Edison landlords able to market affordable rentals in exchange for subsidies

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Concept of growing housing market. Financial data on background.

EDISON – Edison Township is seeking interested landlords to participate in a new program that could put up to $105,000 in their pockets and simultaneously help increase the local affordable housing stock.

Edison’s new Market to Affordable (M2A) Rental Program allows landlords to convert one or more of their market-rate rental units into deed-restricted affordable housing units for moderate-income families or individual tenants.

In return, the township is offering landlords a minimum subsidy of $65,000 and a maximum of up to $105,000 – depending on the number of bedrooms in their unit – for each market-rate rental unit they agree to convert into deed-restricted affordable rental units.

“It’s a creative program,” Mayor Thomas Lankey said. “We’ve found a way to provide affordable housing that has no impact on housing densities or on land uses, and no tax dollars are subsidizing private landlords.”

Instead of using taxes to fund the program, Lankey explained residential, commercial and industrial developers are required by ordinance to pay fees into the town’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The fees would pay for landlord subsidies.

Edison has retained Community Grants, Planning and Housing to work with and advise municipal staff on how to facilitate the program.

Randall Gottesman, president of the Cranbury-based firm, said the program requires landlords to agree to deed restrictions that ensure each of their designated rental units will remain affordable for at least 30 years.

Participation in the M2A Rental Program would mean few noticeable changes for the landlords. For instance, landlords would retain full ownership and management of their building and all their units, officials said.

Landlords may conduct their standard background and credit checks for potential affordable housing tenants, using the same procedures for deed-restricted units as they would for market-rate applicants.

Landlords will see the most notable difference in filling out vacancies in an affordable unit. He/she must choose from Edison’s waiting list of prequalified applicants, managed by Community Grants, Planning and Housing. The applicants must also be income qualified prior to leasing, officials said.

“Affordable units in Edison Township are usually filled very quickly, as demand far outstrips supply,” Gottesman said. “Applicants are pre-screened and are highly motivated.”

Another potential benefit for participating landlords is their properties may qualify for a slight reduction to their municipal property tax obligations.

For more information, contact Dan Levin, senior planner for Community Grants, Planning and Housing, at 609-664-4857 or [email protected].