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Cottage LandingsHere are resources and guides for your use to assure the fair and affordable housing built in your community will be sold or leased as intended. The items included have been used and refined by the county over time and address a variety of situations that may arise in implementing the requirements. Use of these resources promotes universal standards for housing affordability requirements county-wide, and will aid in ongoing oversight and monitoring of the housing across all jurisdictions. A Checklist to ensure long term affordability has been created as a easy reference

Westchester County defines affordable housing as housing that is made available for rent or purchase at a price affordable to households with incomes that are at or below the current Westchester County Area Median Income (AMI) adjusted for household size. The guidelines are based on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements. The county has prepared a guide showing the income guidelines currently in effect, the Westchester County Area Median Income, Sales and Rent Limits.

The central document, which ensures all affordability requirements are met, is the deed restriction that is to be filed with the deed to the property. This document includes several parts, starting with a Declaration of Restrictive Covenants (DRC) outlining the purpose of the restrictions, the affordability requirements, and the term of the requirements. It also includes a number of necessary legal provisions. Included in the DRC is a “Schedule A” that should contain the metes and bounds description of the property for the fair and affordable units; and a “Schedule B” that contains all of the specific affordability requirements that will apply to the property and any other related obligations.

Before the initial sale of a homeownership property, an appropriate sales price must be set. It is important to note that the sales price, even for identically sized units, may vary from municipality to municipality, and even from one development to another. There are many factors that are calculated into setting an appropriate sales price, including taxes, any Home Owners Association (HOA) common charges, and available interest rates. The county has prepared a sample worksheet (see: Setting an Affordable Sales Price) that municipalities may use to identify the appropriate sales price for an affordable homeownership unit within their municipality. It is always important to remember that sales prices should not be set for the maximum allowed, since family sizes and incomes will vary; and families may not have perfect credit to qualify for a mortgage.

For all homeownership properties, provision is made to set the resale price of the home should the initial homebuyer, and future owners desire to sell. The resale formula provides that the seller can set the price based on any potential increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) during the time they owned the home. The CPI is a good measure of what is happening in the economy and is a fair way to determine increased value of the home since the seller purchased the home. There is also provision in the formula for capital improvements made by the seller. Any improvements must be documented by invoices or receipts and, if conducted some time before the projected sale, are adjusted based on the wear and tear (depreciation) on the improvement since installation. Inspection of the improvements may be conducted.

For all rental properties, annual rent increases or adjustments may be allowable, but the initial and subsequent rents must still be affordable to the intended residents. The deed restrictions will describe any additional limitations on rent increases.

Eligibility of the applicants for affordable housing is determined by a review of source documents showing the household’s annual income, such as wage statements, interest statements, unemployment compensation statement, etc. HUD provides specific guidance on how to make such determinations in the Code of Federal Regulation Title 24, Part V, Section 5.609.

Green and smart technologies can be incorporated into new and existing structures to make living in them more comfortable and affordable.

Also, you can learn about expectations for marketing the fair and affordable housing development to all eligible people. The monitoring guidelines section will explain housing standards and practices required for homeownership and rental developments. Any fair and affordable units funded by the county, particularly those that will count towards the county’s goal of creating 750 units in eligible areas, will be monitored by the county.

If county funds are provided to your municipality to assist with infrastructure costs related to the development of fair and affordable housing, an Inter-Municipal Developer Agreement (IMDA) will be the document that will guide the use of the funds and ensure the continued affordability of the units.