The 411 on 80/20 buildings

New York City’s affordability housing programs come in a variety of permutations, but in general, eligibility is based on: household income; a household’s members meeting program guidelines; credit history that meets the developer’s standards; and the absence of housing, legal, or criminal obstacles.

Different affordable housing developments have different income requirements. Carefully read the income guidelines for each advertised apartment. You may fall into different categories for different developments, depending on your income and household size.

You may get preference for a particular development if you:  have mobility, hearing, or vision impairments; currently live in the same community board district as the development or currently live in New York City; or work for the city.

For current listings, visit NYC Housing Connect ( )or call 311 and ask for the Affordable Housing Hotline.

The NYC Affordable Housing Resource Center is currently accepting applications. Future tenants will be selected by a lottery among all the applicants who meet the eligibility criteria for a specific development. Additional information can. be found at

To participate in a lottery, you must complete an application form and mail it to the developer within the specified application period. Newspaper advertisements should provide you with information on income guidelines, who to contact, where to mail your request for an application, and where to mail your completed application. Deadlines for applications will also be noted in the ad.

One week after the application deadline, the applications are retrieved and then randomly selected. Based on the relevant information from the application, a list of qualified applicants will be created — often a list totaling 20 times the number of available apartments. Interviews with applicants will be scheduled after the drawing. All applicants must meet the individual program requirements to be eligible and receive the community preference. No application fee or broker fee is required. If an applicant passes the interview, the developer may require a fee to conduct a credit check. 

Owners maintain the waiting list for a particular development so that there is a ready list of potential tenants. If an apartment becomes available or the apartments are not all rented initially, the developer will offer the apartment to applicants on a waiting list. Owners have the discretion to close a waiting list.

If you are on a waiting list, the developer may require you to renew your status as an interested applicant by contacting their office every six to 12 months. Your eligibility to rent one of these apartments 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 apartment, you are no longer eligible to receive the apartment. 


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3 Responses to The 411 on 80/20 buildings

  1. Very informative post, thanks for sharing.

    New York real estate is ridiculously expensive these days, and I'm not talking about the most downtown areas. I've chosen to live out of the city since I'm a freelancer and I was literally suffocating by the high prices even of the smallest properties.

  2. Participate to a lottery can be funny but if you really want the housing pass away, more in some country this is forbiden

  3. Does anyone know what happens after you are found eligible or you get an apartment. Let's say for example, I finish my degree, and make my income increases over the income limits. Will my rent all of a sudden go up to market rate, or will I be asked to leave. It would suck if you spend all this time and energy to get into a 80/20 building, then you hear "you make too much money, you have to leave.".

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