Rental Applicant Pool

110 Second Street

The Housing Division administers the Rental Applicant Pool for households interested in applying for affordable rental housing. The Rental Applicant Pool is used to identify eligible applicants for affordable rental units available through the City’s Inclusionary Housing Rental Program. Inclusionary rental units are located throughout the City in developments that are privately owned and managed. CDD maintains this pool of applicants to assist owners in making units available to eligible households. CDD manages the pool, determines eligibility, and refers eligible applicants to property owners or managers with available units for their approval. Eligible applicants who are approved by the property owner/manager will be offered a unit based on their place in the Rental Applicant Pool.


To apply to the Rental Applicant Pool, applicants must complete a Preliminary Application and submit it to the Housing Division.

How the Rental Application Pool Works

Based on the information submitted in the Preliminary Application, applicants are placed into groups according to their household size and composition and the City’s selection preferences. Preference for available units is given to Cambridge residents, households with children, and households with an emergency housing need, and households who work in Cambridge.

Preliminary applications are added to the appropriate preference group in the Rental Application Pool in the order they are received. Preliminary Applications are not reviewed for eligibility. Placement in the pool does not indicate an applicant is eligible for the program. 

The order in which applicants are considered for affordable units is based on the City's selection preferences and the order in which the Preliminary Applications were received in each preference group. Based on this order, when units are available, applicants who are at the top of the appropriate preference group for an available unit will be asked to submit a Final Application with all required eligibility documentation.

Eligibility and Rents

The review of the Final Application determines an applicant’s eligibility for the program. Eligible applicants must have incomes between 50% and 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), and meet asset guidelines as outlined in the application guidelines.

Applicants with a tenant-based housing subsidy do not need to meet the minimum income requirement.

An applicant who is determined to be eligible will be referred to the manager of the inclusionary property where the next appropriate sized unit is available. The application will be reviewed by the property manager. If the applicant is approved, they will have an opportunity to view the unit before accepting it.

Applicants who accept an available unit will pay 30% of their gross income for rent and utility costs, as determined by the Housing Division. Tenants’ incomes are recertified annually, and rents are adjusted annually based on that recertification. Tenants enter into lease agreements directly with the property manager or owner. 

Existing Applicants

Once you are in the Rental Applicant Pool, it is important to notify the Housing Division if you have a change in residency, household size, emergency need status, mailing address, or other circumstance that may affect your eligibility based on unit size or preference group.
To update your application, please download, complete and return the Rental Application Update Form with copies of all required documentation to the Housing Division.  


For More Information

For more information about the Rental Applicant Pool or other affordable housing opportunities in Cambridge, please attend one of the housing information sessions. The schedule of upcoming sessions and links to register to attend via Zoom can be found here. You may also contact, or call 617/349-4622. 

equal Housing Opportunity Logo