It is being billed as the world’s first “school voucher” program, offering the cheapest, most affordable way to get out of renting your home and buy a new one.
The voucher system, launched in California, is being touted as the best way to help thousands of struggling families who have been struggling to make ends meet in the rental market.
“This is a real step in the right direction for the rental sector, because it gives families the opportunity to rent a home for a much cheaper price,” said Jessica Matson, a principal at Realtors.com, a real estate search service.
Renters in California are required to be either over 30 or under 30 years old, have no outstanding bills, and have no unpaid child support.
It is the first state program that allows families to buy a home without having to pay for any rent or mortgage.
There are currently more than 400,000 California residents who live in rent-stabilized homes, according to the state Department of Housing and Community Development.
But those homes are usually rented out at significantly higher rates than other housing options.
Under the program, people will pay $400 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, $2,000 for a two-bedroom, $1,000 a month in Los Angeles, and $1.50 a month or less in San Jose, Fresno, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties.
Most of the other states are offering more modest vouchers, which cover the rent for the first two years, but are usually limited to a few months.
Many landlords and landlords’ association officials say the vouchers are more affordable and allow for greater flexibility in how tenants use their home.
Some people are buying homes on the cheap because they are looking for a place to live that is convenient and has adequate parking, said Jason Wessels, managing partner at RealtyTrac.com.
For many people, buying a home is more affordable than renting, because they can buy a cheaper property at the beginning of their tenure, he said.
Other programs, such as subsidized rentals, are aimed at renters and homeowners with children, but there are no laws in place that specifically cover people in this age group.
While many cities and states are providing vouchers to renters, they have not made it as widely available to homeowners.
As of Wednesday, San Jose had more than 40,000 voucher households, according the California Department of Finance and Insurance.
Brentwood Apartments in San Antonio, Texas, is the largest such rental property in the country, with more than 2,200 rental units.
Owners can rent the unit to their own family members or rent to others as long as it meets the eligibility criteria, according a spokesperson for the city.
In August, the San Antonio Express-News reported that the city had granted more than 6,000 vouchers to households.
According to the San Francisco Renters Union, about 1,000 people in the city receive vouchers.
San Diego has seen a steady rise in voucher households in recent years, according