Tagged: Affordable Housing

Sweeping Affordable Housing Reform Signed Into Law in New Jersey

On March 20, 2024, Governor Phil Murphy signed what could be the most significant and impactful affordable housing reform legislation in New Jersey since the original enactment of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) in 1985 in A4/S50 (the “Law”). After the New Jersey Supreme Court declared the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) “moribund” in 2015, municipalities and developers, as well as interested advocacy groups, have been engaged in constitutional compliance litigation in an attempt to determine how best to create realistic opportunities for the construction of affordable housing. These various cases resulted in a large number of settlements across the state, with some very public and prolonged litigation still pending.

Non-Residential Development Fees – How Much Do I Pay and When?

The Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee Act (the “Act”) has been in full effect for the past three years. Yet, there remains confusion as to how the fee is calculated and when it is required to be paid. There shouldn’t be. Before the Act, both residential and non-residential development fees were governed by the Council on Affordable Housing’s (“COAH”) regulations, and municipalities adopted a form ordinance provided by COAH. COAH’s regulations, for instance, permitted all development fees to be collected with up to 50% due at the issuance of a building permit and 50% due at the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The same regulations permitted municipalities to collect the full fee at the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The current Act makes it crystal clear that “the payment of non-residential development fees … shall be made prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for each development.” The Act also lays out a process for preliminary and final assessments of fees, including a notice required upon issuance of a construction permit to the tax assessor to conduct an initial evaluation of the fee. Thus, any requirement for the payment of a development fee as a condition of the issuance of a construction permit would be inconsistent with the Act. The Act provides...

“Housing is Health Care”: New Jersey HMFA Launches Program for Supportive Housing Partnership with Hospitals

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), in collaboration with the New Jersey Hospital Association, has announced a pilot subsidy program to promote investment by hospitals throughout New Jersey in affordable and supportive housing. The program was previously endorsed by the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Board of Trustees. Following a number of recent studies highlighting the interconnection between stable, safe, and affordable housing and maintaining a higher quality of life, HMFA created a partnership program for New Jersey’s hospitals and affordable housing developers to try and fill a notable void in supportive housing. Hospitals are encouraged to work with developers to target housing for special needs residents or users of frequent emergency room services. HMFA anticipates the projects would consist of 60-70 units and can include mixed-use space for doctors’ offices, clinics, or other community uses. Approximately ten of the units would be set aside for low-income households (50 percent of gross median income), and the remainder would be restricted to households of moderate income (80 percent of gross median income). The program, currently funded with $12 million, seeks to match funding contributions from hospitals up to $4 million to fund three or four projects in New Jersey. The program will include the four percent low-income housing tax credit as well. HMFA is seeking...

New Jersey HMFA Announces 2018 Tax Credit Round – Applications Due July 24, 2018

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) announced Tuesday that it is now accepting applications for federal low-income housing tax credits (“LIHTC”) for the development of family, senior, and supportive housing projects throughout New Jersey. This announcement relates to the competitive LIHTC, which provides a 9% tax credit as a mechanism of funding construction of affordable housing in New Jersey. HMFA has announced that there is a funding tranche of approximately $28 million dollars in LIHTC funding available. Applications for the family, senior, and supporting housing rounds are due July 24, 2018 at noon.

Appellate Division Holds UHAC Regulations Preempt Local Code Provisions on Affordability Controls for New Developments

In an unpublished decision entitled Avalon Princeton, LLC v. Princeton et al., the Appellate Division has affirmed that certain state affordable housing regulations preempt pre-existing municipal ordinances, setting a period of affordability controls for “at least 30 years” on new construction. Although not precedential, this decision provides insight on how courts may view some of the regulatory framework, particularly regarding municipal versus state regulation of newly constructed affordable units, and potentially forecasts much more flexibility for municipalities in controlling their current and future stock of affordable housing. In order to assure that affordable housing units remain affordable for a period of time, municipalities have long required that properties that are affordable to low- and moderate-income families be encumbered with some form of restrictive covenant running with the land for both rental and owner-occupied properties. The length of term of these restrictions have varied, based on the municipality and the nature of the units, but typically ran for 30 years from the date of first occupancy, and traditionally have automatically expired after that period. Following the introduction of the Fair Housing Act, these standards varied as COAH’s regulations were refined and developed over the course of the various iterations of the First, Second, and Third Round Rules. In 2004, however, the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency...

New Jersey Future Report: Changes to Low Income Housing Tax Credit Selection Criteria Change Locations of Affordable Housing Development

In 2013, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency made significant changes to the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP), putting in place caps on development in areas with significant concentrations of poverty and adding additional criteria to encourage development in areas that would grant low- and moderate-income families a better chance at greater economic opportunity. Specifically, these changes encouraged development in transit oriented districts and areas with ready access to public transit, as well as encouraging development in areas with high-quality, well performing schools. In a recent study, New Jersey Future has found that these changes to the QAP have effectively implemented a policy shift in moving a significant amount of affordable housing construction out of poverty-stricken areas and reallocating such construction to more suburban areas of the State. Prior to 2013, roughly half the tax credits awarded were for economically distressed areas; after the changes to the QAP, that allocation is down to approximately 20%. More projects are being awarded tax credits in suburban areas with transit access and quality schools due to these changes in statewide policy as announced in the QAP, and this trend will likely make the limited number of tax credits allocated to urban areas more competitive as well. Click here to read New Jersey Future’s summary of their report.

Clarifying How New Jersey Counts Prospective Need and Evaluating Competing Proposals for Builder’s Remedies

Determining the municipal fair share housing obligation has been the subject of litigation for the better part of 18 years, since the last valid set of regulations for the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing expired in 1999. As we have previously blogged, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in In re Declaratory Judgment Actions Filed by Various Municipalities, County of Ocean, – N.J. – (2017) established that the constitutional obligation to provide realistic opportunities for the construction of affordable housing is cumulative, leaving only the question of how to calculate the need during two periods: one from 1999 to 2015, and one from 2015 to 2025. The Appellate Division recently released for publication an edited version of Judge Wolfson’s trial court opinion in In the Matter of the Application of the Township of South Brunswick for a Judgment of Compliance and Repose and Temporary Immunity from Mount Laurel Lawsuits, in an effort to provide further clarity on how to calculate prospective need during the period from 2015 to 2025. The opinion addresses two fundamental questions: (1) how shall a municipality calculate its constitutional fair share housing obligation, and (2) how to evaluate competing claims for so-called “builder’s remedy” relief from intervening developers. The decision addresses how municipalities should determine their fair share housing obligation, and which methodology...

New Jersey Supreme Court Decides “Gap Period” Affordable Housing Need is to be Included in Present Need, Returns Cases to Trial Courts

The Supreme Court of New Jersey today issued its opinion in In re Declaratory Judgment Actions Filed by Various Municipalities partially affirming the decision of the Appellate Division, but expanding the definition of “present need” to include affordable housing need as it arose during the period from 1999 through the present. This decision recognized that the constitutional obligation to provide realistic opportunities for the construction of affordable housing did not stop in 1999, but has continued ever since, and provides some guidance for trial courts in how to determine the scope of that need. In effect, this decision modifies the decision of the Appellate Division by requiring trial courts to take the gap period need into consideration.

N.J.’s Proposed Changes to Low Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Plan Limit Projects per Developer and Encourage Development in Smart Growth Areas

The N.J. Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (“HMFA”) recently proposed changes to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) Qualified Allocation Plan (“QAP”). State housing credit agencies, like HMFA, are required to create plans which outline the selection criteria for awarding tax credits for the development of low- and moderate-income housing. The proposed amendments update the QAP to reflect procedural changes to the way in which affordable housing is constructed, but also include some substantive changes to both the allocation of tax credits among developers and the scoring system for awarding tax credits.

Following the Expiration of the Permit Extension Act, Keep in Mind the Impact of Statewide Non-Residential Development Fees

With an improving economy, developers who have weathered the storms of economic recession and have projects approved prior to July 17, 2008, the effective date of the Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee Act, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-8.1 et seq. (the “Act”), may finally be in a position to construct many of these projects. However, with changes in the market and demand for certain types of commercial space outpacing those approved in the 1990s and early 2000s, approvals that have been tolled since 2007 by the Permit Extension Act (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-136.1 et seq.) may need to be altered to accommodate new marketplace demands. In seeking amendments of those approvals, developers should be aware of, and consider the potential application of, the affordable housing development fee to those projects.