housing terminology

  • accessory dwelling unit (ADU)

    A secondary and typically smaller dwelling unit built on a parcel with a primary dwelling unit. These are sometimes referred to as “mother-in-law” apartments.


  • adjusted gross income (AGI)

    Gross income minus adjustments to income.

  • affordable housing

    Federal and State policies consider housing to be affordable when housing costs consume no more than 30 percent of gross annual household income; this standard particularly applies to households earning less than 80 percent of Area Median Income. Rental housing costs include rent, water, gas, and electric payments. Ownership housing costs include mortgage, taxes, insurance, water, sewer, gas, electric payments and homeowner association fees. Some federal policies consider housing to be affordable when the gross household income remaining after all housing costs are paid is sufficient to cover other essential expenditures such as food, clothing, healthcare, transportation, and childcare. This alternative definition of affordable housing is referred to as residual income.


  • affordability gap

    A term that generally refers to the difference between the average sales price for a typical single family home and the amount that a household could afford to pay for that home without spending more than thirty percent of gross annual household income on total housing costs. This figure is typically computed for households earning the Area Median Income.


  • Area median income (AMI) or Area median Family income (MFI)

    The income level of households in a community where half the households of the same size earn more than the AMI and half earn less than the AMI. Each year the federal government designates the AMI for a community for households of 1-8 people. Many affordable housing programs use AMI to determine household eligibility. In 2016, the AMI for a household of four in Grand County was $64,300 per year (HUD).


  • assured housing (Also, Inclusionary Zoning or Fair-Share Housing)

    A set of policies that requires new development to include affordable housing. Private housing developers may be required to build deed-restricted affordable housing as a percentage of or in addition to market rate housing. A community may adopt assured housing policies to meet a variety of community goals including economic integration and targeted development. Often, development incentives are utilized to offset the reduced profit associated with construction of deed-restricted units. Private commercial or non-residential developers may be provided several compliance alternatives including on-site construction, off-site construction, land dedications, fee-in lieu, or others.


  • attainable housing

    A term with multiple meanings that generally refers to housing that is affordable to a household earning between 80 percent (80%) and 120 percent (120%) of AMI.


  • Community land trust (CLT)

    A non-profit organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD]. A CLT acquires land through purchase or donation, then allows housing units to be built on the land through ground leases. By removing the cost of land acquisition and restricting occupancy to income eligible households, the CLT reduces the overall cost of construction. This helps keep the housing units affordable.


  • community housing development organization (Chdo)

    A non-profit organization recognized by HUD. A CHDO develops and/or operates affordable housing projects. A CHDO can access a wider range of public and private financing than other non-profit organizations or government agencies.


  • cost-burdened

    Households paying more than 30 percent (30%) of gross annual household income are considered cost-burdened.


  • crown program

    An affordable home lease-to-purchase program funded by low income housing tax credits available through the Utah Housing Corporation to qualifying families earning up to 60 percent of AMI. After the expiration of the 15 year compliance period, the tenants occupying the home have the option of purchasing the home for an amount equal to the unpaid balance of the financing sources plus a portion of the original equity invested. Program includes training in personal finance, home maintenance, and repair.


  • deed restrictions

    Part of the deed to a property, restrictions can impose purchase or rental eligibility requirements, limit the price at which a property can be sold, or limit the rental rate an owner may charge. Deed restrictions help keep properties affordable over time.


  • density bonus

    Density bonuses allow developers to increase the number of housing units they may build on a parcel above what is normally allowed in the zone. In exchange, the developer deed-restricts a percentage of the units so they remain affordable to income-eligible households over time.


  • development code barrier reduction or elimination

    Modification of local housing development codes to improve land use and reduce housing costs. Many communities are examining local zoning rules to ascertain if there are regulations (excessive setbacks, height limits, road widths, density restrictions, etc.) that make it difficult to build both market rate and affordable housing.


  • doubling up

  • employer assisted housing program

    In some communities, businesses or government agencies attract and retain key employees by helping them find and pay for housing. Sometimes the help comes in the form of low- or no-interest loans, forgivable loans, or down payment assistance. Employers can develop their own individual programs or join with other employers to pool their money into one fund.


  • Essential Housing (Also, Workforce Housing)

    A term used to describe housing available to a class of individuals often viewed as vital community service providers, such as police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, and others. In the Moab Area, service industry employees are also viewed as essential service providers.

  • fair market rent (FMR)

    Rent level guidelines for the Housing Choice Voucher Program established by HUD for each county in the United States.


  • fast-track development process

    An expedited project approval process for developments with affordable housing units. Reducing review time can often reduce housing costs. May include “front of the line” policies for reviewing projects.


  • fee deferrals or waivers

    The fees charged to new construction adds to the cost of an affordable housing project. In some instances local government will allow developers to pay the fees at a later time (fee deferral) or, in some cases, pay the fees for the developer (fee waiver) in order to lower the cost of construction. In all cases, local government should acknowledge that impacts are still created, but the manner in which they are accounted for is adjusted.

  • household income

    The combined gross income of all residents in a household. Income includes wages and salaries, unemployment insurance, disability payments, and child support. Household residents do not have to be related to the householder for their earnings to be considered part of household income.


  • housing quality standards

    Building safety standards units must meet to qualify for participation in the Housing Choice Voucher Program and other state rental assistance programs.


  • housing rehabilitation programs

    Low interest loans or grants available to low-income property owners and tenants to repair, improve, or modernize their dwellings or to remove health and safety problems.


  • housing trust fund

    A community may collect public and private funding that can be used to subsidize affordable housing projects in that community.


  • HUD

    United States Department of Housing and Urban Development


  • income eligible households

    Each affordable housing program defines the income range for households that are eligible to participate in that program.


  • inclusionary zoning

    See Assured Housing

  • land banking

    A strategy for identifying and securing lots and undeveloped tracts of land to support future affordable housing development. When referring to private land holdings, land banking may refer to investment strategy where property owners choose not to develop housing, suppress supply, and achieve a higher return on investment later.


  • local match

    A local contribution of actual or in-kind funds required to “match” or leverage Federal, State, and other funding. Local matches reflect local commitment to the creation of affordable housing units.


  • low-income

    Household income between 30 percent and 50 percent of Area Median Income as defined by HUD.


  • manufactured home

    A factory-built, single family structure designed for long-term occupancy that meets the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards of 1976 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5401, commonly known as the HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) Code. Such houses are delivered on permanently attached axels and wheels and are frequently referred to as “modular” when constructed in more than one building section.


  • mobile home conversion from rental to resident ownership

    As land prices increase, there is often financial pressure on mobile home park owners to close the parks and convert the properties to more profitable uses. Residents of mobile home parks sometimes can, with help from government agencies and non-profit groups, purchase the mobile home parks they live in, thereby preserving the park for affordable housing use.


  • mobile home park loans

    The State of Utah and various non-profit affordable housing organizations provide low-interest loans to residents of mobile home parks to purchase the parks.


  • moderate-income

    Household income between 50 percent and 80 percent of Area Median Income as defined by HUD.


  • mobile home

    A residential dwelling fabricated in an off-site manufacturing facility designed to be a permanent residence, and built prior to the enforcement of the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards beginning June 15, 1976.


  • modular home

    A structure intended for long-term residential use and manufactured in an offsite facility in accordance with the International Building Code (IBC), or the International Residential Code (IRC). This housing type is produced in one or more building sections and do not have permanent, attached axels and wheels.


  • mutual self help housing program

    A federally funded rural “sweat-equity” home ownership program for low-income families. A group of families collectively construct their homes supervised by a non-profit housing developer. Families contribute at least 65 percent (65%) of home construction labor.


  • overlay zone

    A special zoning district that may encompass one or more underlying zones and imposes additional requirements beyond the regulations for development in the underlying zone(s). Overlay zones deal with special situations that are not necessarily appropriate for a specific zoning district or that apply to several districts. For example, a provision of an Affordable Housing Overlay Zone that covers one or more zones might require that tracts above a specified acreage that are proposed for higher density development would also include a percentage of affordable or low-income housing units.


  • public private partnerships

    Partnerships between local governments, non-profit housing organizations, and the private sector established to meet local affordable housing needs by bringing additional resources and skills to the process.


  • payroll wage

    The gross pay an employee receives for a given amount of time worked, typically hourly, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Gross refers to the pay an employee would receive before withholdings are made for such things as taxes, contributions, and savings plans.


  • real estate transfer assessment (voluntary)

    Fees assessed when real estate properties are sold. These fees are then used to subsidize affordable housing programs.


  • severely cost-burdened

    Households paying more than 50 percent (50%) of gross annual household income are considered severely cost-burdened.


  • subsidized housing

    Housing sold or rented at below market values due to government or private contributions.

  • tax abatement on residential construction & rehabilitation improvements

    Incentive to construct affordable housing or improve existing residential properties through tax relief or elimination. The increase in property tax assessed value generated by residential construction or home improvements is not taxed for a number of years, or the taxable amount is reduced by a certain percentage. Taxes associated with the assessed value before the construction or improvements take place are still collected.

  • tiny home

    An umbrella term that describes housing units under 400 sq. ft. in size. While an approved primary residence or ADU may be classified as a tiny home based on square footage, the term often refers to housing units built for temporary occupancy and that do not meet the IBC, IRC, or HUD construction standards.


  • transer of development rights (tdr)

    The removal of the right to develop or build, expressed in dwelling units per acre or floor area, from property in one zoning district, and the transfer of that right to land in another district where the transfer is permitted. The transfer may be made by the sale or exchange of all or a part of the permitted density of one parcel to another.


  • usda

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • vacancy rate

    In this report, vacancy rate refers to the percentage of all housing units that are not currently inhabited by full-time occupants. A vacant unit may be one which is entirely occupied by persons who have a usual residence elsewhere. New units not yet occupied are classified as vacant housing units if construction has reached a point where all exterior windows and doors are installed and final usable floors are in place.


  • very low-income

    Household income below 30 percent of Area Median Income as defined by HUD.