“It’s getting harder and harder to be poor. This would benefit ... areas that have a shortage of affordable homes.”
NASHVILLE – Nashville is expected to have a deficit of 31,000 low-income homes to support its population by 2025.
State lawmakers are pitching two bills to help tackle the growing affordable housing crisis in urban areas – particularly Nashville – before this week’s deadlines to introduce 2019 legislation.
Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-nashville, a former Metro councilwoman, proposed reducing property taxes for owners of low-income rentals in expensive housing markets.
“It’s getting harder and harder to be poor” in Nashville, said Gilmore, who introduced Senate Bill 176. “This would benefit Davidson County and other areas that have a shortage of affordable homes.”
Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-old Hickory, is sponsoring SB 176 in the House of Representatives. He also plans to introduce another bill to freeze property tax payments for seniors living in booming housing markets.
Affordable Rental Property Act
SB 176, the Affordable Rental Property Act, would encourage development of more low-cost units because those property owners would be able to pay reduced taxes.
The law would require the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) to identify cities that don’t have enough homes for low-income families each year. Those areas would qualify to participate in the tax break.
THDA would then determine income limits to qualify for affordable housing and the corresponding rental rates that property owners would offer to be eligible for the tax break.
County property assessors would be responsible for processing the applications.
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councils before it can be implemented.
“The increased market value of certain rental housing has caused an increase in taxes to the extent that owners cannot afford to pay the taxes and other expenses of the properties, if they rent to low-income persons at the belowmarket rates,” the bill states. “It is the policy of this state to encourage rental housing owners to provide affordable rental housing.”
This bill comes a year after the state Senate blocked cities from offering developers the option of building taller or more dense buildings in exchange for providing some affordable housing units.
The law was in response to Nashville’s
Senior property tax reductions
Jernigan anticipates putting forward his own bill this week that would freeze property taxes for seniors in appreciating markets.
“This is to keep someone living in an area (where home values have gone up quickly), like Germantown, from being kicked out of their house,” Jernigan said.
Seniors statewide ages 65 and older who have lived in their homes for at least 30 years would qualify, he said.
In Davidson County, there are currently several programs for low-income seniors to reduce and defer property tax payments.
The deadline to introduce new state legislation to the General Assembly is Wednesday in the House of Representatives and Thursday in the Senate.
Construction workers build housing at the James A. Cayce Homes for a new MDHA project called Envision Cayce on July 18. GEORGE WALKER IV / THE TENNESSEAN