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In Minneapolis, tax breaks for landlords help boost affordable housing

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Minneapolis landlords show growing interest in a city program that gives them property tax breaks in exchange for keeping rents affordable for low-income tenants. 

Some 50 landlords have 770 apartments in the program now. That's up from about 200 last year. Landlords can get a 40 percent property tax rate reduction over 10 years if they keep rents within program guidelines.

Rents are meant to be reasonable for lower-income households. Dean Porter-Nelson, a housing stability specialist with the city, says many apartments in the program rent for less than $1,000 a month.

"On average, we're looking at studios that have a median rent of $750 or two-bedrooms that are at $950 at the moment," he said.

There are income limits for renters. A two-person household, for instance, cannot make much more than $45,300.

Apartment owners must keep at least a fifth of a property's rental units affordable for lower-income households. At this time, there's no limit for how many apartments can be part of the program. Property owners can next sign up for the program in October.

The tax breaks for the landlords currently enrolled in the program could reach a half-million dollars or so annually, overall.  Landlords also have priority for the city's Green Cost Share Program that provides funding for energy efficiency and solar energy projects.