Council President Flynn Calls for Affordable Housing Tax Exemption for Below Market Rent

At Wednesday’s Government Operations Hearing on rent stabilization, Council President Flynn proposed an affordable housing tax exemption for property owners that charge below market rate rent in the City of Boston. Currently, the City of Boston has a number of tax exemptions for homeowners who own and occupy their property. Under Council President Flynn’s proposal, there would be a $6,000 tax exemption for property owners willing to charge $500 a month below market rate rents.

At the hearing, Council President Flynn discussed the urgent need to increase the city’s housing stock as well as affordable units through the city’s Inclusionary Development Policy program while emphasizing that these actions all take considerable time in terms of proposals, community process, approvals, permits, construction, lotteries and occupancy.

However, a Rent Reduction Act featuring an affordable housing tax exemption that incentivizes reducing rents by $500 per month below market rate would provide units across the city to come online much more quickly in the next fiscal year, and before the city’s heaviest turnover on September 1st.

To offset the tax exemption, money from the Community Preservation Fund, the Neighborhood Trust and Linkage money from future projects, as well as federal funds can be utilized. The property owner would be required to register the unit with the city and provide proof of reduced rent to receive the property tax credit. This proposal aims to incentivize Boston’s current property owners to be stakeholders by charging below market rents, and provide an opportunity for affordable units to come on-line more quickly. Council President Flynn plans on submitting this proposal as an amendment to the home rule petition.

“Our housing crisis calls for creative and bold solutions to get as many affordable units online as quickly as possible, “said Council President Flynn. ”An affordable housing tax exemption could provide relief for working families in every neighborhood of the city by the next fiscal year, reward property owners who have been good neighbors in quietly providing below market rents for years to help families stay in the city, and encourage other housing providers to join them in being a good neighbor.”

For more information, please contact Council President Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 and [email protected].

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