Explainers LIHTC: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Complicated

How Are LIHTC Rents Set—And Why Can’t So Many Renters Afford Them?

This video breaks down the LIHTC rent-setting process, and shows the surprising number of people it doesn’t serve.

Photo by astoriasunday via flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

multifamily buildings

This article is part of the Under the Lens series

LIHTC: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Complicated

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program awards billions in tax credits each year to private market investors and developers who promise to build or preserve affordable housing. But the program is notoriously complex. Who enforces its rules? Why is it so dominant in the housing sector? What's the current state of efforts to reform it?

How are rents set in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit developments? How do rents in this affordable housing still end up out of reach for so many residents?

For more details on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, see our FAQ LIHTC for Regular People.

Other Articles in this Series

LIHTC: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Complicated

  • Close-up of document titled "Rent Increase Notice." Text is partly hidden by a blue and silver ballpoint pen. Visible text says "...inform you that beginning on ____ .... increase by $_____. No other ..... to original rental agreement.... monthly payment is due on the first...."

    How Tenant Activists Won Protections Against Mid-Lease Rent Hikes in Affordable Housing

    November 30, 2023

    Last year, we reported on tenants in Northern Virginia LIHTC properties whose rents were raised in the middle of their leases. Here's how other states have banned the practice.

  • A skyscraper at night with windows lit up to form a large dollar sign.

    LIHTC Right of First Refusal Is Still Under Attack

    November 30, 2023

    Three years after our initial story, aggressive investors are still suing LIHTC general partners to profit off of what should be affordable housing. But one legal decision, along with proposed legislation, could help protect the right of first refusal.

  • LIHTC for Regular People

    November 30, 2023

    The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is famously complex. We can't exactly make it simple, but we've broken down the basics, especially those that residents of a LIHTC property might want to know, as clearly as possible.