An innovative grassroots initiative that helps renters gain cooperative home ownership

New York City’s Tenant Interim Lease Program was created as a way for renters to become cooperative owners of their apartments in abandoned low-income buildings. Initiated in 1978, the program was a response to the housing crisis that resulted from landlords abandoning low-income housing units that became too expensive to repair and maintain. Renters in city-owned buildings can form a tenant association and receive training and technical assistance from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), which oversees the program under the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Together tenants manage the building and eventually transition to cooperative ownership.

New York City’s intriguing Tenant Interim Lease Program, a landmark housing program, has enabled thousands of America’s poorest minority people to become owners of their own apartments.

1989 Selection Committee

Unlike other city housing programs, the Tenant Interim Lease Program depends upon tenant initiative and persistence, making it a truly empowering experience for those who participate. Self-help is a cornerstone of the program, and participants develop valuable work and leadership skills through the process. Over 240 buildings participated in the first year, with 500 in process at the time of application, making it the city’s largest grassroots low-income housing program.