Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program was designed to encourage private investors to develop affordable housing through new construction, purchasing, and renovation of affordable rental housing for low-income households. The program offers tax credits to landlords, investors, and developers ― allowing them to pay less money in taxes to the federal government. Because the LIHTC Program is regulated by the IRS, it does not function like other federal housing programs. Developers receive credits from the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) The rent is based on Average Median Income and not on an individual income. Since the rent is based on the Average Median Income (usually a 30%), a Tenant may end up paying more than a 30% of his/her adjusted income. Annual Re-certification is conducted by a LIHTC Landlord.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?
You have the right to receive written notice of any adverse decision made against you by the landlord.
You have the right to be represented by an attorney at an eviction hearing.
You have the right to testify, present evidence, and ask questions to any witnesses during an eviction hearing.
You have the right to complain to the landlord, local code enforcement, or HUD about the conditions of your unit.
Due to the limited number of available LIHTC units, eligible families are often placed on a waiting list. Landlords have established policies for opening, closing, selecting, and removing families from waiting lists. Those policies cannot discriminate based on color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, religion, or sex.
Generally, landlords publish waiting lists online and in their offices.
Landlords have different tenant selection policies regarding credit history, prior evictions, and criminal history. Tenant selection policies must be in writing, non-discriminatory, and further fair housing.
Families who are denied admission based on their credit history must receive written notice from the landlord, explaining the reason for the denial.
The maximum rent chargeable to a LIHTC unit is based on the Area Median Income (AMI) set by HUD each year.
Rent does not increase or decrease based on the family’s gross annual income. A family’s gross annual income is only used to determine eligibility for the program and, unlike other federal housing programs, allowable deductions are not applied.
Landlords must subtract any utility allowance when calculating the family’s rent.
If the AMI increases before your lease expires, your landlord may increase your rent, as provided by the lease. However, if the AMI declines, the maximum rent chargeable to your unit does not decrease.
Utility allowances are determined by HUD each year to help you pay the cost of utilities not included in your rent.
Utility allowances are based on current rates and average consumption studies, not on your family’s actual consumption.
Landlords must have good cause to terminate your family’s lease. Common examples of “good cause” include nonpayment of rent or serious or repeated violations of the lease.
Termination notices must be in writing and specifically describe the alleged violation.
Depending on the violation, families will get 3 to 7 days to correct the problem. However, local, state, or federal law may shorten the time to correct the violation or may not allow any opportunity to correct it at all.
When renting from a Low Income Housing Tax Credit property you will not have the right to request an informal grievance hearing to dispute an admission denial or lease termination. The only opportunity you will have to contest your lease termination will be in the eviction action that a landlord may file against. It will be important for you to file your answer to the eviction.
For more information about filing an answer to eviction court actions, see our Renter’s Rights informational page.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?
Carefully review your lease, apartment rules and regulations, and any notices you receive from the landlord.
If you have received a termination notice from your landlord and you do not leave by the date specified in the notice, your landlord must file an eviction case to remove you from the unit. The eviction summons and complaint may be personally delivered to you or posted on your door by the sheriff or a certified process server. This is called “service of process.” The clerk may also send you a copy of the summons and complaint by mail.
You must write and file a response with the court, within 5 days of receiving the summons and complaint. If you do not file a response with the court on time, your landlord may automatically win the eviction.
In your response, admit or deny each paragraph of the complaint and raise any defenses.
The “court’s registry” is like a bank account the court uses during your eviction case. While your case is pending before the court, you must deposit rent into the court’s registry each month when it is due.
If you disagree with the amount of rent the landlord claims you owe, you may ask the court to schedule a hearing to determine the correct amount. Supporting documentation must be attached to your response, such as proof of payment.
If you do not deposit rent into the court’s registry on time or ask the court to determine the correct amount of rent you owe, your landlord may automatically win the eviction.
In an eviction case, your landlord is the Plaintiff and you are the Defendant. Raising defenses in your response may keep you from being evicted. Below is a list of common defenses that may apply to your situation.
The person who filed the eviction complaint (the Plaintiff) lacks standing. This means the Plaintiff does not have the right to file the complaint with the court. This defense is commonly used if the landlord does not actually own the property.
The eviction is moot. This means the eviction is no longer relevant because you have already moved out.
You are withholding rent after you timely provided a 7-Day Notice. Your 7-Day Notice to the landlord must specify the repairs needed and your intention to withhold rent if they are not completed within 7 days. Please visit our Renters’ Rights and Evictions section for more information.
You did not receive a notice from the landlord as required by law. This means the landlord did not give you written notice of the violation before filing an eviction case with the court.
The notice you received from the landlord demands money that is not considered rent or additional rent in your lease.
The notice is confusing or contains conflicting instructions.
The notice does not provide enough time for you to correct the violation.
The notice does not provide enough information for you to understand the violation.
The landlord does not maintain the unit after you timely provided a 7-Day Notice.
The landlord engages in retaliatory conduct. This means the landlord increases your rent, decreases services to you, or files/threatens to file an eviction case against you, in response to you exercising your rights as a tenant.
If your landlord wins the eviction, the sheriff will serve you with a 24-hour notice to leave the unit. This is called a “Writ of Possession.” If you do not leave the unit within 24 hours, your landlord may change the locks and remove your personal property.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING ACTION?
Be prepared to present all evidence (documents, emails, reports, witnesses, etc.) that support your position during an eviction hearing.
For additional information on local housing options and income limits go to HUD’s Florida page: https://www.hud.gov/states/florida