FAQs

Colorful sunflower mural with hands in Baltimore's Franklin Square Neighborhood

Like many homebuying incentives, the Live Near Your Work (LNYW) program is a complex benefit. Please review all of the eligibility requirements and program parameters to fully understand how you can take advantage of this incentive.

How much money can I get?

University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) employees can get $18,500 toward a down payment and closing costs — $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore. 

How is this different from the previous Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program?

In the past, employees could get a total of $5,000 through the program instead of $18,500. The new program also targets a smaller set of neighborhoods and has been formed in collaboration with partners from the community, city, state, and local nonprofits. Overall, the improved program has greater opportunities available for UMB employees and the community at large. 

Who is eligible for the program?

Regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff employees of UMB in good standing and considered creditworthy. Employees also will need to complete a homeownership counseling program provided by a U.S. Housing and Urban Development-certified housing counselor before signing a contract for sale. Learn more about our eligibility requirements

Do UMB students qualify for this program?

No. Neither UMB undergraduate nor graduate students qualify for the LNYW Program. 

Why do I have to go to homeownership counseling?

The Baltimore City LNYW program requires a homeownership counseling certificate to be eligible for its funds. UMB chose to require a similar mandate because the program eligibility and parameters are similar. Learn more about how to access homeownership counseling

How much do I need for a down payment?

Employees are required to contribute a minimum homeowner down payment of $1,000. 

What neighborhoods are included in the program?

Employees must purchase a home in Barre Circle, Druid Heights, Franklin Square, Heritage Crossing, Hollins Market, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, Mount Clare, or Union Station to qualify. Learn more about the program's targeted neighborhoods.

Do I have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify?

Employees do not have to be first-time homebuyers to qualify for the program. 

How long do I have to live in the house?

Employees must live in the home for five years from the date of settlement. This program parameter was created to encourage employees to make a long-term commitment to these neighborhoods and encourage community stabilization and revitalization. 

Can the grant be used to renovate a previously purchased home?

No. However, there are other programs available through the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland that underwrite home renovations. 

What is the housing inventory like in these neighborhoods?

Housing inventory varies. Prospective homebuyers are encouraged to research listings and contact real estate agents familiar with the neighborhoods. 

How can I find a realtor?

You can utilize Live Baltimore to connect to real estate agents who serve the neighborhood areas. 

What improvements are coming to these neighborhoods?

There are always improvements planned for each of the neighborhoods. Southwest Partnership is working with homeowner associations to develop new assets (e.g., schools, programs, community centers) in an effort to attract and retain homeowners. For more information, contact Southwest Partnership

Do I have to pay taxes on the LNYW grant?

Yes. Employees will be taxed 20 percent of the $16,000 for each year they reside in the home up through the five-year requirement. The taxes will be reported as income via a W-2 form at the end of the year to the employee. If an employee does not reside in the home through the five-year requirement, the employee will be required to return 20 percent of the funds for each year they do not live in the property. 

Employees who separate from UMB during the five-year pay-back period of LNYW can expect the following:

  • After the departure date, the employee is no longer on the UMB payroll. Withholdings on the taxable benefit cannot continue after the final paycheck. The annual taxable amount ($3,200) will be captured in the year-end W-2. The employee will need to account for whatever withholdings are NOT taken from their pay when they file their tax return at the end of the year.
  • For every subsequent year up through Year Five after UMB separation, the employee will receive a 1099 noting the $3,200 taxable benefit. Withholdings will not occur, again, because the employee is no longer on the UMB payroll (W-2 is given through employer to the employee; 1099 given when the individual is not employed by entity taxing them).

Are there other homebuying incentives I can combine with this offer?

There are other grants and incentives that can be “stacked” or combined with the UMB Live Near Your Work Program. Other opportunities include House Keys 4 Employees, Vacants to Value, and more. Visit the Live Baltimore website for details. 

How do I apply?

Applications are available online. Before applying, familiarize yourself with the application process. Do not begin the application unless you have completed homeownership counseling and made an offer on a home.

I am purchasing a home with another UMB employee. Can we both apply for the grant and double the amount used toward the home purchase?

No. Only one grant is issued per household or address, regardless of whether the home is titled in one, or both, employee names.

If I apply for the grant and title the home in my name, can my spouse apply in the future if we sell and then purchase another qualified home?

No. Only one grant is issued per household or address, regardless of whether the home is titled in one, or both, employee names. Once your household has received a grant, you cannot apply again.

Are there income requirements to participate in the program?

No. Participants do need to qualify for a mortgage to finance the home purchase and also provide the $1,000 down payment.

Why doesn't UMB's LNYW website advertise available homes for sale in the participating neighborhoods?

For active home listings, searches of available properties can be conducted on popular real estate sites, such as Redfin, Realtor.com, etc. Some home developers will post their available listings on the Southwest Partnership website.

Why are post-doctoral fellows excluded from eligibility in the LNYW program?

Most UMB post-doctoral fellowships are granted for up to five (5) years, with one-year extensions. The intent of the LNYW program is to provide community stability and revitalization, which can be compromised if a LNYW-eligible home is sold within the five-year period.

I am a hospital employee. Am I eligible to apply for the UMB LNYW grant?

UMMC/UMMS hospital employees are not eligible for the UMB LNYW grant. A separate LNYW program exists for hospital employees.

I have completed only one part of my homeownership counseling certificate program. Am I still eligible for the LNYW grant from UMB?

The homeownership counseling process includes both an instructional class and personal counseling session. To be eligible for the certificate, both the class and personal counseling sessions must be completed.

Do we have to pay back the grant?

The LNYW grant is considered a taxable benefit. With all benefits, the amount will be taxed according to the participant's tax status (number of exemptions, tax rate, etc.) and over a period of 60 months (5 years). Payback of the grant is only required if the home is sold by the title holder before the end of the five-year grant period. Payback of the grant is not required if the homeowner separates their employment with UMB. However, there are tax ramifications (see next FAQ).

What happens if I leave UMB within five years of purchasing my home with a LNYW grant?

Employees who participate in the LNYW program and then separate from the University during the first five years will be liable for the remaining balance of the tax liability. This liability is calculated as the month difference between the month the title changed and what remains of the 60-month tax liability. For example, if the title is changed in Month 23, the tax liability to be paid to UMB will be a lump sum equivalent to the value of 60 months of tax payments minus the 23 months of tax payments, or 37 months of tax payments.

What happens if I decide to move? Do I have to let UMB know?

If the home is sold or the title holder changes within the first five years of the grant, UMB must be notified of this change. Subsequent tax decisions will occur, depending upon the status of the participant's circumstances.

Where can I complete my homeownership counseling?

UMB uses GO Northwest Housing Resource Center for on-site sessions, and additional organizations are listed on the Live Baltimore site. Details are available on our Homeownership Counseling page.