Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS APCHA?
APCHA (APP-sha) is the acronym for the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority. The APCHA program provides affordable housing to full-time or seasonal employees who could not otherwise afford to own or rent a home in Pitkin County. APCHA is different than most housing authorities because you must be an employee of Pitkin County to reside in our housing. Programs such as Section 8 are administered by the Garfield County Housing Authority, 970-625-3589, www.garfieldhousing.com.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR APCHA HOUSING?
All full-time employees working in Pitkin County, who meet the income and asset guidelines. We define full time as working 1500 hours per calendar year, roughly 30 hours weekly for the full year or 40 hours weekly for nine months.
HOW IS APCHA FUNDED?
There are two main funding sources for the housing program -- a Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) and a portion of a sales tax. The RETT is a 1% transfer tax on the sales price of all real estate sold within the City of Aspen only and does not apply to the first $100,000 of each sale. The RETT was extended for a third time in 2001 for an additional 20 years -- December 31, 2024; and again in 2008 to December 31, 2040.
WHAT HOUSING IS AVAILABLE FOR EMPLOYEES?
APCHA’s inventory includes winter seasonal and year round rentals. In addition, there are also units available to purchase. There are over 2900 units including 1346 rentals and 1619 sales units.
ARE THERE SEASONAL RENTALS?
Yes, during the WINTER SEASON ONLY at Marolt Ranch, Burlingame and Aspen Highlands. Marolt and Burlingame open September 1st of every year and close April 30th. These units are not available in the summer as they are used by the Aspen Music School.
ARE THERE YEAR-ROUND RENTALS?
There are studios, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units in our inventory. Most rentals are owned and managed by separate entities or individuals. APCHA staff manages approximately 247 year-round rentals.
HOW DO I FIND A RENTAL?
Call the numbers for the various apartment complexes that are not managed by APCHA. Check the APCHA website or the classified section of the Aspen Daily News for APCHA managed properties. Ask your employer if they know of any housing available. Network – rentals are rarely advertised – most are found through word of mouth. Check the local newspapers www.aspendailynews.com and www.aspentimes.com or call a property management company.
HOW DO I APPLY?
The process is different depending on if you are interested in renting or buying. Applications for rentals are not accepted until you have been offered a unit at a specific property. Applications to purchase a property can be submitted at any time. Both applications require certain documents and have a fee. You must gather all the documentation listed on the application checklist before you can apply. You will be expected to provide tax returns, including all the pages and schedules. Extensions are not accepted. The returns will be scrutinized for unreimbursed employee business expenses, self-employment business losses and signs of fraud, such as reported income that doesn't match your W-2s. You'll be required to sign IRS Form 4506-T, which allows APCHA to get a transcript of the tax return from the IRS. APCHA will get the transcript of your tax return straight from the IRS and compare it with the copy of the return that you provided as part of our fraud prevention efforts.
DO ANY RENTALS ALLOW PETS?
Yes, three buildings at Truscott Place allow pets (one cat or one dog). When a unit becomes available at an APCHA managed property it is listed in the Aspen Daily News and on www.apcha.org. The Centennial Apartments also allow pets in the 100 and 200 Nicholas Lane buildings.
IF I AM HAVING TROUBLE WITH MY LANDLORD, WHO CAN HELP ME?
We do not have lawyers on staff. Free or discounted legal advice can be obtained by calling 1-800-521-6968 or Alpine Legal Services at 970-920-3032.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO PURCHASE EMPLOYEE HOUSING?
All full-time year-round employees in Pitkin County who meet the income and asset guidelines are qualified. The household cannot own other residential property in the Ownership Exclusion Zone. Priority is given to applicants who have worked four consecutive years to date in Pitkin County and meet the minimum occupancy requirements.
HOW DO I FIND OUT WHAT IS FOR SALE?
On our web site www.apcha.org under Sales, Current Listings. Not all employee housing is listed through the APCHA office. Some “Resident Occupied” homes can be sold by the owner or through a Realtor.
CAN A SINGLE PERSON BUY A 2 OR 3-BEDROOM UNIT?
Priority is given to "minimum occupancy", which is one person per bedroom. The 3-bedroom sales units give priority to households of a least 3 people with at least one dependent. Some “Resident Occupied” homes do not have minimum occupancy requirements.
WHAT IS THE ORDER OF PRIORITIES FOR SALES UNITS?
First—highest bid without going over the asking price. Second—minimum occupancy (one person per bedroom). Third—seniority, those who have worked for at least the past four consecutive years.
WHO CAN HELP ME WITH THE LOAN?
APCHA does not offer financing. You need to contact a lender. Most of the units we sell can be obtained with 3% to 5% down - your lender will determine the amount of loan you qualify for and the down payment required. APCHA highly recommends using someone from our list of lenders who are familiar with deed restricted housing.
WHAT ARE THE BORROWER’S TEN COMMANDMENTS?
Following these rules will help make the loan process a smooth one. 1. Thou shalt not quit your job. 2. Thou shalt not change your employers. 3. Thou shalt not incur new debt, such as purchasing a new vehicle or furniture. 4. Thou shalt not charge up your credit card balances. 5. Thou shalt not make a large deposit to or withdrawal from your bank accounts. 6. Thou shalt not change your mind after locking a rate. 7. Thou shalt not co-sign for someone else’s loan. 8. Thou shalt not spend your down payment money. 9. Thou shalt not schedule a vacation prior to closing. 10. Thou shalt not file for a divorce prior to closing.
IS THERE AN APPRECIATION CAP ON EMPLOYEE HOUSING SALES UNITS? WHY?
Yes. To keep the units affordable to future buyers. Appreciation on our units usually is 3% or the Consumer Price Index whichever is less.
HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BUYING EMPLOYEE HOUSING?
The Field Guide and the APCHA Guidelines have additional information about employee housing. And as always, our staff is available to answer questions. There are some myths floating around and if you have any questions, please call APCHa.
DO OWNERS HAVE TO LIST THEIR DEED RESTRICTED PROPERTY THROUGH APCHA?
For most properties, yes, although there are a few “Resident Occupied” homes can be sold by the owner or through a Realtor.
HOW DO I SELL MY DEED RESTRICTED HOUSING?
An owner should contact APCHA to review the specific deed restriction to determine the maximum sales price permitted and all other applicable provisions concerning the sale. The process takes approximately 10-12 weeks. The first step to list your Employee Housing unit for sale is to complete the Seller's Listing Checklist, and the Seller's Property Disclosure. Please also include copies of receipts for any capital improvements you may have completed, minutes of your most recent HOA meeting, and the current HOA budget. Once your paperwork is complete, please contact the Sales Manager at 970-920-5054 for an appointment. Please provide the above paperwork to the Sales Manager at least 1-1/2 weeks before the open house. APCHA acts as a Transaction Broker representing both Buyer and Seller and is responsible for preparing documents pertaining to the sale. APCHA advertises on the APCHA website and in OUR office. There is an initial two-week bid period with one open house (held on Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m.) for each property. The bid period ends on the Wednesday after the second week of advertising promptly at 4:00 p.m. The lottery is held on the Monday following the end of bid period at noon, unless there is a holiday. The total sales fee is 2% of the sales price including $600 to be paid at listing and the remainder to be paid at closing (unless specified otherwise by deed restriction). Please consult your deed restriction and the APCHA guidelines for additional information.