HPD, HDC, or our development affiliates directly. Due to high volume of applications, development affiliates are not equipped to answer individual questions. HPD and HDC do not directly market or lease up properties; we are the monitoring agencies that oversee the process.

Q:What is Ollie?

Ollie is an extra layer of services and amenities that you can opt in for an additional fee.  If you decided to participate in the program, you will enjoy hotel-style conveniences, like high-speed wifi, premium television programming, a weekly clean with fresh linens and towels, and a regular replenishment of bath amenities.  You will also have a standing invite to a regular calendar of events from social mixers and Sunday brunch to day trips and group vacations.

Q:What is package room?

This is a package locker system that accepts packages from delivery carrier and keep them secure and organized in lockers until the resident is ready for pick-up.  This allows the building management to spend less time handling packages and focus on other resident services.

Q:What is shared goods?

This is a lending library to help you reduce clutter.  You can borrow a thoughtful selection of things you need occasionally but don’t really need to own, like large cooler, tool kit, and camping chairs.