Massachusetts Affordable Housing Attorney
Steven S. Bloom, Esq.
Affordable Housing Attorney
What is "Affordable Housing"?
In an effort to address the increasing lack of availability of affordable housing in Massachusetts, a law was passed nearly 40 years ago to promote the construction of affordable housing throughout Massachusetts. This law, Chapter 40B of the Massachusetts General Laws, allows local zoning boards to apply more flexible rules to the new construction so long as 20-25% or more of the housing units being built are designated as affordable, and remain affordable, for the long term. The goals is to have 10% or more of a city or town's housing inventory as affordable. Under Chapter 40B many affordable housing projects have been built which would not have been able to have been built under the traditional zoning rules. The affordable housing units which have been built include elderly-housing, single-family subdivisions which include affordable housing units, multi-family housing units and condominium units.
Cities and towns have also worked towards increasing the volume of affordable housing through their zoning laws. Inclusionary zoning programs mandate that residential real estate developers make some of their housing affordable. Incentive zoning programs provide that the developers receive favorable zoning treatment in exchange for setting aside some housing units as affordable housing.
Additionally, the state and many cities have created agencies and have devoted funds for projects which create affordable housing units. For example, the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), which is administered by MassHousing and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), provides resources to both create and preserve affordable housing for eligible buyers. The state provides funds for affordable rental, home ownership and mixed-use projects as well as housing for the disabled and homeless. These funds are used primarily to support private housing projects that provide for the acquisition, construction or preservation of affordable housing. An example of a city agency devoted to affordable housing is the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA, now also known as the BPDA). The BRA aims to ensure home ownership for low and moderate income households. Using public land and with the help of developers, financing assistance, and relief from regulation, housing is made affordable by lowering the purchase price to well below market values. The City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) is another city agency committed to creating affordable housing in the City of Boston. DND provides affordable opportunities, homebuyer assistance and other housing services with the use of public resources.
Since there are many city and state agencies devoted to affordable housing, it is recommended that an interested home buyer check each city and town, as well as the other state agencies, to see what is available, as the foregoing is a small, and by no means exhaustive, list.
Most, if not all, affordable housing opportunities require that the prospective buyer(s) meet certain criteria such as household income, owner-occupancy, first-time home buyer status, local-residency requirements, etc. to be eligible to buy an affordable housing unit. Due to the high demand for these affordable housing units, many qualified buyers must participate in lotteries to establish priority amongst equally-qualified buyers.
Affordable housing units are usually of the same quality and appearance as the market-rate housing units and, for all practical purposes, share most, if not all, of the same benefits appurtenant to the higher priced dwellings. The price, however, is substantially lower. Of course, there are usually restrictions associated with ownership, use and sale of the affordable housing units.
Our Affordable Housing Commitment
After handling real estate matters and conducting real estate closings since the mid-1980's, nearly 20 years ago, Attorney Steven Bloom began conducting real estate closings involving affordable housing units. Since that time, he has been committed to the "affordable housing" legislative goal of helping more and more citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts obtain their own homes through affordable housing programs and schemes. He enjoys the challenge of every new affordable housing project as well as reviewing the often lengthy and complex title exams. He is experienced in handling these usually labor-intensive, heavily documented transactions.
Attorney Steven Bloom is available to represent Developers, Buyers, Sellers, Banks, Institutional Lenders, Private Lenders, Mortgage Companies, Correspondent Lenders and Mortgage Brokers regarding the purchase, sale and financing of residential and commercial real estate. He is further experienced in handling all aspects of highly-technical and specialized affordable housing transactions in Massachusetts.
The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all attorneys in the general practice of law. The court does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.
Steven Bloom, Esq., is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Steven Bloom, Esq. is also licensed to practice in the State of Rhode Island.
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1170 Beacon Street Brookline MA 02446
Phone: (617) 608-0019
Fax: (617) 608-0022