Boston Housing Authority

For Public Housing > Paying Rent > How Rent is Set

How Rent is Set

How rent is set depends on a number of factors. The specific program in which a resident lives determines how the rent is set for that program.

In family state public housing, rent is set at 32% of adjusted income (income after deductions and exclusions). In elderly/disabled state public housing, rent is set at 30% of adjusted income. In federal public housing, rent is set at 30% of adjusted income (or 10% of total income, if this is higher). Both state and federal public housing have certain exclusions and deductions that are used to determine the adjusted income, but the deductions are not the same for all programs. 

There is also a “flat rent” option for federal public housing, and families with at least one member who is not a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen could have a higher “pro-rated” rent due to immigration status. Some federal public housing tenants in mixed finance developments also pay utilities, and this affects the rent because they receive a “utility allowance.”