Posted in Blog  
  on Jan 13, 2015

What is a Disability Rent Increase Exemption

Some people have a limited income because they have a disability. This limited income means that they need to have a set level of expenses so that they can budget properly and be able to survive. A disability rent increase exemption [DRIE] allows people with a qualifying disability to be exempted from standard rent increases that typically happen in every market. It is a program that is used extensively in New York City, but may be applied in any community.

Who Qualifies For a Disability Rent Increase Exemption?

There are certain qualifications that a tenant must meet in order for them to qualify for an exemption program like this. It all starts with their age. A tenant must be 18 years old in order to apply. They must also meet some additional standards. Income levels. In New York City, a tenant cannot earn more than $50k annually as a household in order to qualify for a DRIE. Have high rental spending. 33% of a tenant's income must go to rental payments. Receive specific disability benefits. The two most common forms of disability that are received in the US are SSI and SSDI. Pensions from the VA or Medicaid may also qualify as disability benefits. Live in federally insured housing. The property where a tenant lives must be covered by the National Housing Act's Section 213. Tenants must also be named on the lease in order to qualify for a DRIE. In New York City, if a tenant has been granted succession rights, then they can also apply for this program.

Why Should Landlords Enroll Eligible Tenants?

Although having a DRIE in place seems like it would be a bad thing for landlords, in New York City it really isn't. Landlords that have tenants which qualify for exemptions will receive tax credits that help to make up the differences in income. If rent has been frozen at $1,000 per month, but on the open market the landlord could receive $1,500, then that one unit would provide the landlord with a $6,000 tax credit. Applying for a DRIE is easy. For communities that have them, an online application can be filled out to get the process going. Proof of the disability and income statements are general requirements that are always necessary to facilitate approvals. Households that have multiple sources of income, such as child support or settlement payments, in addition to a disability may need to seek out legal advice about their specific situation. The benefit of a disability rent increase exemption program is that it allows disabled tenants to have a warm home, tax credits for landlords, and affordable rent to be found. As long as qualifications for the property and the tenant are met and renewed annually, someone with a disability can pay the same amount in rent over the course of their stay on that property without ever worrying about having to pay more.


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