Dec 17, 2021

4d Preserves Affordability While Improving Energy Efficiency

When Mary received a postcard in the mail promoting the Minneapolis 4d Affordable Housing Incentive Program, she signed up right away. She lives in a duplex that she owns and leases the second unit to renters. In exchange for committing to keeping rent affordable, she now receives a reduction in her property taxes through the 4d program. Even more importantly to Mary, she can also take advantage of the program’s energy efficiency resources. Passionate about addressing climate change, she had been looking for ways to improve her home’s energy efficiency – part of a Prospect Park neighborhood effort that she spearheaded to reduce natural gas usage by 25% by 2025. “I need to lead by example,” she says.

As the owner-occupant of her duplex, Mary’s tenants are also her neighbors; she gets to know them well, regularly letting them into her unit to access laundry machines. She originally bought the home because the rental income of the second unit helped her afford the mortgage. “It was the only way I could afford a house in this neighborhood,” she says, calling the home “a fixer-upper.” She has kept rent affordable, using the extra income to help pay her mortgage and make improvements to the home, including a new roof. Now, through the 4d program, she has committed to keeping rent affordable for households earning 60% of the Area Median Income for the next ten years, and she benefits from an approximately 20% property tax rate reduction.

“The program is a win-win-win-win,” says Mary. Her renters like to stay longer because of the home’s affordability, she says. “It’s good to keep a renter. I have a good renter, and that can be even more important than the money.”

Most importantly for Mary, the 4d program helped her obtain a new heat pump and a high efficiency furnace. As a result, she has already met her personal goal to reduce her natural gas usage by 25% and saves significantly on energy costs. “And for the first time in my life, I had central air during a heat wave!” She’s also planning on improving her home’s insulation and considering adding solar power through the 4d program. “I’m going to keep going until I’ve done everything I possibly can,” she says.

Now, Mary is encouraging more owners in her neighborhood to join 4d. She hosted informational sessions about the program in 2020 and 2021, highlighting the many cost savings and environmental benefits. “I have been bragging all over the place about the heat pump and about the taxes not going up.” She believes that many owners in her neighborhood already keep rents affordable and could benefit greatly from the program. “I don’t know why I’m the only landlord in Prospect Park that’s in 4d,” she says.

The deadline to apply for the Minneapolis 4d Affordable Housing Incentive Program in 2022 is January 7.

Saint Paul, Edina, St. Louis Park, and Golden Valley also offer 4d incentive programs.

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