PHDC’s Rental Improvement Fund provides forgivable and 0% loans to help small landlords pay for repairs to maintain affordable rental units

PHILADELPHIA — August 23, 2023 — PHDC announces the Rental Improvement Fund (RIF). This program offers eligible landlords citywide forgivable and 0% interest loans to cover the cost of much-needed repairs and maintenance in exchange for rent stability.

PHDC recruited landlords who had previously worked with other PHDC programs and services to participate in a small RIF pilot. After months of testing the loan products with this initial group of landlords, PHDC is ready to launch RIF to small landlords across Philadelphia.

“With the help of the Rental Improvement Fund, landlords across the city will finally be able to give their buildings the necessary updates needed to assure a comfortable living space for residents,” said David Thomas, CEO of PHDC.

RIF loans can be used for repairs and upgrades such as roofs, windows and doors; asbestos, mold and lead remediation; and electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling improvements.

RIF is partially funded by the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative and Whole Home Repair Fund.

“Thanks to the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative and Whole Home Repair funding, this program will help many landlords across the city provide affordable and safe units to rent,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.

“This funding will improve rental units around Philadelphia without passing that cost to renters,” said State Senator Vincent Hughes. “We need to make sure rentals in Philadelphia are safe and in good condition, but also affordable. Tenants should not be expected to pay a premium to have a nice, well-maintained place to live. With Whole Home Repair funds that Democrats fought hard for in Harrisburg, this program will enable landlords to provide comfortable spaces for renters to live while keeping the cost of rent stable.”

RIF offers two types of loans, 10-year forgivable loans up to $24,999 and 15-year 0% interest loans up to $50,000. To qualify landlords must:

  • Own no more than five rental properties and no more than 15 rental units
  • Have a rental license and property insurance, unless the loan will be used to address repair issues that currently prevent the property from getting a license and/or insurance
  • Be current or in a payment agreement for city taxes and able to produce a tax compliance certificate

“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe, healthy, and affordable, regardless of whether that home is owned or rented,” said State Senator Nikil Saval. “When our small landlords are forced to sell their properties or to forgo repairs, the loss of this housing is experienced across the city, and the repercussions are irreversible. When we create the means to shore up our small landlords, properties are preserved, communities are stabilized, and residents can stay in their homes. I’m incredibly proud for dollars from the Whole-Home Repairs fund to support this important initiative.”

“Through the Rental Improvement Fund, we are pushing back against the affordable housing crisis by keeping our existing stock online,” Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District) said. “As construction costs continue to soar, I am proud to invest in community-minded landlords that provide working class and low-income residents with the high quality, safe, and stable housing they need to thrive and survive.”

Any L&I violations issued during the loan term must be corrected within six months and landlords must maintain a valid rental license and property insurance. Landlords qualify for loan forgiveness or the preferable 0% interest rate by capping annual rent increases at no more than 3% during the loan term.

“The Rental Improvement Fund has helped me so much”, said a participating Philadelphia Landlord. “It feels good to provide a newly renovated, safe and comfortable home that my tenants can afford and enjoy without putting me in overwhelming debt.”

For more information, please visit landlords/rental-improvement-fund/

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