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Design for Life Montgomery

Building Today's Homes for Montgomery County's Future

Tax Incentive ProgramVoluntary Program Details / Media / Resources / Contact



Design for Life Tax Incentive Program - Applications Accepted Starting March 1, 2014: Property tax credits are available for Design for Life improvements that make new housing achieve certain levels of accessibility and for accessible retrofits to an existing home. Credits against School Impact Tax are available to help offset developer costs associated with providing visitable housing. 

Bill 5-13, Property Tax Credit - Accessibility Features (Effective July 1, 2014) - The bill will provide for a property tax credit for an accessibility feature installed on an existing residence; provide for a property tax credit for meeting a Level I or Level II accessibility standard on a new single family residence; provide for an impact tax credit against the Development Impact Tax for Public School Improvements for meeting a Level I accessibility standard; and generally amend the County law regarding property tax credits. This bill will provide tax credits to builders and homeowners for including Level I visit-ability (up to $3,000) and Level II live-ability (up to $10,000) accessibility features in new and existing single family attached and detached homes. The impact tax credits for builders will be for new construction in single family attached and detached homes.

Other State Tax Exemption: Application For Assessment Exemption For An Improvement Required For The Health or Medical Condition Of A Resident - An improvement to a building required for the health or medical condition of the resident of the building may not be assessed for tax purposes.


Universal &
Green Model Home
No-Step Front Door Entrance
Clarksburg, Maryland

Photo Courtesy of Winchester Homes®

Accessible Kitchen - Townhome
Potomac, Maryland

Photo Courtesy of Louis Tenenbaum

Single Family Home
No-Step Rear Entry
Takoma Park, Maryland

Photo Courtesy of Ken Wyner
and UniversalDesign

Design for Life Montgomery is the first voluntary certification program in Maryland for Visit-Ability and Live-Ability in single family attached and detached homes located in Montgomery County. Its guidelines apply to both new construction and renovation of existing homes*. Whether you are a first time homebuyer, young family, career professional, active adult, or person living with a temporary or permanent disability, your home will be enhanced by these additional design features which will meet your needs throughout your life.


Build or Renovate Your Home... For All Ages and Stages of Life

The Design for Life Montgomery guidelines for visit-ability and live-ability incorporate design features such as a no-step entrance, making it easier and safer to bring in a baby stroller, move in large furniture, accommodate a person living with a temporary or permanent disability, accommodate friends or relatives who have mobility limitations, and ultimately will help people age in place. 



Design for Life Montgomery County Permits Issued:

Permits Issued
Permits Issued


Level One: Visit-Ability
A Visit-able home has three basic design elements:
  1. At least one no-step entry located at the front door, back door, side door (any door), deck or through the garage connected to an accessible route to a place to visit on that level.
  2. 32 inch or 2 feet by 10 feet nominal clear width interior doors.
  3. A useable power room or bathroom.
Level Two: Live-Ability
A Live-able home has
  • The three basic design features of a visit-able home plus,
  • At least one bedroom, full bath, and kitchen with circulation path that connects the rooms to an accessible entrance.


Single Family Home
No-Step Front Entry
Boyds, Maryland

Photo Courtesy of
Accessible Master Bathroom
Takoma Park, Maryland

Photo Courtesy of Ken Wyner
and UniversalDesign


Unique Features of the Design for Life Montgomery Program

1. One program with two optional standards of accessibility.

2. Voluntary: Follows National Association of Homebuilder's guidelines that support voluntary programs.

3. Targets new construction and renovation of existing homes*.

4. Successful informal partnership of County, building and business community, and advocates.

5. Administered by the County as part of the regular permitting process, not a special process:
   • A checkbox for review and certification is on the standard application for permit.
   • There are no additional permitting costs, beyond the standard fees.

6. County Council Zoning Text Amendment provides by right the use of setback areas for access as an element of the full program.

*Please note: Homes built before the program was initiated can apply to Permitting Services for an Alteration Permit, for a minimal fee, and the home will be inspected by permitting staff for meeting the program requirements, and the owner will be issued a certificate for meeting the standards.