How to Apply for Affordable Housing

HDC finances affordable rental properties reserved for households with certain income restrictions. You may view all available affordable housing opportunities by visiting NYC Housing Connect, an online portal for New Yorkers to find and apply for affordable housing opportunities across the five boroughs of New York City. Additional information on how to apply and determining your eligibility can be found in the resources linked below.

New York City is committed to the principle of inclusivity in all of its neighborhoods, including supporting New Yorkers to reside in neighborhoods of their choice, regardless of their neighborhood of origin and regardless of the neighborhood into which they want to move.

More Information

Who Is Eligible to Apply?

As an out of city or state resident can I apply for an HDC-financed affordable apartment?

Out of town residents can apply for an HDC-financed affordable apartment; however, preference is given to current New York City residents.

What are the criteria for students applying for an HDC-financed affordable apartment?

Student Loans/Grants are not considered income. For a low-income apartment, the household cannot be made up entirely of full-time students unless the household qualifies for an exception under federal law.

Can I apply my Section 8 voucher/certificate to an HDC-financed development?

Section 8 voucher or certificate holders are eligible to apply for HDC-financed low income developments. They are processed in the same manner as all other applicants and must meet all applicable eligibility criteria. Of course, the rent of the specific apartment in question must be within the maximum level allowable under the applicant’s voucher or certificate. If you are unclear about these maximum levels, you should contact the agency that allocated your certificate or voucher.

How is income calculated?

The managing agents will calculate income using annual gross income, and include interest income earned from assets. For self-employed applicants net income is analyzed, which includes net business income from current and prior years. Every applicant’s income, both current and recent past, will be considered in evaluating eligibility. Furthermore, please note that all sources of income must be able to be documented and verified. If your application is selected for processing, you will be contacted with a list of such documentation which you will need to provide at that time.

Find an Apartment

How do I find out if an HDC-financed apartment building is accepting applications?

All HDC-financed developments are required to have an open application, generally 45 to 60 days, and occurs before the development has finished construction. Developers/managing agents are required to maintain an inquiry list for those interested in receiving applications when available, additionally a site sign is required to be posted at the construction location with the appropriate contact information. Advertisements are also required to be placed in the classified sections of at least three publications, including a city-wide newspaper. Local community contacts are also contacted and asked to advertise the application process. You can also register to receive an email notification when affordable housing applications are available here.

How do I apply for an apartment?

HDC does not administer applications for any developments that it finances. Each developer designates a managing agent for this process, and we provide the information given to us as to where and when applications are available. When requesting an application, carefully follow the instructions of the managing agent, such as to where to send the request and whether or not to include a self-addressed envelope or post card.

Application Process

Is there an application fee?

There is no application fee, however, a fee can be charged to process a credit or background check.

Why do I have to give the developer such detailed information about my finances?

It is important that HDC-financed apartments are rented to tenants that qualify under the program requirements. In order to ensure fairness to all applicants, the owner needs to certify that an applicant’s income falls within the income guidelines. All information is confidential, and the managing agents handle this information with the utmost discretion. Required information such as bank accounts, assets and social security numbers are necessary to provide to the managing agent on the application in order to fully review and approve you for an affordable apartment.

Is Credit History considered during the application process?

Landlords cannot disqualify you based on your credit score alone, but they may check your credit history. Make sure the information in your credit report is correct, and take steps to improve your credit score, if you need to.

How does the lottery system work?

Lotteries are held during the initial application process to ensure that all applicants are given an equal opportunity to obtain an affordable apartment. The Housing Connect system randomizes both online and paper applications and a log of applicants is created for each lottery. Selected applications are then reviewed in log order number to determine whether the applicant is apparently income eligible. These applicants will then be notified to provide further information to ensure eligibility. After the initial rent up of the development, if there are more selected applicants than there are apartments, the managing agent will maintain a waiting list to possibly fill any future vacancies. Based on the volume of applications received, it is not always possible to contact all applicants. 

Do I have to pay a broker’s fee?

Broker’s fees are not permitted for HDC-financed low-income apartments. For HDC-financed middle-income apartments, if you apply during the lottery process, you do not have to pay a broker's fee. However, if apartments remain unoccupied after the lottery process, the owner may hire a broker to help rent these apartments. If you apply for the apartment through this broker, you may be required to pay a broker’s fee of no more than one-half of one month's rent for the apartment you are renting.

When will I hear about whether my application has been approved?

There is extremely high demand for HDC-financed apartments because they are so affordable. Based on the volume of responses to a lottery, it is not always possible for every applicant to be contacted. If your application is selected for processing, you will be notified in writing by the developers and their managing agents as to your eligibility status. However, it is possible that your application may not be selected in the lottery, in which case you will not be contacted. HDC is working to create as many new housing opportunities for New York City as possible, and we encourage everyone to continue applying for any new developments for which they may be eligible.

What if I have requested an application for a development in marketing and I have not received one, and it is nearing the application deadline?

Applicants should follow-up with the managing agent directly on their request; HDC does not handle any aspect of this.

What does it mean to be on the waiting list?

Owners will maintain a waiting list for a particular development so that, if an apartment becomes available, there is a ready list of potential tenants. If an apartment becomes available or the apartments are not all rented during the initial application process, the developer will offer the apartment to applicants on a waiting list. Owners have the discretion to close a waiting list. If you are on a waiting list, the developer may require you to renew your status as an interested applicant by contacting their office every six to twelve months. Your eligibility to rent one of these apartments is determined by your income at the time you are offered the apartment. If your income has increased above the allowable maximum income since you originally applied for the apartment, you are no longer eligible to receive this apartment.

Why wasn’t I accepted for an apartment?

There may be many reasons, but the most frequent is because you did not meet income eligibility requirements. The federal government and/or HDC set minimum requirements; however, the developer may also set additional requirements concerning the applicant's ability to be a responsible tenant. If you feel you were unfairly or wrongly rejected for an apartment, you must contact the managing agent first. The managing agent should have given you a written reason for rejection and a time frame for appealing the owner's decision, typically fourteen days. If you have not been given an opportunity to appeal, please call HDC at (212) 227-6411 and ask to speak to someone in the Compliance Unit or you can e-mail HDC at Please provide as much information about your situation as possible, including complete contact information; someone from the Compliance Unit will contact you to follow up on your situation.

General Questions

If I am a disabled applicant what are my options?

All new HDC financed developments set aside units for persons with disabilities: 5% of units are set aside for mobility-impaired and 2% for visual or hearing-impaired. Applicants must meet all other applicable eligibility criteria.

Once I move into my apartment, will my rent go up?

Low-income HDC-financed apartments are entered into the rent stabilization system, which would usually mean that your rent will increase by a percentage every year, based on the increase allowed by the Rent Guidelines Board. However, these increases are limited by restrictions on rent increases in the low-income housing programs. Middle-income apartments are entered into the rent stabilization system, which means that your rent will increase by a small percentage every year, based on the increase allocated by the Rent Guidelines Board.

Can my rent be adjusted to increase or decrease if my income were to increase or decrease?

No, rents are set. Certain low-income programs require that your income must be reevaluated every year. However, this information is for record purposes only and does not impact your rent or your ability to remain in the apartment.

Can I have someone move in with me?

Adding or removing names to and from your lease must be reviewed with your landlord or managing agent.

Can I sublet my apartment?

You cannot sublet a low-income apartment. Illegal subletting is grounds for termination of your lease. Middle-income apartments may be sublet to qualified tenants only, with the prior approval of the landlord.

What if a resident of my apartment moves out and I have to pay the rent myself?

Please discuss this issue with the management of the building. Tenants are still required to pay the rent.

Can I buy property from HDC?

No, HDC is not a property owner. The City, however, does own property from tax foreclosures that it sells, usually through an auction. To find out about future City auctions, contact the Real Estate Services of the New York City Department of City-Wide Administrative Services (DCAS) or call:

  • "311" if in the City
  • 212-New-York (212-639-9675) if outside of the City

I would like to purchase an HDC-financed Coop.

New HDC-financed co-ops are sold through a lottery and application process. For older HDC-financed co-ops, when current apartment owners re-sell their units, there is no lottery and the owner may use a broker. In general, at the point of resale, apartments are sold to individuals with incomes that meet HDC program income guidelines. For details on the resale of an apartment, please review the Offering Plan with the managing agent of the specific development you are interested in, as each development has its own Offering Plan. At the end of the process HDC must approve the resale but is not involved during negotiations with the buyers and sellers or their representatives.

I want to live in a Mitchell-Lama development.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development handles the application process when apartments within this program become available. You may visit the NYC Mitchell-Lama Connect website for additional information about any Mitchell-Lama developments that may be accepting applications.

I live in an HDC-financed building and have concerns about my managing agent.

If you live in a building financed through one of HDC's programs and you have questions or concerns about your owner or managing agent, please contact HDC at (212) 227-5500 and ask to speak to someone in the Compliance Unit or e-mail your concern to Please provide as much detail as possible about your situation as well as complete contact information. Someone from the Compliance Unit will contact you to follow-up on your situation.

What are HDC’s affordable housing program income requirements?

To view the program income requirements, please click on the Income Eligibility link/tab under the More Information section on this page.