Utah Considers Penalties to Cities with Fewer Low-Cost Homes

Lawmakers in Utah seek to solve the state’s affordable housing crisis by hitting two birds with one stone, as the population grows rapidly in some regions.

Local governments would need to pay a fee based on the shortage of low-cost houses. It would not only provide decent shelter for low-income residents but also reduce the homeless population across the state.

Low-Cost Housing

If the proposal turns into law, the revenue collected from fees charged to cities and counties would be used for operating three homeless shelter projects. At the same time, the imposed fees would encourage local officials to monitor an ongoing construction of affordable properties.

State lawmakers know that some cities dislike zoning for multifamily properties, which could be a viable solution to curb homelessness. The problem manifested itself through most cities having few low-cost homes to people who earn less than the median income of around $35,000. By affordable, households should not pay more than 30% of their income for housing expenses.

Population Growth

Aside from zoning laws in some cities, a growing population also serves as one factor for the dearth of affordable houses. In Salt Lake County and Utah County, for instance, University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute’s study showed a significant increase in population between 2010 and 2016.

However, Bonneville Multifamily Capital notes that an increase in Utah’s residents presents a good opportunity for property developers to drum up business in the multifamily sector. For cash-strapped developers, the Department Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) commercial loans are some of the financing options that can help you with your next project.


Utah’s public and private sectors should work together to bring down the number of homeless people. The need for more affordable houses not only applies to them but also to meet the demand for shelter from a growing population.