Landlord FAQs

Partner Portal

Landlords may access this information via the CHA Partner Portal, available here: https://cha.partnerinhousing.com/. First time users can set up an account using your Tax ID information for the property receiving CHA assistance. If you have more than one Tax ID with CHA, please contact CHA to assist you in setting up your account.

Rent Increase

There are some exceptions to the 30-day notice  if the tenant is also in the process of completing their recertification and is delaying the process (i.e. missing appointments with CHA, not providing requested paperwork, etc.) then they may not be entitled to a 30-day notice of a rent increase.

The payment standard is the maximum subsidy CHA can pay on behalf of a family. Each year, CHA establishes payment standards based on the HUD-established Fair Market Rents (FMR) for the area. For units located in Cambridge, CHA uses the Cambridge payment standard. For units outside of Cambridge (but still within CHA’s area of operation) CHA uses Boston’s payment standards. For the current payment standards click HERE.

The payment standard is the maximum subsidy CHA can pay on behalf of a family. If the landlord (LL) requests a rent that is above the payment standard that CHA can approve then (1) The LL can either lower the requested amount so that it is within the payment standard. (2) The tenant has the option to pay more than 30% of their income (as long as it does not exceed 40% of their income, or otherwise approved by CHA). (3) The tenant can use their voucher to move to another unit.

The payment standard is only updated during an annual or biennial recertification. Even if the payment standards have changed, CHA will use the payment standard that was in effect at the participant’s last annual or biennial recertification when determining the rent amounts.

The utility allowance (UA) is allotted to the tenant based on what utilities they are responsible to pay. To see current UA’s click HERE.

Yes, the utilities are added to the total rent requested by the LL and together equals the total gross rent. For example, if a tenant is responsible to pay gas heat and they are allotted $80 from CHA for the heat and the LL requests $1690 for rent then the total gross rent for the apartment is $1770. If the payment standard is $1776 then the total contracted rent of $1770 would be within the payment standard.

This means the LL must write a letter that must include the tenant and LL/management companies name and address, the total rent requested, the tenant’s new portion, the date the increase is in effect and then both the LL and tenant must sign and date the letter. Then the letter must be submitted back to CHA at rentincreases@cambridge-housing.org

  • The Rent Increase Request form is available here: https://cambridge-housing.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=24391. The request must be submitted to CHA with a copy and/or notification to the tenant at least 60 days prior to the requested effective date of the rent increase.
  • Once CHA receives the request they will determine whether the requested rent is reasonable with respect to other units on the market. After review CHA will notify the LL of the outcome of their rent increase.
  • Landlords (LL) may request a rent increase once per year. The request must be submitted to CHA and a copy to the tenant at least.
  • The payment standard is the maximum subsidy CHA can pay on behalf of a family. Each year, CHA establishes payment standards based on the HUD-established Fair Market Rents (FMR) for the area. CHA’s current payment standards are listed here: https://cambridge-housing.org/iam/voucherholders/rates.asp. The payment standards are set according to zip code and the unit size or voucher size (whichever is lower).
  • If the landlord (LL) requests a rent that is above the payment standard that CHA can approve then: (1) The LL can either lower the requested amount so that it is within the payment standard; (2) The tenant has the option to pay more than 30% of their  income (as long as it does not exceed 40% of their income, or otherwise approved by CHA); or (3) The tenant can use their voucher to move to another unit.
  • The payment standard is only updated during an annual or biennial recertification. Even if the payment standards have changed, CHA will use the payment standard that was in effect at the participant’s last annual or biennial recertification when determining the rent amounts.
  • They need to put the request in writing to CHA at least 60 days in advance of the effective date.
  • CHA will review the request and notify both parties of the outcome.

Households in Project-Based units: the rent increase will not affect the tenant’s portion of the rent.

Households with Tenant-Based vouchers: the rent increase may affect your portion of the rent.

  • If the gross rent (total rent plus utilities) exceeds the payment standard then the tenant portion of the rent may increase
  • The CHA will require both the tenant and the owner to agree to the increase prior to approving and implementing.
  • If the gross rent (total rent plus utilities) does not exceed the payment standard then the tenant portion of the rent will not change, unless the household is also recertifying and there has been changes in household income.

Fair Market Rents (FMRs) are used to determine payment standard amounts for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Section 8 program. FMRs are established by HUD each year for each geographic area, and are set based on estimated rents in the region.

Tenant Moving

No the LL and tenant don’t need to go to CHA to sign the lease. They can sign the lease and then send it to CHA after the inspection has been passed.

HCV stands for a housing choice voucher, commonly known as ‘Section 8’. This is a housing subsidy from the federal government for low income families and individuals.

Once a tenant expresses interest in renting your apartment as the landlord (LL) if you are interested in renting to the potential tenant, the first thing to do is help the potential tenant fill out the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA). For help with how to complete the RFTA. Once the RFTA is completed and all required documents are attached then either the potential tenant or LL submits the packet to CHA.

  1. The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is guaranteed rent while in compliance with HCV requirements.
  2. Security Deposit – If the LL agrees in writing to accept a reduced security deposit not exceeding the higher of one month’s tenant portion of the rent or $200, CHA will pay the balance of the full contract rent for confirmed tenant damages. Owners must execute a document with the tenant describing the condition of the apartment at commencement of the lease. The written form to reduce the security deposit is in the RFTA packet.
  3. Vacancy payments – If the LL agrees in writing to waive the last month’s rent requirement, they may receive a vacancy payment of 80% of one month’s contract rent if tenant vacates without notice and without paying last month’s rent. This includes instances where the tenant has passed away. The written form to waive the last month’s rent in in the RFTA packet. If a LL requires the last month’s rent from the participant they may still access the vacancy payment of 80% of contract rent if they accept another CHA voucher participant. This would be paid regardless of whether the original tenant vacates early. The payment will be prorated if another tenant is leased within the month following the original tenant vacating.

When signing the lease some LL’s like to secure the first month’s rent. It is important to note that once the unit is inspected and then the lease is signed the tenant will only be responsible for their portion of the rent which is typically 30% of their gross income. CHA will pay the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). For example if a tenant’s portion of the rent is $100 and the HAP is $1600 then CHA will pay the $1600 for the first month and the tenant will only pay $100.

Some LL’s like to ask for last month’s rent. However CHA encourages landlords to complete a waiver for the potential vacancy payment. If the LL asks for the last month’s rent instead it is important to note that the LL will only receive the tenant’s portion at the beginning of the lease. Since CHA’s HAP is guaranteed while in compliance of the HCV program the HAP is sent on the last month of tenancy. For example if the tenant’s portion of the rent is $100 and the HAP is $1600 then the LL would only receive the $100 if they are asking for the last month’s rent up front and would receive the $1600 during the last month of tenancy from CHA.

A lease shouldn’t be signed until the RFTA is approved by CHA and the unit has passed its initial inspection.

The LL should use their own lease with their lease violations for the tenant. An example (not an official CHA document) lease can be found at the Massachusetts Standard Lease. It is important to know that the first lease must be at least 12 months. If desired after the initial 12 months the lease can go month to month.

This is for the LL to receive their rent faster and gives a way of the LL to track any payments made to them.

The first rent check will be a live check mailed to the LL because the bank needs to verify the direct deposit before it can start. Typically within 30 days the direct deposit is processed and the LL’s should start to receive their direct deposit.

An insurance binder is a required document that must be submitted with the RFTA. The insurance binder is a one page document that shows the unit being rented by the potential tenant is insured. In other words proof of insurance.

The mutual agreement to terminate a lease is the tenant’s responsibility. This only applies if the potential tenant was previously in another apartment and would be signed between the previous landlord and the potential tenant.

Yes, all units must be inspected before a lease is signed. If the unit is in the City of Cambridge the unit must be inspected by the Board of Heath (BOH). All other towns must be inspected by McCright and Associates.

The City of Cambridge Inspectional Department at 617-349-6100.

Units only need to be de-leaded if the potential tenant has children who are 5 years old and younger. If everyone is over 6 years old then no de-leading is needed.

This should be handled as the LL would handle any tenant not paying their rent. The LL should note it as a lease violation. The LL can also contact a legal services department to receive guidance on how this process works.

All people who get leased up are assigned a Leasing Officer at CHA. To find out who the Leasing Officer is you can call the main number at CHA 617-864-3020 and ask OR visit the Landlord Portal and view the My Families tab.

Unit Inspection (HQS)

The LL will only receive a 24 hour time frame to fix things that are considered critical if the issue creates an immediate life threatening circumstance. For example, the fire alarm not working or there being no heat in winter.

An extension request can be submitted to CHA if there is good cause for the delay in fixing the cited issues in the apartment. For example, if it is a historical building and a window needs to be replaced but the historical department has delayed the approval process then the LL could submit a written request (which is sent with the failed notice of inspection) to extend the timeframe the repairs need to be completed by. This notice must be received by CHA at least ten days in advance of the date the repairs are due. If repairs are not made then the housing assistance payment (HAP) rent can be withheld or the tenant can be terminated pending who is responsible for the repairs.

Yes, either the LL or 18+ year old tenant must be present for the inspector.

Both parties would be notified in writing of the failed inspection and why the apartment failed. The LL or tenant would make the repairs listed by the inspector based on who is the responsible party. Once the repairs are complete the responsible party would call McCright and Associates to come back for a second inspection. McCright and Associates’s contact information can be found on the failed inspection notice.

HQS means housing quality standards which are set by the federal government entity HUD.

Inspections are required by HUD to ensure minimum housing quality standards are met. Although, HUD states that hopefully each apartment will surpass the HQS standards. The inspections could happen at four different times, the initial inspection, a special inspection, a biennial inspection, and a quality control inspection.

  1. Initial inspection is the required first inspection in order to lease a HCV/PBA tenant.
  2. Special Inspection is an inspection that would occur at the request of the Landlord (LL) or tenant. For example if the LL believes that the tenant has caused damage beyond the normal wear and tear or the tenant utilities are shut off for non-payment then the LL can request an interim inspection.
  3. Biennial Inspections happen every other year as is required by HUD.
  4. Quality Control (QC) inspections occur to verify the inspection company is accurately inspecting apartments.

Click here to see the different classifications of housing.

Tenant based vouchers, upon notice the LL should contact CHA’s leasing officer assigned to the tenant. If the LL is unsure of who the leasing officer is they can call the main number at 617-864-3020 and ask or visit the Landlord Portal and go to the my families tab. Project based units should have the unit inspected even if it’s a vacant unit.

HQS inspections are required by HUD to ensure minimum housing quality standards are met in units subsidized under HUD voucher programs. There are several different types of inspections:

  • The “initial inspection” must occur and pass before CHA can approve a tenant for move-in and enter into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract with an owner.
  • A “special Inspection” or “complaint inspection” is an inspection that would occur at the request of the Landlord (LL) or tenant.
  • “Annual or biennial inspections” are required to be completed and pass every year or every other year, depending on what program the subsidized tenant is in.
  • “Quality Control (QC) inspections” occur to verify the inspection company is accurately inspecting apartments. A random selection of units/inspections are chosen each month to be re-inspected by a QC inspector.

McCright and Associates is a third-party inspection company that CHA currently contracts with to complete HQS inspections on CHA’s behalf.

  • Generally, the landlord and tenant are both notified of the inspection via mail 30 days in advance of the inspection (for regular annual/biennial inspections). Additionally, a call will be placed to the phone number of file the day before the inspection to provide a time window for the inspection.
  • For initial inspections, McCright and Associates will reach out to the landlord via phone (generally within 48 hours of submission of a complete leasing packet to CHA) to schedule the inspection. Additionally, a call will be placed to the phone number of file the day before the inspection to provide a time window for the inspection.

The LL needs to help the tenant fill out the RFTA (request for tenancy approval) and then prepare the apartment. Ensure the utilities are on for the inspection. Once prepared for the inspection, ensure access to the apartment for the inspector. Once the apartment has passed inspection the LL and tenant can sign a lease and submit to CHA.

To see further guidance on preparing for the inspection/what the inspector looks for, click here.

Legal FAQs

Public Housing

You have the right to request a grievance hearing. You can ask your property manager for a grievance request form or by contacting the legal department at 617-520-6242. In the request, you should explain in detail the reason for your request. 

Please contact your Property Manager to discuss the notice received. A Notice to Quit relates to unpaid rent, while a Notice Terminating Tenancy relates to a violation of the Lease other than non-payment.

No. All payments made by residents must be mailed in the provided envelope to CHA’s lock box together with the payment coupon from your monthly statement.  

You can call the legal department at 617-520-6242 or email Sandra Figueira (sfigueira@cambridge-housing.org) to request a file review.   Typically file reviews would be done in person at the main office.  During this pandemic, however, we will do our best to make files available electronically.   

No, you cannot be evicted without a court order. The CHA will need to start an eviction process and bring you to court.  You have a right a court hearing and cannot be evicted until a court allows the CHA to do so by issuing an Execution (court order to move out).

CHA does not provide legal services to residents. For legal counsel, you may wish to contact Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services at (617) 603-2700, De Novo at (617) 661-1010, or the Tenant Advocacy Project at (617) 495-4394. You may also want to contact the Alliance for Cambridge Tenants at (617) 499-7031.   For a list of agencies and resources please see:  https://www.cambridgema.gov/cpl/eLibrary/legalresources 

Reasonable Accommodations

Yes! You are still able to submit a Reasonable Accommodation request by phone, mail, fax and email.  You may send your requests for reasonable accommodation to your property manager directly, or to Rashida Jolly, Senior Program Manager for Customer Service and Compliance: 

Mail to: 362 Green Street, 3rd Floor, Cambridge, MA  02139  Email to:  rjolly@cambridge-housing.org  Fax to:  (617) 902-2422  Call:  617-405-5513 

No. You don’t have to use the form.  You could make your request verbally  (by phone) or in writing (email, letter).  We will also accept a letter from your service provider (doctor, therapist, psychologist, case worker, social worker, etc.). Please be sure to list your full name and contact information as part of your email or be sure it is listed on the letter that you turn in. 

You would turn in this documentation to:

Mail to: 362 Green Street, 3rd Floor, Cambridge, MA  02139  Email to:  rjolly@cambridge-housing.org  Fax to:  (617) 902-2422  Call:  617-405-5513 

A decision will be made 10 business days after the necessary information has been received to evaluate your request. During this pandemic, it may take service providers a little longer to provide the information necessary to evaluate your request.  However, as soon as all information is received, you  will receive a letter from us regarding our decision once it has been finalized. Please note that if you can communicate with us via email, we will send our decision to you electronically. If you need a hard copy to be mailed to you, we can do so upon request with the understanding that it may take a few extra days to get the decision to you via mail. 

Yes. While we would prefer that communication during this pandemic be received via email, you can also call Rashida Jolly at 617-405-5513 and leave a message. We will return your call as soon as possible. 

General FAQs

Housing Eligibility

The MTW Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, commonly referred to as the Section 8 program, provides eligible households a housing subsidy that allows them to rent privately-owned market rate apartments. Typically, voucher holders pay 30% of their income toward their rent, and CHA pays the rest up to a cap called the payment standard.

Minimum requirements for eligibility include:

  • Household Income does not exceed 50% Area Median Income and,
  • Applicants or household meet the definition of Family or Elderly and/or Disabled.

SRO Program Eligibility and Information

The Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Program is shared housing with other SRO participants.  SRO’s are single rooms for one person with a lock and key.  In most SRO developments, tenants share kitchens and bathrooms.  Some developments offer highly independent living, while others are supervised.

Minimum requirements for eligibility include:

  • Household Income does not exceed 50% Area Median Income and,
  • Admission to some SRO units may be limited to homeless individuals, and require adequate evidence of their current housing situation.

SRO Program Eligibility and Information

Elderly/Disabled Housing (formerly Elderly/Disabled Public Housing) is housing in properties in Cambridge that are owned and managed by CHA and are designated for elders and those with disabilities. An elderly person is an individual who is at least 58 years old. A disabled person is a person with a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. Disability does not include current use or current addiction to illegal drugs. Minimum requirements for eligibility include:

  • Household Income does not exceed 80% Area Median Income and,
  • Applicants or household meet the definition of Elderly and/or Disabled (the applicant must be at least 58 years old, or have a disability and be at least 18 or an emancipated minor).

Elderly Housing Program Eligibility, Information, and Fact Sheets

Family Housing (formerly Family Public Housing) is housing in properties in Cambridge that are owned and managed by CHA and designated for single persons or families. There are over thirty federally-supported family properties throughout the city of Cambridge.

Minimum requirements for eligibility include:

  • Household Income does not exceed 80% Area Median Income and,
  • The applicant or head of household must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor.

Family Housing Program Eligibility, Information, and Fact Sheets

Human Resources

You may contact us by phone at

and following the prompts for Human Resources.

CHA offers competitive benefits to full-time, regular employees including a pension program, health insurance, dental insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Tuition Reimbursement program, corporate MBTA pass discounts, and 457(b) SMART Plan deferred compensation accounts, as well as paid vacation, sick and personal time. View all our employee benefits here .

Yes. We currently offer two types of part-time positions, Casual Laborer, and Tenant Coordinator.

After you submit your application online, your application will be reviewed by the hiring manager or their designee. This can take up to several weeks depending on the hiring needs of the department. Once reviewed, you may be invited to a screening interview with a member of the hiring committee. You can always check the status of your application online on our jobs website .

Applying to a position is easily available through the CHA website on our Job Openings page  to view openings. Go to bottom of page and select “View our Job Listings” to apply.


Cambridge Housing Authority’s (CHA) Family and Elderly Housing Program consists of apartment complexes (also known as developments) and individual apartments in which the subsidy is property-based (attached to the apartment, and not mobile (attached to the tenant). Within the Family and Elderly Housing Program, there are different types of sub-programs, with slightly different rules, with the biggest difference being the income eligibility requirement for admission into the respective programs. In order to be admitted into a particular program, the applicant household must not exceed the maximum income limit for that housing program.

A dispute between a resident and management should first be brought to the attention of a District Manager. If the matter can still not be settled, all residents of CHA managed buildings have a right to file a file a grievance through the Legal Department. To do so, you may file a “Request for Hearing” form which can be obtained through the CHA website, at the management office, or at the CHA Central Office (front desk). More information regarding grievances may be found in the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy or Administrative Plan.

Rent statements are mailed at the beginning of every month. If you did not receive a rent statement, please obtain one through your management office.

When your name is near the top of a SBWL, and an appropriately sized apartment from that SBWL will become available soon, you will be contacted by the Operations Tenant Selection staff at that CHA central office to come in for a screening appointment. It will be important that you promptly provide all the requested documentation required for the screening process. If you fail to attend your scheduled screening without good cause and do not contact the CHA prior to the scheduled screening appointment, the CHA will withdraw your application from all SBWLs.

Please take note of the average wait time in the charts below. This will give you an idea of how long you will most likely be required to wait before your name reaches near the top of the particular SBWL. Please consider this when making your selections.

After submitting a pre-application online, you may apply to additional site-based wait lists SBWLs by submitting a new pre-application online. Each pre-application you submit receives a new date and time of application for the additional SBWLs you have chosen. Generally, the date and time of your previous pre-application for other waitlists will not change.

You may remove your name from a SBWL at any time by submitting your request in writing to the CHA’s Operations Department.

Generally, pre-applications are processed by CHA within 30 days of confirmation.

  • Applicants should wait 30 days from the time of submission of a pre-application to make changes.
  • Notify CHA of any changes in your information. Once you have submitted a pre-application, it is your responsibility to notify CHA of any changes in your household composition, contact information, income and/or selection preferences, by logging in to the applicant portal at cha.applicants4housing.com and updating your information.
  • Make sure that you can and will receive mail at any address that you have provided to CHA to use as your mailing address.
  • Correspondence that is returned to CHA marked as “unknown,” “return to sender,” “forwarding address unknown,” or “no such address” will result in an applicant’s removal from all CHA waitlists.
  • For more information on the waitlist policies (including preferences) see Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Administrative Plan for RAD Developments at program at www.cambridge-housing.org under the section “About the CHA.”

Some changes in household composition may affect your original date and time of application.

  • If you have a change in household composition, due to birth, adoption, court ordered permanent custody or marriage; divorce, death, or other decrease in family size; or the addition of a live-in aide and your existing development choices do not have the appropriate bedroom size for your new household composition, CHA will allow you to make new development selections for any open SBWL and retain your original date and time of application.
  • A new date and time of application will be applied to any new wait list selections for all other changes in household composition.

Under CHA’s Family and Elderly Housing programs, you select the site-based wait list (SBWL) only for the properties where you are willing to reside. Individuals and families who are screened and found eligible for one of our Family and Elderly Housing programs will be offered an apartment at the relevant property when one becomes available. Refusal of the offer without good cause results in the household’s removal from all Family and Elderly Housing SBWLs. That is why it is important that you select only the properties where you know you want to live.

  • Select SBWL(s) for which you fall below the maximum income limit for admission. (See Maximum Income Limit chart on page 2.)
  • Select SBWL(s) for properties that have apartments with the number of bedrooms that your household needs. (See chart on apartment size requirements on page 3.)
  • Select SBWL(s) with properties in areas of the city where you are willing to live.
  • If you select a SBWL for “elderly/disabled only,” it means that the head of household, co-head or spouse must be at least 58 years of age or have a disability. (Disability status must be verified at the time of screening.)
  • You should take a look at the fact sheets for the waitlists before making your selection(s). The fact sheets will provide more detailed information about the properties.

Applicants can claim one or more of the following preferences on their pre-application (to be verified at the time of screening). Applicants with a preference have priority on the waitlists over applicants without a preference. All of the preferences listed below carry equal weight and are not ranked or combined to give certain applicants more priority points or a “higher” preference.

  • Cambridge Resident – The applicant is a permanent resident of Cambridge (this includes Congregate Housing and Single Room Occupancy [SRO] located in Cambridge) on the date that he/she submitted a preliminary application, the date of screening, and the date of final certification. If the applicant is temporarily living with relatives in Cambridge, or living in a shelter, in or outside of Cambridge, and the applicant’s last permanent resident was in Cambridge, the applicant is considered a resident of Cambridge.
  • Cambridge Shelter or Transitional Facility – The applicant is living in a Cambridge shelter or transitional facility or was living in a Cambridge shelter or transitional facility and was relocated by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) or other service provider to a facility outside of Cambridge.
  • Employment in Cambridge – The applicant is not a resident of Cambridge; however, the applicant or household member is employed or about to be employed in Cambridge on the date of application, the date of screening, and the date of final certification.
  • Veteran’s Status – The applicant is an honorably discharged individual that performed wartime service or the spouse, surviving spouse, parent or other dependent of an honorably discharged veteran.

If you want your name placed on any of Cambridge Housing Authority’s (CHA) waitlists, complete the pre- application on our Info for Applicants page. If you fail to complete the online pre-application correctly, your name will NOT be placed on any of the waitlists. You will receive a confirmation number when you have successfully submitted your pre-application.

To be eligible for an apartment offer your income may not exceed the following amounts based on household size. For example, if you apply for a property within the New Construction (NC) program and your household consists of 3 persons (including adults and children), and your total household income is greater than $53,350 your household will NOT be eligible.

The chart below shows the maximum income allowable for each household size in order to be admitted into the specified housing program. Some housing programs are currently in transition and income limits will be subject to changes as housing programs undergo conversion.

Maximum Income Limits by Household Size

Program1 Person2 Persons3 Persons4 Persons5 Persons6 Persons7 Persons8 Persons
NC 50% AMI$41,500$47,400$53,350$59,250$64,000$68,750$73,500$78,250
100% LIHTC 60 % AMI$49,800$56,880$64,020$71,100$76,800$82,500$88,200$93,900
<100% LIHTC 60 & 80% AMI$49,800 & $62,450$56,880 & $71,400$64,020 & $80,300$71,100 & $89,200$76,800 & $96,350$82,500 & $103,500$88,200 & $110,650$93,900 & $117,750
PH, FPLI & RAD/ NON-LIHTC 80% AMI  $62,450  $71,400  $80,300  $89,200  $96,350  $103,500  $110,650  $117,750

Important Note: These income limits are subject to change annually during the first quarter of each year.

In addition to the income limits, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants cannot be a single full-time student under the age of 24 without dependents, (veterans and persons with disabilities are exempt from this requirement).
  • There must be at least one member of the household who is either a U.S. citizen or has eligible immigration status.
  • For more information on eligibility see Chapter 3 Section A of the Administrative Plan Part 2 for the RAD Developments at www.cambridge-housing.org under the section “About the CHA.”

Planning & Development

The following “near term” projects are currently in the Design Phase

  • Rehabilitation of Truman Apartments
  • Rehabilitation of Putnam School
  • Rehabilitation of Special Needs Housing (Chapter 689 Properties)
  • Jefferson Park Federal Revitalization

The following “longer term projects” are presently in the planning stages:

  • Renovations of 116 Norfolk Street
  • 155 Willow Street (New Construction)
  • Renovation of the “Mid Rise” building at Roosevelt Towers
  • Potential new construction at Millers River
  • Revitalization of Corcoran Park
  • Modernization of Weaver Apartments
  • Modernization of Linnaean Street

Resident information and participation is at the forefront of all of the work going on at CHA. If the building where you live is currently or will be under construction soon, Project Managers are always available to answer questions you may have about renovation work going on at your building. P&D staff provide updates on design and construction activities through newsletters and resident meetings. Even during this unprecedented time P&D staff will continue to facilitate resident participation and ensure that is part of design and construction activities at your building.

Completed Construction

  • Modernization of St. Paul’s Residence ($5.5M project, completed October 2020)
  • Modernization of Garfield Street Apartments ($2.5M project, completed February 2020)
  • Modernization of Russell Apartments ($14M project, completed March 2019)
  • Revitalization of Manning Apartments ($66M project, completed October 2018)
  • Comprehensive Modernization of Putnam Gardens ($25M project, completed)
  • Comprehensive Modernization of Newtowne Court ($48M project, completed December 2017)

Construction “In Progress”

  • $110M Revitalization of Millers River Apartments (work in progress)
  • $68M Burns Apartments Revitalization (work in progress)
  • $33M Roosevelt Towers Low Rise Modernization (work in progress)
  • $12M Comprehensive Modernization of 78-80 Porter Road (work in progress)

The scope of work of these projects varies but includes interior renovation, building system and envelope upgrades, accessibility and site improvements. All of the projects listed above have required some level of relocation for resident safety and to expedite the completion of the work at each site.

The work highlighted above represents a total of approximately $235 million in improvements.

There are approximately 20 staff working in CHA’s Planning and Development Department

The Planning & Development Department (P&D) secures capital funding from a variety of different state, federal, local and private sources for both the revitalization of our housing portfolio (approximately 2,900 hard units in the City of Cambridge) as well as for the development of new affordable housing opportunities. In 2020, P+D will be responsible for more than $90 million in overall on-going capital improvements, with an emphasis on long-term durability, livability, energy efficiency and high-quality construction. P&D will also be continuing CHA’s conversion process for the remainder of its federal public housing properties.

Rental Assistance Demonstration

No resident will lose their home because of RAD conversion.  Residents are guaranteed that they will not be displaced because of RAD. Some households will be relocated temporarily to complete major construction work at some sites. Each proposed construction project requires a detailed resident participation process including a resident relocation plan that spells out every detail of these temporary moves, including CHA’s responsibilities to each household and a guarantee of return to the property upon completion of work. As of April 15, 2015, relocation is underway at Putnam Gardens, Newtowne Court and Manning Apartments.

As of January 1, 2015, CHA has stopped accepting new applicants to its Family and Elderly/Disabled waitlists. Because of the  revitalization and modernization work which is ongoing throughout CHA’s portfolio, several sites will require households to move out temporarily while the properties undergo renovation. In order to provide apartments for temporary relocation, CHA will need to hold vacant units. On April 23, 2015 a letter was sent to all active public housing applicants (Family Public Housing and Elderly/Disabled Public Housing) to inform them of the extended wait times projected to complete RAD construction.

CHA is committed to keeping the same operational rules, rent structure and tenant rights that are in place now. Residents should feel very little day-to-day impact in how CHA manages its properties.

As of November 1, residents signed a new lease, preserving current tenant rights and protections after the RAD conversion. CHA’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy and Administrative Plan will also be retained and are being updated to reflect any needed adjustments under RAD conversion. In addition, CHA will have a RAD use agreement, long-term ground leases, deed restrictions and other recorded restrictions to ensure stability and to keep these properties affordable for generations to come.

On conversion, some properties will become tax-credit properties. When Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) are used to finance major construction at a site, the property becomes subject to LIHTC rules, which include additional income certifications and inspections.

The switch from the public housing to the RAD Section 8 Project-Based subsidy program will allow CHA to tap resources that don’t exist, or would not work in traditional public housing. CHA’s MTW flexibility combined with RAD attracts significant private funding, the ability to take on mortgages and the use of tax credits. With this boost of private funds, CHA plans to renovate and restore the majority of its properties, some of which have been in long disrepair, keeping them viable and most importantly affordable.

The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) is a HUD demonstration program that combines public housing operating and capital subsidy into payments under a RAD Section 8 Project-Based Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract. CHA has used its flexibility under the Moving to Work Demonstration Program to make the conversion feasible.

Applicant & Resident FAQs


The application for and information about all of CHA’s currently open waitlists is available online on our Waitlist Application Information page. To apply, scroll down and click the “Application for CHA Housing Programs” button.

  • Applicants can log into the Applicant Portal (different from the online application) to check their status on waitlists they have applied to: https://cha.applicants4housing.com/Public/Login/Login.aspx. First time users will need to “create an account” to get started.
  • Applicants may also call the Informational Switchboard/Wait List line at 617-499-7041. For quicker/self-service applicants are encouraged to set up a portal account to check their status.

CHA has different income limits for different programs. Generally, your total household gross income must be below a certain amount, according to your family size, in order to qualify for assistance. Income limits are set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are updated annually. Information about the income limits for each program are available on the Information for Applicants page.

The City of Cambridge Community Development Department (CDD) administers the Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Rental Housing Program. Inclusionary rental units are located throughout the City in developments that are privately owned and managed. CDD maintains this pool of applicants to assist owners in making units available to eligible households. These units are not owned or managed by CHA or by the City. CDD’s IZ program is separate from CHA assistance and uses a different waitlist and preference criteria. However, you may use your CHA voucher in one of the IZ units if you are offered a unit through the IZ program. The application process for CDD’s program is separate from CHA’s waitlist. You can find more information on CDD’s website at: https://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/housing/forapplicants/rentalapplicantpool

CHA’s waitlists are ordered by date and time as well as by eligible “preference.” CHA provides additional preference/priority on the waitlist for applicants who live or work in Cambridge, or are a veteran, and other specific emergency criteria.

  • If you are a non-preference applicant then your number will likely change as applicants with a preference continue to apply, as they will be placed ahead of you on the waitlist.
  • If you are a preference applicant, such as a Cambridge resident, there may be applicants with a higher preference than yours. Such as emergency applicants, current participants with an approved Reasonable Accommodation, Overhoused/Accessibility transfers, or other priority transfers.
  • As applicants near the top of their respective waitlist, they may notice their status change from “waiting” to “referred to owner.” This means that the owner has notified CHA of a current or anticipated vacancy and will begin to screen applicants off of CHA’s waitlist. CHA has sent the owner a list of names with applicant contact info and the owner will reach out via mail to schedule you for a screening. However, even if your status is “referred to owner” there still may be a substantial wait time.
  • Example: the owner has 2 vacancies and CHA sends the owner the top 10 names on the list. The owner reaches out to the 10 applicants and conducts screening. You are #8 on the list. If any of the 7 applicants before you on the list are eligible and accept the unit then they will be placed before you since they have a higher number. The owner will reach out to you again once there is another vacancy and you are next in line.

There are a number of different reasons that your waitlist status may be “Removed.”

  • Generally, once you are issued a voucher or lease in a unit you are removed from all other CHA waitlists. In this case, your status may show as “Removed” or “Admitted to Program.” The exception to this is if you lease in an SRO unit – in which case you will be removed from the SRO waitlist only, but will maintain your position on all other CHA waitlists that you are on.
  • If your status shows “Removed-No Response” or “Removed-PO Returned” this means that either CHA sent out an interest letter and you did not respond to the mailing by the deadline, or CHA sent out an interest letter and it was returned to us by the post-office and/or was undeliverable. You may have moved and not updated your address with CHA or notified the post office of your new address. In cases where CHA has removed an applicant from the list for failure to respond, CHA will reopen the application if contacted within six months of the removal.

The Single Room Occupancy (SRO) program provides housing for individuals in congregate living, typically with shared common spaces. Some units are assisted with federal subsidies and others are assisted with state subsidies

Moves & Transfers

  • Your ability to move may depend on the type of assistance you have (i.e. tenant-based or project-based voucher).
  • For voucher holders, contact your Leasing Officer to set up a move appointment. They need to determine if you are eligible to move and may need to update your income and other information.
  • For current CHA residents living at one of our sites, contact your property management office about a transfer to obtain the official Transfer Request Form or click below to download or view it now: