September 09, 2019

Schiff Introduces Legislation to Address Shortage of Affordable Housing Options

Bill Incentivizes Property Owners to Sell to Public Housing Agencies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced the introduction of the Affordable Housing Incentive Act to address the severe shortage of affordable housing options, particularly in cities with competitive real estate markets. Specifically, this bill would create tax incentives for property owners who sell to public housing agencies, thereby increasing the stock of affordable housing options.

“In a nation as prosperous as America, families and individuals should not struggle to put a roof over their heads, but so many do. Public housing agencies are a critical tool in addressing our nationwide housing crisis, but the supply of affordable options simply does not meet demand, especially in regions like Southern California,” said Rep. Schiff. “My bill will help address this shortage of affordable housing options by creating incentives that tilt the scale in favor of public housing agencies. As rising rents continue to outstrip growth in income, a lack of affordable housing means more people have a hard time paying the bills and are at higher risk of becoming homeless. In Los Angeles, where more than 700,000 households in the county spend over half of their income on rent, this is a problem we feel acutely, and Congress should step in to help local communities maximize the availability of affordable housing.”

Under current law, if property is seized or condemned by the government, no capital gain is recognized for tax purposes if the owner uses the proceeds to purchase similar replacement property. Schiff’s bill provides that same benefit — an option to avoid capital gains tax liability by purchasing a replacement property within three years — to owners who sell to housing agencies.

“Working families are feeling the walls close in as housing costs outpace wages and affordable options are in short supply,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Congressman Schiff’s legislation will give housing authorities an innovative tool to expand affordable housing and help prevent displacement."

“The City of Glendale and Glendale Housing Authority are extremely grateful to Congressman Adam Schiff for authoring the Affordable Housing Incentives Act of 2019,” said Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian. “This proposed legislation, if approved, will provide a new tool to help develop affordable housing for lower income households, not only in Glendale but across the nation.”

“This proposal will provide public housing authorities a financial incentive to offer to property sellers that should make them more competitive when buying land for dedicated affordable housing projects. This is a win-win situation since it will entice the property seller, and at the same time benefit those in the community in need of affordable housing,” said Glendale Housing Authority Chair Vrej Agajanian. “This legislation is a testament to our positive working relationship and the responsiveness of Congressman Schiff on our behalf and on the behalf of housing agencies everywhere.”

“The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities is pleased to lend our support to the Affordable Housing Incentives Act of 2019, which would encourage new development of affordable housing at a time when there is a severe shortage of housing for our nation’s lowest income and most vulnerable citizens, including seniors and people with disabilities,” said CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman. “By incentivizing property owners to sell their real estate to housing authorities, Rep. Schiff’s bill will help increase housing supply by using market incentives to spur investment in affordable housing for low income households. This bill is timely and most welcome.”

Read the full bill text of HR 4239 here.