City Assisted Renters FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about renting a City-assisted unit. If you do not see your question below, or if you would like additional information, please contact Mark Donahue, at 617/349-4642 or mdonahue@cambridgema.gov.

How often does the City recertify my household?

Tenants are recertified annually. Tenants without housing vouchers are certified through the Community Development Department. Tenants receive a recertification packet approximately two and a half months prior to the expiration date of their lease. The packet is returned to the building’s property manager. Tenants with vouchers will recertify their income annually through their subsidizing agency.

We recently had a baby and need a larger unit.

If your household size is no longer appropriate for the size of your unit, please contact Mark Donahue, at 617/349-4642 or mdonahue@cambridgema.gov. You can request a transfer to an appropriate sized unit within the building. We will try to accommodate you when a unit becomes vacant. Tenants may also submit a new application to the Rental Applicant Pool if they wish to move to another building.

What happens if I am over the income limits?

Income is recertified once a year. If you are found to be over income, generally you will be allowed to remain in your unit for up to one year paying 30% of your income for rent. After one year you will need to move from the unit or pay the market rate rent.

The property manager has told me that I have to have renter’s insurance. Do I have to get it?

No, you cannot be required to pay more than 30% of your income for the unit. However, although not required, we do encourage you to buy renter’s insurance

Can I leave my unit before my lease expires?

The lease you have signed is directly with the property manager. The lease break terms will be contained in your lease. You will need to talk directly with the management company if you wish to leave your unit before your lease expires

Who do I contact if I am being evicted?

Please contact Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services.  They represent tenants with landlord/tenant issues.