Rental Pool FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about the Rental Applicant Pool. If you do not see your question below, or if you would like additional information about the Rental Applicant Pool, please contact or call 617/349-4622.

How do I apply to the Rental Applicant Pool?

To apply, complete a Preliminary Application and submit it, along with all required documentation, to the Community Development Department at 344 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02139 Attn: Housing Division. To print the Preliminary Application and Guidelines for the Rental Applicant Pool click here , or you may pick up an application at CDD during regular business hours.

You may also attend a Housing Information Session to pick up a Preliminary Application and ask additional questions.  For a schedule of current sessions, click here.  Or call the Housing Information Line at 617/349-4622 and request to have a Preliminary Application mailed to you.

Do I have to be a Cambridge resident to apply to the Rental Applicant Pool?

No, you do not have to be a Cambridge resident to apply to the Rental Applicant Pool, but Cambridge residents do receive preference.

What are the Rental Applicant Pool income and asset eligibility requirements?

Households must have an income of at least 50% but not more than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

For current income limits, click here

Applicants with mobile rental vouchers are not subject to the minimum income requirement. Household assets may not exceed $75,000.  Assets in restricted retirement accounts will be considered at 60% of current value. Households in which all members are 62 or over, or where all members are disabled, may be eligible for a higher asset limit up to $150,000.

I have a Section 8 voucher. Can I apply to the Rental Applicant Pool?

Yes, applicants with vouchers may apply and are not subject to minimum income requirements. All other program requirements apply.

How do you determine what size unit I am eligible for?

City occupancy standards require that children of the same sex who are less than ten years apart in age share a bedroom. Children of the opposite sex may have separate bedrooms. You can choose to underhouse yourself by stating on your application that you would like to be considered for smaller units as well.

I am pregnant. Can I include my unborn child in my household?

The child will be included in your household size if the birth is estimated within three months as documented by a medical professional. However, you can apply prior to that time and change your household size at a later date. Your application will be moved into the appropriate unit size group at that time.

What happens if my household size, residency, or emergency need status changes while I am in the Rental Applicant Pool?

You must inform us in writing of the change.  To update your application, please download, complete and return the Application Update Form with copies of all required documentation to the Housing Division. 

If the change affects your eligibility based on unit size or preference group, your application will be placed in the appropriate new group based on the date the application was received. This may result in either higher or lower placement than in the previous preference group.

Where are Inclusionary units located?

Inclusionary units are located throughout the city in developments that are privately owned and managed. These units are made available to income-eligible applicants who apply through the Rental Applicant Pool.

How much is the rent?

The rent for a unit depends on the tenant. Tenants in the Inclusionary Rental Program pay 30% of their gross income for rent and utilities. Income is recertified on an annual basis and rents are recalculated accordingly.

Is a security deposit required?

It depends. Each development is privately owned and managed, with varying policies on rental deposits.

Do tenants sign a lease with the City?

No, tenants sign a 12-month lease with the building’s private owner or manager. Tenants in affordable units also sign a lease addendum for the Inclusionary units. Tenants with housing vouchers will sign the documents provided by their subsidizing agency.

Is parking provided?

Most buildings provide parking with or without fee. If a fee is required, the City will calculate an affordable parking fee for the space.

I want to be considered for both rental and ownership. Do I need to put in multiple applications?

Yes. Applicants interested in the City’s homeownership programs must fill out applications for those programs.

For information on the Homeownership Resale Pool, click here.

To download the application and guidelines for the Homeownership Resale Pool, click here.

Where else can I apply for rental housing?

There are other affordable rental housing providers in the City of Cambridge. For a list of other housing providers, please click here.