For federal public housing, all tenants are given the option of paying either an income-based rent or a flat rent. The flat rent is recomputed periodically by Boston Housing Authority (BHA). The flat rent is set based on the cost of renting an apartment on the private market. The flat rent amount is a percentage of what a private market unit would cost. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that the flat rent cannot be less than 80% of HUD’s established Fair Market Rent for the appropriate bedroom size.
Flat rents are set separately for mixed finance developments. It usually makes sense for a tenant to pick a flat rent if it would be a lower rent than the income-based rent. Tenants paying flat rents do not have to recertify income every year, but only once every 3 years. A tenant paying a flat rent can request at any time to switch to an income-based rent. You can ask the manager at any time to determine if the income-based rent would be lower than the determined flat rate amount.