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Inclusionary Housing

The City of Portland has identified the need for a minimum of 23,000 additional housing units to serve low and moderate-income households. The Inclusionary Housing program is designed to help meet this need, working to preserve economically diverse neighborhoods and housing affordability.

On this page

Program News and Highlights

The success of Inclusionary Housing in Portland, Oregon

Explore Inclusionary Housing in Portland through the visual story map. Read the program review and learn about the upcoming actions for continued success. You can also sign up to get email updates on the IH Program.

Story Map and IH Pipeline     Join the email list     

18-Month Program Review | September 2018


How Does the Program Work?

Inclusionary Housing Regulatory Options: The City has developed several options to help buildings meet their Inclusionary Housing requirements, while still meeting the needs of the community.

Inclusionary Housing requires that all residential buildings proposing 20 or more new units provide a percentage of the new units at rents affordable to households at 80% of the median family income (MFI) or below. The City has defined additional regulatory options under the umbrella of this requirement. Permit applications must include one of the options to provide affordable housing in their proposal, or applicants can opt to pay a fee-in-lieu at permit issuance.

All permit applications subject to or electing into Inclusionary Housing are reviewed by the Portland Housing Bureau. PHB staff are available to assist with questions.

Updated July 2020:


Regulatory Options

Option 1: Build On-Site at 80% MFI

Option 2: Build On-Site at 60% MFI

Option 3: Build Off-Site - New Construction 

Option 4: Provide Off-Site - Designate Units in an Existing Building

Option 5: Fee-In-Lieu


Supplemental Information

Intake Forms

IH Exemption Applications

City Code & Policy

Title 30

Title 33

Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project

Program Guidelines

Go to Income, Rent, and Utility Limits for current documents on:

  • Income and Rent Limits (PHB) - for MFI
  • Utility Allowances

FAQ

Subjectivity to Inclusionary Housing

  1. How do I determine if my project will be subject to the Inclusionary Housing zoning? All permits that are not previously vested as of February 1, 2017 will be subject to the Inclusionary Housing Program if the proposed building includes 20 or more new residential units. To find out more about vesting, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/article/580745.
  2. My project has less than 20 new residential units. Can I voluntarily opt-into Inclusionary Housing? Yes, projects with less than 20 new can opt-into Inclusionary Housing by either paying a fee to obtain available density bonus or by providing affordable units. It is important to note that the options for voluntary projects are limited to Options 1 and 2 and some of the incentives for buildings with 20 or more units may not be available to those with less.

Please feel free to email us with your questions at Inclusionary-Housing@portlandoregon.gov.

Unit Types & Reasonable Equivalency

  1. How are unit types determined? Please see section III.AF. Unit Type the Administrative Rules.
  2. How does PHB determine if units are “reasonably equivalent”? There are four ways in which PHB tests reasonable equivalency between units within a project:
    1. IH Unit make-up must be representative of the make-up of the entire building. An equal percentage of each Unit Type will be required to be IH Units.
    2. IH Units must be reasonably equivalent in square footage to the other units of the same type within the building.*
    3. No more than 25% of the total units per floor can be designated as IH Units, excluding the top floor. IH Units received from a Sending Building cannot be located in the Basement.
    4. Units amenities for IH Rental Units are determined to be reasonably equivalent if the finishes have equal lifetime expectancies and the appliances have the same Energy Star rating as those in the Market Rate Units. Reasonable Equivalency for IH Homeownership Units is met when the appliances have the same Energy Star rating as those in the Market Rate Units.

*For rental projects, IH Units must be at least 90% of the average square footage as the other same Unit Types in the building.

*For homeownership projects, IH Units must be at least 85% of the average square footage as the other same Unit Types in the building.

For more detailed information on Reasonable Equivalency please read section V.A. of the Administrative Rules.

On-Site Options

Reconfiguration

  1. What is Reconfiguration? Reconfiguration allows for buildings, using Option 1 or 2, to alter the minimum number of units required under Inclusionary Housing by redistributing IH bedroom requirements into units of two bedrooms or larger. Calculating reconfiguration is done after first determining the minimum number of required IH Units and the required unit mix based on the plans submitted.   Once the unit mix has been determined, the PHB Reviewer will calculate the total number of IH bedrooms a project is required to provide, based on the Option selected, and confirm that the project’s requested Reconfiguration (as stated on the IH Intake Form) meets program requirements. If the floor plans change, the unit mix will need to be reassessed and the reconfiguration recalculated as well.
  2. Who qualifies to use Reconfiguration? Any building that chooses Option1 or 2 and has two-bedroom or larger unit sizes within the building can use reconfiguration. This option cannot be used to downsize the number of larger units required, i.e. you cannot exchange two two-bedroom units that are required in exchange for four additional one-bedrooms or studios. Reconfiguration cannot be used to exchange one-bedroom units with studios.
  3. Can a Building that elects to send its IH Units Off-Site (Options 3 & 4) utilize Reconfiguration? Only Buildings who choose Option 1 or 2 can utilize reconfiguration.  Buildings opting to send their IH Unit obligation off-site are ineligible to use Reconfiguration.
  4. How does Reconfiguration work? For every two-bedroom unit or larger, you can trade the same ratio of studios and/or one-bedrooms. For example, you can exchange two one-bedroom units for a two-bedroom unit and three one-bedroom units for a three-bedroom unit.  You can continue this type of pattern until there are no longer any required studios or one-bedroom units left. You are not required to “max-out” on the number of larger units. Please see examples below:

Reconfiguration example #1:

Table with Reconfiguration Example 1

Reconfiguration example #2:

Table with Reconfiguration Example 2

For questions or any assistance regarding these examples, please email inclusionary-housing@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-9042

On-Site Consolidation

  1. What is On-Site Consolidation? On-Site Consolidation is a method of fulfilling the IH requirements utilizing Options 1 or 2 for sites that have multiple buildings. It allows for one or more buildings on the same site to transfer their IH Unit obligations, referred to as a “Transferring Building”, to another building, called a “Consolidated Building”, on the same site.
  2. Who is eligible to use this and how does it work? Any development with two or more buildings on the same site, as determined by Bureau of Development, Planning and Zoning can elect to transfer their IH Units to another building on the same site. The Consolidated Building must first meet its own IH requirements. Once those have been met the remaining market rate units in the building can be considered to consolidate the IH requirements of other same-site buildings in the development. The IH Units transferred must be reasonably equivalent to the units in the Transferring Building.
  3. Can a Transferring Building transfer their IH Units to multiple Consolidated Buildings? No. IH Units can only be transferred from one building to another. They cannot be split between multiple buildings.
  4. Can a Transferring Building transfer a portion of their IH Unit requirements to a Consolidated Building? No. If a building opts to transfer their IH Units to another building they must send all of their IH Requirements to a Consolidated Building that can absorb the full requirement. IH Units cannot be split between multiple buildings.
  5. Can there be more than one Consolidated Building on-site? Yes, there can be more than one Consolidated Building on-site
  6. Does the entire site have to choose the same IH Option? No, each building on the site chooses its own IH Option. If transferring units to a Consolidated Building the Transferring Building can only choose Option 1 or 2 but its choice does not impact the other buildings on site from choosing a different IH Option. In addition, each building can elect to reconfigure their requirements assuming they meet the baselines requirements of Reconfiguration.
  7. Does the Consolidated Building have to be built in the first phase? No, PHB does not restrict the phase in which a Transferring or Consolidated Building are built.
  8. Can a Consolidated Building also be a Receiving Site for a Building that is not located on Site, but has elected to send its IH Units Off-Site (Options 3 & 4)? Yes. A building can be both a Consolidated Building and a Receiving Site assuming all Reasonable Equivalency requirements can be met.
  9. What happens if a proposed Consolidated Building does not meet the IH Unit requirements of a Transferring Building? The Transferring Building will either need to:
    • Provide its IH Units within its own building;
    • Elect another building on the same site to become its Consolidated Building (pending PHB approval);
    • Select Option 3 or 4 and propose a Receiving Building to send its IH Units off-site (pending PHB approval); or
    • Pay the Fee-In-Lieu
  10. How are the IH incentives split in On-Site Consolidation? The eligible IH incentives would be distributed between the Transferring and Consolidated Buildings in the following manner:
    • Transferring Building:
      • Floor Area Ratio Bonus (in accordance with PCC 33.120)
      • Parking Requirements including parking exemptions (in accordance with PCC 33.266) 
    • Consolidated Building*:
      • Ten-year property tax exemption on either the:
        • Affordable portion of the building (if outside Central City Plan District (“CCPD”) or inside CCPD with a base or built FAR of less than 5:1); or
        • Full residential portion of the building (if located in CCPD with a base or built FAR of 5:1 or greater)
      • Affordable Housing Construction Excise Tax exemption on the IH Units
      • SDC Exemptions (for IH Units restricted at 60% MFI or below)
      • Floor Area Ratio Bonus (in accordance with PCC 33.120)
      • Parking Requirements including parking exemptions (in accordance with PCC 33.266)
    • * For the Consolidated Building to receive any of the financial incentives listed above, the following conditions must be met prior to the permit issuances of both the Transferring and Consolidated buildings:
      • PHB approves the Transferring Building’s proposed Consolidated Building
      • PHB approves the incentive program applications for the Consolidated Building 
      • PHB determines that the application for the tax exemption meets the requirements of Section IV.C of the IH Administrative Rules
  11. Are there any exceptions to Reasonable Equivalency for projects using On-Site Consolidation? All reasonable equivalency requirements must be met between the Transferring and Consolidated Buildings with the exception of the percentage of IH Units per floor, if the Consolidated Building is more than 25% IH.

Option 3: DMWESB-SDVBE Requirement

  1. What is DMWESB-SDVBE and who is required to use it? DMWESB-SDVBE stands for Disadvantaged, Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses or Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises. By electing Option 3: Build Off-Site: New Construction the general contractor of the Receiving Building will be required to enter into an agreement with a third-party technical assistance provider that is approved by PHB prior to opening up bidding for the Receiving Building.
  2. What must the DMWESB-SDVBE Agreement with the technical service provider include? It must include a plan to meet the City’s goal of 20% or higher participation of DMWESB-SDVBE firms in construction contracting. The third-party technical assistance provider must provide a written report summarizing the outcomes of the efforts made to reach the goal, including successes, barriers and any areas of improvement.
  3. Who do I need to contract to help connect with Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses (MWESBs)? The City has identified at least three organizations who can provide the technical assistance contract, although there are other organizations or individuals who may be qualified:
  4. How much should I expect to pay for the DMWESB-SDVBE technical assistance contract? You should expect to pay approximately $5000 to $10,000, depending on the capacity necessary to be provided.
  5. What do I need to provide to the City to meet the DMWESB-SDVBE requirement? You need to submit a copy of your signed contract with technical assistance provider prior to building permit issuance and opening up bidding of construction of the Receiving Building. The general contractor will need to report quarterly to the City’s Procurement Compliance Specialist; the provider will provide PHB with a summary report.
  6. How can the technical assistance help me and what is required in the contract? The provider will review your DMWESB-SDVBE plan or help you create one if necessary, make recommendations on the timing and bidding process in order to be most effective, help with outreach to potential DMWESB-SDVBE bidders, and report to PHB on successes and any barriers.

For more information on the IH requirement of DMWESB-SDVBE please review section IV.A.3.l in the Inclusionary Housing program Administrative Rules.

Fee-In-Lieu

  1. What is the Fee-in-Lieu and how is it calculated?
    • IH Subject Projects: Buildings that are subject to Inclusionary Housing can choose to pay a fee rather than providing IH Units. PHB staff calculate the fee-in-lieu amount due by multiplying the Gross Square Feet of the Residential and Residential Related portions of the Building (as determined by BDS Planning and Zoning) by the current Fee-in-Lieu factor found in Appendix A of the Inclusionary Housing program Administrative Rules.
    • Voluntary IH Projects: Buildings that are not subject to Inclusionary Zoning but would like to purchase additional density by paying into the Affordable Housing Fund can do so by opting-into Inclusionary Housing and electing the Fee-In-Lieu Option. PHB staff calculate the fee-in-lieu amount due by multiplying the bonus Gross Square Feet (as determined by BDS Planning and Zoning) by the current Fee-in-Lieu factor for “Bonus FAR in non-residential developments” found in Appendix A of the Inclusionary Housing program Administrative Rules.
  2. What does ‘residential and residential related areas’ include? The Gross Square Footage of all Dwelling Units, all space that is used to directly access the Dwelling Units, and all spaces tenants have access to, including but not limited to: hallways, laundry facilities, trash and recycling areas, fitness facilities, and other community and amenity spaces. For space that is the exclusive use of the occupants of the Dwelling Units, the total square footage of the space is included. For space that is shared by the occupants of the Dwelling Units and occupants of other uses in the Building, a percentage of the square footage of the space based on the percentage of the residential use portion of the Building is included in the Gross Square Footage. Square footage for vehicle and bicycle parking is excluded from the Gross Square Footage. As referenced in Section III.AC of the Inclusionary Housing Program Administrative Rules.
  3. When is payment due? Can I pay over time? The fee-in-lieu must be paid prior to or at issuance of the building permit. Upon payment of the fee-in-lieu, the Applicant has no additional IH Program requirements relative to the proposed development. There is no option for payments at this time.
  4. What happens to any payments made if a building permit is not issued or the project is not able to be competed? PHB will corroborate with BDS and their tracking system that the permit has been cancelled and that the project no longer exists prior to issuing a refund payment.

Contact Information

Portland Housing Bureau

PHB has staff to answer your Inclusionary Housing questions. Please email us at Inclusionary-Housing@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-9042 to speak with a specialist.

Bureau of Development Services

Development Services Center

Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/dsc or call 503-823-7310 (select option 2). Contact the Development Services Center for questions about permit process, land use, research and code.

Contact

PHB - Inclusionary Housing

phone number503-823-9042

Have questions? Please email or call to speak with a Inclusionary Housing specialist. Messages are generally returned within two business days.

Development Services Center

Development Services

phone number503-823-7310

Monday through Friday from 8 am - 5 pm. Leave a message with detailed information.