Associated Policies

In conjunction with the policies in this topic, lenders must also comply with, as applicable, but not limited to, the policies in the following:

Eligible Properties

Rental income is an acceptable source of stable income if it can be established that the income is likely to continue. If the rental income is derived from the subject property, the property must be one of the following:

  • a two- to four-unit principal residence property in which the borrower occupies one of the units, or

  • a one- to four-unit investment property.

If the income is derived from a property that is not the subject property, there are no restrictions on the property type. For example, rental income from a commercial property owned by the borrower is acceptable if the income otherwise meets all other requirements (it can be documented in accordance with the requirements below).

Ineligible Properties

Generally, rental income from the borrower’s principal residence (a one-unit principal residence or the unit the borrower occupies in a two- to four-unit property) or a second home cannot be used to qualify the borrower. However, Fannie Mae does allow certain exceptions to this policy for boarder income and properties with accessory units. See B3-3.1-09, Other Sources of Income, for boarder income requirements, and B5-6-03, HomeReady Mortgage Underwriting Methods and Requirements, for accessory unit income requirements.

General Requirements for Documenting Rental Income

If a borrower has a history of renting the subject or another property, generally the rental income will be reported on IRS Form 1040, Schedule E of the borrower’s personal tax returns or on Rental Real Estate Income and Expenses of a Partnership or an S Corporation form (IRS Form 8825) of a business tax return. If the borrower does not have a history of renting the subject property or if, in certain cases, the tax returns do not accurately reflect the ongoing income and expenses of the property, the lender may be justified in using a fully executed current lease agreement. Examples of scenarios that justify the use of a lease agreement are

  • purchase transactions;

  • refinance transactions in which the borrower purchased the rental property during or subsequent to the last tax return filing; or

  • refinance transactions of a property that experienced significant rental interruptions such that income is not reported on the recent tax return (for example, major renovation to a property occurred in the prior year that affected rental income).

When the subject property will generate rental income, one of the following Fannie Mae forms must be used to support the income-earning potential of the property:

  • For one-unit properties: Single-Family Comparable Rent Schedule (Form 1007) (provided in conjunction with the applicable appraisal report), or

  • For two- to four-unit properties: Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report (Form 1025).

Documenting Rental Income from Subject Property

The lender must obtain documentation that is used to calculate the monthly rental income for qualifying purposes. The documentation may vary depending on whether the borrower has a history of renting the property, and whether the prior year tax return includes the income.

Does the Borrower Have a History of Receiving Rental Income From the Subject Property? Transaction Type Documentation Requirements
Yes Refinance

Form 1007 or Form 1025, as applicable, and either

  • the borrower’s most recent year of signed federal income tax returns, including Schedule E, or

  • copies of the current lease agreement(s) if the borrower can document a qualifying exception (see Partial or No Rental History on Tax Returns below).

No Purchase

Form 1007 or Form 1025, as applicable, and

  • copies of the current lease agreement(s).

If the property is not currently rented, lease agreements are not required and Form 1007 or Form 1025 may be used.

If there is a lease on the property that is being transferred to the borrower, the lender must verify that it does not contain any provisions that could affect Fannie Mae's first lien position on the property. See B7-2-05, Title Exceptions and Impediments, for additional information.

No Refinance Form 1007 or Form 1025, as applicable, and
  • copies of the current lease agreement(s).

If the borrower is not using any rental income from the subject property to qualify, the gross monthly rent must still be documented for lender reporting purposes. See the Reporting of Gross Monthly Rent section of A3-4-02, Data Quality and Integrity

Documenting Rental Income From Property Other Than the Subject Property

When the borrower owns property – other than the subject property – that is rented, the lender must document the monthly gross (and net) rental income with the borrower’s most recent signed federal income tax return that includes Schedule E. Copies of the current lease agreement(s) may be substituted if the borrower can document a qualifying exception. See Partial or No Rental History on Tax Returns below.

Partial or No Rental History on Tax Returns

In order for the lender to determine qualifying rental income, the lender must determine whether or not the rental property was in service for the entire tax year or only a portion of the year. In some situations, the lender’s analysis may determine that using alternative rental income calculations or using lease agreements to calculate income are more appropriate methods for calculating the qualifying income from rental properties. This policy may be applied to refinances of a subject rental property or to other rental properties owned by the borrower.

If the borrower is able to document (per the table below) that the rental property was not in service the previous tax year, or was in service for only a portion of the previous tax year, the lender may determine qualifying rental income by using

  • Schedule E income and expenses, and annualizing the income (or loss) calculation; or

  • fully executed lease agreement(s) to determine the gross rental income to be used in the net rental income (or loss) calculation.

If ... Then ...
the property was acquired during or subsequent to the most recent tax filing year,

the lender must confirm the purchase date using the settlement statement or other documentation.

  • If acquired during the year, Schedule E (Fair Rental Days) must confirm a partial year rental income and expenses (depending on when the unit was in service as a rental).

  • If acquired after the last tax filing year, Schedule E will not reflect rental income or expenses for this property.

the rental property was out of service for an extended period,
  • Schedule E will reflect the costs for renovation or rehabilitation as repair expenses. Additional documentation may be required to ensure that the expenses support a significant renovation that supports the amount of time that the rental property was out of service.

  • Schedule E (Fair Rental Days) will confirm the number of days that the rental unit was in service, which must support the unit being out of service for all or a portion of the year.

the lender determines that some other situation warrants an exception to use a lease agreement, the lender must provide an explanation and justification in the loan file.

If the borrower is converting a principal residence to an investment property, see B3-6-06, Qualifying Impact of Other Real Estate Owned, for guidance in using that rental income to qualify the borrower.

Calculating Monthly Qualifying Rental Income (or Loss)

The method for calculating rental income (or loss) for qualifying purposes is dependent upon the documentation that is being used.

Federal Income Tax Returns, Schedule E. When Schedule E is used to calculate qualifying rental income, the lender must add back any listed depreciation, interest, homeowners’ association dues, taxes, or insurance expenses to the borrower’s cash flow. Non-recurring property expenses may be added back, if documented accordingly.

If the property was in service

  • for the entire tax year, the rental income must be averaged over 12 months; or

  • for less than the full year, the rental income must be averaged over the number of months that the borrower used the property as a rental unit.

See Treatment of the Income (or Loss) below for further instructions.

Lease Agreements or Form 1007 or Form 1025. When current lease agreements or market rents reported on Form 1007 or Form 1025 are used, the lender must calculate the rental income by multiplying the gross monthly rent(s) by 75%. (This is referred to as “Monthly Market Rent” on the Form 1007.) The remaining 25% of the gross rent will be absorbed by vacancy losses and ongoing maintenance expenses.

See Treatment of the Income (or Loss) below for further instructions.

Treatment of the Income (or Loss)

The amount of monthly qualifying rental income (or loss) that is considered as part of the borrower's total monthly income (or loss) — and its treatment in the calculation of the borrower's total debt-to-income ratio — varies depending on whether the borrower occupies the rental property as his or her principal residence.

If the rental income relates to the borrower’s principal residence:

  • The monthly qualifying rental income (as defined above) must be added to the borrower’s total monthly income. (The income is not netted against the PITIA of the property.)

  • The full amount of the mortgage payment (PITIA) must be included in the borrower’s total monthly obligations when calculating the debt-to-income ratio.

If the rental income (or loss) relates to a property other than the borrower's principal residence:

  • If the monthly qualifying rental income (as defined above) minus the full PITIA is positive, it must be added to the borrower’s total monthly income.

  • If the monthly qualifying rental income minus PITIA is negative, the monthly net rental loss must be added to the borrower’s total monthly obligations.

  • The full PITIA for the rental property is factored into the amount of the net rental income (or loss); therefore, it should not be counted as a monthly obligation.

  • The full monthly payment for the borrower's principal residence (full PITIA or monthly rent) must be counted as a monthly obligation.

Offsetting Monthly Obligations for Rental Property Reported through a Partnership or an S Corporation

If the borrower is personally obligated on the mortgage debt (as evidenced by inclusion of the related mortgage(s) on the credit report) and gross rents and related expenses are reported through a partnership or S corporation, the business tax returns may be used to offset the property’s PITIA. The steps described below should be followed:

1. Obtain the borrower’s business tax returns, including IRS Form 8825 for the most recent year.

2. Evaluate each property listed on Form 8825, as shown below:

  • From total gross rents, subtract total expenses. Then add back insurance, mortgage interest, taxes, homeowners’ association dues (if applicable), depreciation, and non-recurring property expenses (if documented accordingly).

  • Divide by the number of months the property was in service.

  • Subtract the entire PITIA (proposed for subject property or actual for real estate owned) to determine the monthly property cash flow.

3. If the resulting net cash flow is positive, the lender may exclude the property PITIA from the borrower’s monthly obligations when calculating the debt-to-income ratio.

4. If the resulting net cash flow is negative (that is, the rental income derived from the investment property is not sufficient to fully offset the property PITIA), the calculated negative amount must be included in the borrower’s monthly obligations when calculating the debt-to-income ratio.

In order to include a positive net rental income received through a partnership or an S corporation in the borrower’s monthly qualifying income, the lender must evaluate it according to Fannie Mae’s guidelines for income received from a partnership or an S corporation. See B3-3.2.2-01, Analyzing Partnership Returns for a Partnership or LLC and B3-3.2.2-02, Analyzing Returns for an S Corporation.

Note: For DU loan casefiles, the term “subject net cash flow” applies to net rental income from the subject property, and the term “net rental income” applies to rental income from properties other than the subject property.

Rental Income Calculation Worksheets

Fannie Mae publishes four worksheets that lenders may use to calculate rental income. Use of these worksheets is optional. The worksheets are:

  • Rental Income Worksheet – Principal Residence, 2– to 4–unit Property (Form 1037),

  • Rental Income Worksheet – Individual Rental Income from Investment Property(s) (up to 4 properties) (Form 1038),

  • Rental Income Worksheet – Individual Rental Income from Investment Property(s) (up to 10 properties) (Form 1038A), and

  • Rental Income Worksheet – Business Rental Income from Investment Property(s) (Form 1039).

Related Announcements

The table below provides references to the Announcements that have been issued that are related to this topic.

Announcements Issue Date
Announcement SEL-2017–02 February 28, 2017
Announcement SEL-2015–10 September 29, 2015
Announcement SEL-2014–13 November 10, 2014
Announcement SEL-2014–12 September 30, 2014
Announcement SEL-2012–04 May 15, 2012
Announcement SEL-2011–10 September 27, 2011
Announcement 09–32 October 30, 2009