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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Apartment Seekers

Frequently Asked Questions
For Apartment-Seekers

I need affordable housing. How can HPD help?
What is the 80/20 Program?
How do I apply for an apartment created through the 80/20 program?
What is a community preference?
How does the lottery process work?
Do I have to write my social security number and bank account number in applications for housing lotteries?
Would my application for HPD-sponsored housing be considered if I have bad credit or a bankruptcy?
What happens after the lottery is completed?
How long does the interview process for renting an apartment take?
What does it mean if I don't receive a call requesting an interview?
I have questions about the housing programs for municipal employees.
What should I do if my building owner is harassing me?
How do I contact HPD for more information?
How can I give feedback about the HPD website?



I need affordable housing. How can HPD help?
Information about affordable rental apartments rehabilitated through HPD programs is available by calling the Affordable Housing Hotline at 311 (311 can be accessed outside of New York City by dialing (212) NEW YORK). Information about affordable homeownership options is also available on this website at our homeownership page and by calling 311 to request a homeownership kit. The City itself does not sell homes, but works with real estate professionals and community sponsors to market homes. You will see phone numbers listed for our partners at our homeownership page, and you will need to contact them directly to receive an application that is specific to each development. The HPD website also offers general information about buying a home in New York City.

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What is the 80/20 Program?
The 80/20 Program, sponsored by the New York State Housing Finance Agency, the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), uses tax-exempt bonds to create affordable housing for low-income tenants in generally desirable locations throughout the city. The use of tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction of large residential buildings in the city greatly reduces costs. In exchange for the low-cost financing, 20% of the apartment units are reserved for low-income tenants earning no more than 50% of area median income. See Low Income Housing Tax Credit Rent and Income Limits  for more details.

The apartments are not necessarily labeled "80/20" in advertisements, but would say "affordable housing."

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How do I apply for an apartment created through the 80/20 program?
Apartments created through the 80/20 Program and sponsored by the NewYork State Housing Finance Agency are advertised in the real estate section of local newspapers and on the web site of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). HDC- and HPD-sponsored 80/20 apartments are also advertised in local newspapers and on the agencies' respective web pages: www.nychdc.org and www.nyc.gov/hpd. Additionally, HPD has an Affordable Housing Hotline that describes available apartments and provides information on obtaining an application. For further information, please call 311 (311 can be accessed outside of New York City by dialing (212) NEW YORK).

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What is a community preference?
HPD gives preference for either the sale or rental of 50% of all homes, co-ops, condominiums and rental apartments it creates or rehabilitates to current residents of the community board district where the homes are located. All applicants must meet the individual program requirements to be eligible and be selected by lottery. The community preference was established to provide greater housing opportunities for long-time residents of New York City neighborhoods where HPD has made a significant investment in housing. Preference is also given to active duty uniformed NYC police officers, New York City municipal employees, people who are mobility impaired, and people who are vision impaired.

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How does the lottery processwork?
One week after the application deadline, the developer for the homes and an HPD representative go to the Post Office to retrieve all of the completed applications received within the application period. Both parties take the sealed applications to a separate location, mix them by hand and empty them into a large bag. During the lottery, the developer randomly draws the sealed applications from the bag, and assigns a matching number to the envelope and the application inside the envelope. Relevant information from the application, such as applicant's name, address, family size, income and Community Board district, is entered onto a log sheet. This process is repeated until the number of applications opened and recorded in the log equals at least 20 times the number of apartments/homes available.

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Do I have to write my social security number and bank account number in applications for housing lotteries?
No, you do not have to include your social security number and bank account number in applications. If you are selected in the lottery, you will be called for an interview. If you are eligible for the apartment, the developer may then request your social security number and bank account number to do a credit check or to verify your income.

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Would my application for HPD-sponsored housing be considered if I have bad credit or a bankruptcy?
A private developer has a right to refuse an applicant on the grounds of bad credit or a bankruptcy, according to HPD's marketing guidelines.

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What happens after the lottery is completed?
After the drawing, the developer schedules interviews (in numerical order of the log sheet) with prospective homeowners. To make the process more efficient, HPD strongly recommends that the developer interview applicants who meet the various preference requirements (resident of Community Board district where development is located, active duty uniformed NYC police officers, municipal employees, mobility impaired, vision impaired) prior to interviewing other applicants.

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 on the applicant.

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How long does the interview process for renting an apartment take?
Generally, the interview process is completed within one month after the application deadline. Due to the large volume of applications submitted for each development, only applicants selected for an interview will be called regarding the status of their application. The same lottery process is used to select buyers for City-sponsored homes for sale.

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What does it mean if I don't receive a call requesting an interview?
Applicants will not receive a call for an interview if

  1. Their application was not drawn before the developer reached the amount that corresponds to 20 times the number of homes/apartments available for sale or rent;
  2. They did not meet the eligibility requirements for the program through which the home/apartment was developed,
  3. Or their application was received after the deadline

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What should I do if my building owner is harassing me?
Building owners are prohibited by law from harassing tenants to force them out of their apartments. Examples of harassment include verbal or physical abuse, consistent withholding of services, or persistent physical or mental intimidation.

Tenants in rent regulated apartments who believe they are being harassed by their building owner may contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). Call 311 for information or visit DHCR's website.

Tenants who live in buildings that are not rent regulated who believe they are being harassed may have grounds to initiate legal action in Housing Court against their building owners. Tenants may want to consult with and secure the services of an attorney before initiating any lawsuit. Tenants who cannot afford legal representation may be eligible for free or inexpensive assistance from the Legal Aid Society, which may be reached at (212) 577-3300. Tenants may also seek legal assistance from HPD's Fair Housing Counselors who offer advice and Housing Court Mediation services. Assistance is also available at information tables set up in Housing Court.

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