Beware of Housing Lingo!
The concepts below are vital to understand when evaluating development proposals. Developers can use terms like  “attainable,” “affordable,” “employee” and “workforce” when describing their proposals. If developers are not proposing to use publicly-vetted deed restrictions, local occupancy or affordability is not guaranteed.

See our glossary for more information.


Why do deed restrictions matter?

If a residential unit has a deed restriction, it is exclusively occupied by locals.

What is a deed restriction?

A deed restriction is a legal document recorded against the property to control how a property can be used. Restrictions vary based on what the policy intent is. Deed restrictions include limitations on occupancy, income level, and rent/resale prices to retain affordability.

Why use deed restrictions?

The current housing market is not creating opportunities for people earning their living locally. Homes that are actually affordable to locals require subsidies (public and/or private) to allow the dwelling to sell or rent for below market prices.

What kinds of deed restrictions govern publicly-subsidized units?

Projects that have public investment use deed restrictions to ensure their homes are occupied by local workers. To qualify for any of these homes, occupants must have  worked full-time in Teton County for at least one year and they are not allowed to own residential property within 150 miles of Teton County.

What is the difference between Affordable and Workforce deed-restricted homes?

There are ownership and rental units provided in each category. Affordable homes serve those on the lower end of the income range. Workforce homes serve those who are on the higher end of the income range but are still unable to enter the free market.

  • Affordable:
    • Three categories: 0-50% MFI, 50-80% MFI, 80-120% MFI
    • One person in the household must work full-time in Teton County
    • Minimum occupancy requirements based on amount of bedrooms
  • Workforce
    • No income/asset limits
    • One person in the household must work full-time in Teton County
    • 75% of the household’s income must be earned in Teton County
    • No occupancy requirement


There are multiple housing organizations in the valley. The two developers (Habitat and the Housing Trust) often partner to build homes together. There is also the Jackson/Teton County Affordable Housing Department, which funds projects via partnerships with developers to construct units (i.e. Kelly Place Condos) and programs like the Preservation Program. They each have different application processes and selection criteria. Each organization uses different deed restrictions or ground leases to ensure the homes serve locals.

Habitat for Humanity: A private 501(c)(3) non-profit that builds homes for those earning under 80% MFI. Habitat keeps costs low by requiring sweat equity from occupants and using volunteer labor. They accept applications on a rolling basis; apply now!

JH Community Housing Trust: A private 501(c)(3) non-profit developer that builds homes and rents/sells them for below market rates. They accept applications on a rolling basis; apply now!

  • Past projects: Redmond Street Rentals
  • Future projects: King Street (move-ins started 2/2022) 
  • They use a weighted lottery, including awarding additional points to folks who volunteer a certain amount of hours locally (making it harder for marginalized and very-low-income folks to get selected)

Jackson/Teton County Affordable Housing Department: a publicly-funded department that funds housing projects and administers grant programs like the Preservation Program.They accept applications on a rolling basis; apply now!

How can I apply for a home through the Housing Department?

The application process for homes is lengthy and you need to submit wage and employment information to enter lotteries. Don’t wait! Start by completing your intake form and then read about the application process.

How are occupants selected?

The Department uses a weighted drawing process to select occupants. Critical Service Providers (i.e. EMTs) receive extra lottery entries. For rental units, there is no citizenship requirement (this was a change that we helped win!). For ownership units, occupants must be citizens, permanent residents, or DACA recipients.

What if I retire?

As long as you retire at age 62 or later (retirement age according to the IRS), you can continue living in your deed-restricted home. 

How are deed restrictions enforced?

The Housing Department conducts annual compliance checks on all of their units.