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SMART Housing


What is SMART Housing?

The S.M.A.R.T. (Safe, Mixed-income, Accessible, Reasonably-priced, Transit-oriented) Housing Policy Initiative is an economic development program designed to stimulate construction of housing for low and moderate income residents in the Austin area. These multi-unit construction projects must meet the City’s Green Building standards and follow city-implemented rent controls, based on the medium income of the surrounding neighborhood. In exchange, the City of Austin provides apartment complexes with monetary compensation. This means reduced rent for qualifying residents.

The SMART Housing Policy is long and complicated (42 pages to be exact). We have refined it down to the main key points for your convenience. When you are ready to look at West Campus apartments or other properties in Austin that offer SMART Housing, give us a click or call!

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How do I Qualify?

There are two main ways to qualify for SMART Housing. If you are on need-based financial aid, you automatically qualify. Otherwise, you will need to prove that your income is below a certain median income for the area in which the particular property is located.

How do I Qualify through Financial Aid?

If you are currently receiving need-based financial aid, you may automatically qualify. You would need to look at your current Financial Aid Award Letter for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014, then compare your grants/scholarships/loans to the approved need-based Financial Aid list. If you have any items that appear on the list, no matter the amount, then you automatically qualify for S.M.A.R.T. Housing.

How do I Qualify through Income Verification?

If you're a student at the University of Texas at Austin and do not currently receive need-based financial aid, you must qualify for SMART Housing through income verification. This method of qualification is a bit complicated, so we recommend contacting one of our leasing agents. If your parents are your only source of income, you will not be approved. Please be prepared to provide your W2 or last 3 pay stubs.

Which Apartments Offer SMART Housing?

Only a limited number of West campus apartments and other complexes around Austin offer SMART Housing. This is because the City of Austin only grants this program to builders that comply with their construction guidelines. In addition, SMART Housing availability changes on a regular basis, making it tough to figure out the best SMART Housing deal. We recommend contacting one of our leasing agents to find the current availability.

How Many Units are Typically SMART Housing?

Typically, apartment complexes designate anywhere between 5%-40% of their units for the program. In a market where a lot of tenants qualify based on financial aid, it is vital you begin looking for your SMART Housing rental unit as soon as possible. These are generally the first units to lease every year.

Are SMART Housing Units Lower Quality?

There is a common misconception that SMART Housing units are not as nice as non-qualifying units, because they are less expensive. This is not true. They are just as nice or more so than their non-qualifying counterparts. Due to City of Austin mandates, these units must meet strict construction standards.