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Credit checks not needed for NYC's affordable housing lottery

Changes to the application process are about "creating a fairer system for all," Mayor de Blasio says.

A new Department of Housing Preservation and


A new Department of Housing Preservation and Development policy gives applicants the option of providing 12 months of positive rent payment history instead of undergoing a credit check. Photo Credit: Rajvi Desai

The city announced Wednesday that it has made its affordable housing lottery application process less rigid. 

One of the new policies instituted by the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development gives applicants the option of providing 12 months of positive rent payment history instead of undergoing a credit check. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the credit checks were a hurdle for many families, and advocates have pointed to them as problematic for homeless households. 

"By allowing New Yorkers to submit rental history instead of credit checks, we are creating a fairer system for all New Yorkers," de Blasio said in a statement. 

The new rule will mean applicants to the affordable housing lottery will no longer have to submit Social Security numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification numbers for all of the adults in the household, as was required by the credit check system. City officials said those requirements discriminated against immigrants.

The city will no longer charge more than $20 per credit check, in accordance with the new state rent regulations. As a free alternative, applicants can now provide landlords with a copy of recent credit check reports. 

HPD has also changed the number of bedrooms certain households can qualify for. Previously, the agency assumed that couples shared a bedroom, but it will now allow them to apply for two-bedroom apartments or larger. 

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