Frequently Asked Questions


How are units made affordable?
Through its Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, the City requires developers of new residential projects either include affordable housing on-site or pay in lieu fees so affordable housing units can be constructed elsewhere in Irvine. Additionally, non-profit developers whose mission is to provide housing for lower income and special needs households receive funding through the City and various other local, state and federal agencies to build 100% affordable properties. Affordable units constructed typically remain affordable for 30 to 55 years, or in perpetuity.

How Can I obtain an affordable rental unit in the City of Irvine?
Since the City does not own or operate any affordable rental communities, you will need to contact the properties listed in this brochure directly to inquire about availability. If units are not readily available, request to be placed on the waiting list, if one is open. As units become available, the leasing office will contact you. Once you’ve placed your name on a waiting list, it is recommended you call that property periodically to check on the status and provide the leasing office with any changes to your contact information. Visit the Interactive Affordable Housing Map for further details on the properties that include affordable dwelling units.  

What is a waiting list?
A waiting list is a first-come-first served list of individuals/families who are interested in living in an affordable unit. As affordable dwelling units become available, leasing office staff will contact the next individual or individuals on the waiting list and invite them to submit an application. At that time, leasing office staff will review income documentation to determine eligibility.

How long can I expect to remain on a waiting list?
Each property maintains its own waiting list. There may be separate waiting lists for units at different income levels, and one waiting list may be longer than others. Typically, waiting lists are longest for extremely-low, very-low and low- income units, and waiting lists are shortest for moderate-income units. Please note that many buildings have waiting lists that are several years long, and few properties may have open waiting lists. Please contact properties directly to inquire about waiting list status.

How is affordable rent determined?
Affordable rent is determined by either the funding source(s) used in the construction of affordable housing and/or the restrictions placed on the project. Rent formulas are defined in the legal implementing agreements for each project, are specific to each income level and are tied to annual income limits released by the US Department of Housing and Urban Planning (HUD), the State Health and Safety Code and the State Tax Credit Allocation Committee. The City monitors projects on an annual basis to ensure that affordable rents do not exceed to maximum rents allowed and that tenants living in income-restricted units are still qualified to do so. .

How will I know when a future/upcoming affordable housing complex opens its interest list?
An interest list is a way for prospective residents to learn about a new affordable rental community that is still under construction. Developers typically open an interest list when a project under construction is close to completion. Interest lists are open for between 45 and 60 days, and if you sign up for an interest list before it closes, you will be notified by the developer as to how you can be entered into a lottery for the new affordable rental units once they are ready for lease-up. Developers will notify the City when they are planning to open an interest list. City staff will then post that information on the Construction Update for Future Affordable Housing page.

You may wish to bookmark that webpage and check it regularly to see if there have been any recent updates. Alternatively, you can sign up to receive affordable housing-related news from the City of Irvine, including notification of upcoming interest lists. Please note that if you sign up to receive these email updates, you are NOT joining an interest list or adding your name to a waiting list; you are signing up to receive news and information. To avoid missing any open interest lists, be sure to check your email account regularly and update your contact information if anything changes. If you wish to receive these informational updates, you may sign up here.