Boston Responses to Calls for Affordable Housing - Boston Real Estate Law News

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Boston Responses to Calls for Affordable Housing

With a staggering shortage of affordable housing, it's becoming increasingly difficult to buy or rent property in Boston.

At some point, the city will have to step in and address the increasing scarcity of affordable housing options.

Here are five solutions the city may use to help ease the financial burden:

  1. Affordable housing programs. City officials may turn to government-subsidized housing programs to help low-income residents find housing. Affordable housing programs include assistance not only for renters, but also for first-time home buyers. While each program has different requirements, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website is a good place to start figuring out if you qualify for assistance.
  2. Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. Under the umbrella of affordable housing programs is the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. It helps very-low income people pay for permanent housing. Households that receive vouchers pay up to 40 percent of their income toward rent; the voucher covers the rest. Advocates claim Massachusetts is facing "the biggest homeless crises we've ever seen" and are pushing state lawmakers for more funding so more vouchers can be issued, The Boston Globe reports.
  3. Mass. Ch. 40B. Enacted under the Massachusetts' Comprehensive Permit Act, Chapter 40B addresses the shortage of affordable housing developments in the state. It requires that 10% of any town's new units be affordable. Such units may deviate from local zoning ordinances but must be priced below the median home value or rental rate.
  4. Micro-apartments. Other housing-starved cities like New York and San Francisco are turning to micro-apartments -- a one-room, self-contained living space, designed for efficiency -- as an urban planning solution to skyrocketing housing prices. Boston is slowly and skeptically warming up to the idea of micro-apartments. South Boston's Seaport District, classified as the "Innovation District, currently has the only city-approved plans for true micro-apartments.
  5. Rent control. Rent control is a law or regulation that controls the amount of rent that can be charged and limits how much rent can increase over time. Boston is without any rent control laws, but it's unclear whether such a law would even prevent rent from rising for most Bostonians.

If you have legal questions about getting priced out of Boston, you may want to consult a real estate attorney.

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