4d Affordable Housing Incentive Program

The 4d Affordable Housing Incentive Program offers rental owners one-time administrative grant assistance as well as 10-year qualification to the “4d” property tax classification for rental units preserved for low/moderate-income households for that same period. This 4d, or “low income rental” classification (“LIRC”) provides for up to a 40% reduction in those 4d units’ assessed rate assessed to the portion of units committed to 4d preservation.

Property owners are encouraged to invest the tax savings into updating and maintaining the quality of their naturally occurring affordable rental units that they operate, and low-income families are provided additional safe and stable housing options at a time when rent continues to rise across the Twin Cities.

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency will have final approval of 4d tax classification for property owners who meet Saint Paul's eligibility guidelines.

4d Program Guidelines

Additional Information

Benefits

Rental property owners that commit affordable units in a qualifying property to the 10-year 4d Program enrollment period will receive:

  • The 4d “low-income rental” classification (“LIRC”) on the proportion of qualifying units, and the reduced 4d property class tax rate (approximately 40% less than the rate on most rental units)
  • A grant award for each certified 4d unit, for up to $1,200 per property or per owner of single-family properties, based on:
    • $75 per unit preserved for households earning up to 60% of AMI
    • $200 per unit preserved for households earning up to 50% of AMI
  • Waiver/coverage of associated enrollment fees, by the HRA’s payment of the:
    • State application fee for the first-year Low Income Rental Classification Application ($10/unit, up to $150/property)
    • Title search/verification fees necessary to draft enrollment legal documents (approx. $150/property)
    • Recording fees for the Declaration of the Restrictive Covenants ($46/property)

Program Eligibility

Qualifying and enrolled Properties must:

  • be a Saint Paul rental property without current 4d classification.
  • exclude any units with short-term (<30 day) rental activity from its set of 4d-designated units.
    • Short-term rentals fall under a separate tax classification and are individually ineligible for 4d/LIRC classification.
  • exclude any owner-occupied units from its portion of 4d-designted units, which must be rental units by statute.
  • enroll with and maintain a current and valid Certificate of Occupancy (or exemption) from the Saint Paul Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI)
  • enroll with and maintain a C of O Inspection Grade of “A” or “B” (out of an A to D grade), to the C of O by DSI —which must remain above “C” grade throughout the 10-year enrollment period.

Qualifying and enrolled 4d Property Owners must:

  • follow affirmative fair housing practices, including non-discrimination against publicly-assisted rental applicants, e.g. those with Section 8 vouchers or other forms of public assistance (should the applicants otherwise meet the owner’s fair rental screening guidelines.
  • affirmatively market vacant 4d units on HousingLink’s listings, addition to wherever owners choose to otherwise advertise vacancies.

Helpful Links

  • Visit the Interactive Certificate of Occupancy Map on the Saint Paul Department of Safety and Inspection (DSI) webpage to confirm the status of your property’s Certificate of Occupancy and Fire Safety Inspection meets the required A or B grade.
  • Visit the Ramsey County’s Interactive Property Map to verify your property’s associated addresses, parcel identification number (PIN), and ownership information to list on the 2023 4d Application.

Affordability Requirements

To enroll in the 4d Program, owners must commit a minimum number of units to the 10-year period of preservation for “low-income” households. This namesake of the “LIRC” designation is defined as requiring both affordability to and initial occupancy by households earning up to either 50% or 60% of the Area Median Income (“AMI”). In other words: 4d units are both rent- and income-restricted.

This AMI, for the Twin Cities/seven-county metro, as well as associated rent and income thresholds, is updated annually by HUD. Effective for all current and applying properties, the 2023 Area Median Income (“AMI”) for a family of four in the Twin Cities is $118,300. Below are the associated affordability limits adjusted by the size of households earning up to 50% or 60% of that AMI.

2023 4d Program Minimum Eligible Unit Commitments

Minimum unit commitments to enroll a property in the 4d Program are:

Property Size
(# of rental units)
Minimum Affordability Commitments
(based on % of Area Median Income)

1 unit
(single-family)

All 1-unit properties must be preserved for households with up to 50% of AMI.
2 units
(duplex)

At least 1 duplex unit must be preserved for households with up to 50% of AMI.

Optional: Owners may elect to preserve the 2nd unit for households with up to either 50% or 60% of AMI for the required 10-year period of enrollment.

3 units or more
(multifamily)

Properties with 3 or more units must be minimally committed to either:

  1. 20% of multifamily units preserved for households with up to 50% of AMI, OR
     
  2. 50% of multifamily units preserved for households with up to 60% of AMI.

Optional: Conditional to meeting one of the above minimum commitments, multifamily property Owners may elect to preserve up to 100% of a property’s units for any combination of households with up to either 50% or 60% of AMI for the required 10-year period of enrollment.

2022-2023 4d Program Rent Limits

“Affordable” rent is defined by the State and HUD as a rate not exceeding 30% of a household’s income. HUD determines annual rent limits corresponding to the affordability to households at different income levels—including corresponding rent limits at certain income thresholds—including that of 50% and 60% of Area Median Incomes—are determined annually by HUD.

2022-2023 4d Program Rent Limits, affordable to households earning 50% or 60% of AMI, are listed below:

Unit size
(# of bedrooms)

50% AMI
(maximum rent)

60% AMI
(maximum rent)

0BR (studio/efficiency) $1,027 $1,232
1BR $1,100 $1,320
2BR $1,320

$1,584

3BR $1,525 $1,830
4BR $1,701 $2,041

Source: Metropolitan Council | HUD Fair Market Rent Limits (effective April 2022)

3% Limit on Rent Increases

Rent for 4d unit tenants may not be raised by more than 3% in a 12-month period, unless prior written approval by the HRA is granted based on an exception permitted under Section 193A of the City of Saint Paul Code of Ordinances.

2022-2023 4d Program Household Income Limits

After the namesake of their “low income rental” classification, 4d units must be exclusively turned over to tenants whose gross household income, at time of their initial occupancy, does not exceed 50% or 60% AMI limit declared on the unit. The Owner must complete this one-time income qualification prior to execution of each lease of a 4d unit to a new tenant.

2022-2023 4d Program Income Limits, adjusted for household size, are listed below:

Household size
(# of persons)
50% AMI
Income Limit

60% AMI
Income Limit

1 $41,100 $49,320
2 $46,950 $56,340
3 $52,800 $63,360
4 $58,650 $70,380
5 $63,350 $76,020
6 $68,050 $81,660
7 $72,750 $87,300
8 $77,450 $92,940

Source: Metropolitan Council | HUD Fair Market Rent Limits (effective April 2022)

Note: only new tenants’ household incomes must be verified, and at initial occupancy only. Tenants with existing leases at time of the property’s 4d certification are exempt from income verification.

Application

2023 4d applications must be submitted by December 30, 2022.

Application Package

For each individual tax parcel (with a unique PIN/PID number), submit the following items to complete the 4d application:

And where applicable:

  • (3a) For properties owned by a BUSINESS ENTITY:

  • (3b) For properties owned by TRUSTEE under a TRUST AGREEMENT:
    • An unsigned, draft copy of the Certificate of Trust*

    • An unsigned, draft copy of the Affidavit of Trustee*

      *These documents must be drafted with the full and accurate information pertaining to the Trust and its title to the property. Staff will use this information to prepare 4d enrollment closing documents, along with which these trust documents should then be executed only then be signed. Trustees should obtain the services of an attorney to prepare these documents.

  • (3c) For properties involving a CONTRACT FOR DEED or similar installment land contract:

    • A copy of the fully executed and recorded contract document setting forth the contractual relationship of the parties with a secured interest in the property

    • All Contract for Deed sellers and purchasers must be listed on the 4d Application and must each follow the above directions as applicable to the type of entity.

Applications are reviewed and approved on a first-come/first-serve basis.

If you need accommodation for hardcopy or printable versions of the Saint Paul 4d Program Application, please contact staff at 651-266-6655 or 4d@stpaul.gov

After your application is reviewed, you will receive communication as to its status and with further enrollment directions and next steps towards the closing requirements as outlined in the Program Guidelines.

Annual Recertification

To retain 4d status, 4d owners must submit two separate annual recertifications attesting to the property’s compliance with the 4d Program requirements:

4d Property Sales

If you intend to transfer title on a property currently enrolled in the 4d Program, you must notify the City at least 30 days prior to your intended closing/transfer date. This provides time for City staff to properly draft the legal documents to reflect the assignment and assumption of responsibility over the 4d Declaration of Restrictive Covenants that will run with the property regardless.

Please send the following information related to any 4d property sale or title transfer:

  • 4d Property PIN
  • 4d Property Address
  • Intended Closing Date
  • Title/Closing Representative
    • Name
    • Contact Information
  • Title Commitment
  • For each entity as party to the Buyer or Seller:
    • Full Legal Name
    • Contact Information (including mailing address, primary phone, and email address)
    • And, depending on the type of owning entity:

Send the above information to 4d@stpaul.gov at least 30 days before closing on a sale and/or transferring title on a 4d property.

Last Edited: November 18, 2022