Time is ticking for Minneapolis apartment building owners who want to take advantage of a Minneapolis pilot program that offers a reduction in property taxes in exchange for preserving affordable rental housing.

The city’s efforts are aimed at supporting an existing state program.

Every year, owners of subsidized affordable housing are able to apply to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for low-income rent classification status (4d status) that offers a 40-percent reduction in property taxes on income-restricted rental units. To qualify, property owners are asked to restrict at least 20 percent of the units for households with an income at or below 60 percent of the area median income.

If approved by the Minneapolis City Council, the program will offer qualified building owners financial and technical assistance with a focus on the application fee and documentation that’s required to participate. Mayor Jacob Frey supported the effort with additional incentives for building owners that are willing to make energy efficient improvements.

Those who are seeking 2018 assistance and support from the city need to submit their paperwork by May 2.

To qualify, building owners must agree to keep at least 20 percent of the units affordable for 10 years for households that earn 60 percent or less of the area median rent. That translates to less than $949 a month for an efficiency; $1,017 a month for a one-bedroom or $1,221 a month for a two-bedroom apartment for those with incomes below $37,980 for one person or $43,440 for two people.

Participating building owners would receive:

• A 40-percent property tax reduction on units that qualify for the 4d property tax classification.

• Payment of the first-year application fee to the state of Minnesota for certification of the 4d property tax classification ($10 per unit).

• Optional free energy efficiency and healthy homes audits.

• Optional city subsidy and utility rebates for the cost of energy efficiency and healthy homes improvements that have a simple payback of 10 years or less as identified in the free audit.

Those property owners must have a Tier 1 or 2 rental license with no rental housing license revocations or outstanding housing orders. Owners of apartment buildings with 10 or more units can contact Ester Robards in the City’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development for details.