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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Press Release # 04-08
Thursday, February 21, 2008

Neill McG. Coleman (212) 863-8076


The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has launched an online certification for the 421-a Partial Tax Exemption Program.  Although applicants for 421-a benefits may still file paper applications, the online version is streamlined and requires less paper documentation.  This exciting new tool also includes built-in checks that minimize user errors and dramatically speeds up the processing of these applications.  The online application can be found on HPD’s website at

“The online certification has been well-received by clients and we expect to have fewer requests for status checks and complaints as a result of it,” said HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan. “Improving customer service is a hallmark of Mayor Bloomberg’s administration and we are committed to ensuring that we better serve our customers while making rapid progress towards the goals of the Mayor’s 165,000 unit affordable housing plan.”

Since the online application went live in early December, HPD has issued Preliminary Certificates of Eligibility for those 421-a Online Applications that were submitted correctly, within one month of their submission. Customers have particularly praised the system's capability to immediately determine if the property is site-eligible for 421-a benefits. HPD receives an average of 100 new 421-a applications per month.

The 421-a tax incentive program was created in 1971 to spur housing development at a time when housing market conditions were weak. Under the program, housing developers within designated areas are given tax incentives to develop housing. The program has helped fuel the construction of over 110,000 apartments in the City. Following the recommendations of a taskforce appointed by the mayor the City Council passed legislation in 2006 to create new incentives and new resources for affordable housing through 421-a. The state legislature made further changes to 421-a in 2007. HPD is currently incorporating changes related to the reforms passed by the city and state affecting the 421-a program and will continue to add enhancements to the online application as necessary.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The department is the nation’s largest municipal housing development agency and is implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation’s history. As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC HPD is working to create homes for almost a million more New Yorkers by 2030 while making housing more affordable and sustainable.  HPD also encourages the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards.


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