More than a year after the onset of COVID, it’s estimated that 8 million Americans are behind on rent. We’ve closely monitored rent payment behavior to keep a pulse on how multifamily is faring during the crisis and inform apartment owners and operators.
Throughout 2020 and continuing into 2021, both legislators and rental housing leaders have lobbied to support the multifamily industry by fighting for comprehensive rent relief. State and local lawmakers also launched a patchwork of rent relief funds and eviction moratoriums to fill in financial gaps, while the CDC’s national eviction moratorium has been extended multiple times.
It wasn’t until January 2021 that the prospect of federal rent relief became a reality with the signing of a $900 billion relief package — including $25 billion in rent assistance.
Below, we have a state-by-state breakdown of the $25 billion federal rental assistance program, including details around:
The Treasury launched the $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 26, pandemic rental aid funds are disbursed directly to States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes, and grantees are to use the funds to provide assistance to eligible households through either existing or newly created rent assistance programs.
In order to qualify for rental assistance through the national program, at least one member of a household must have lost income or incurred significant expenses as a result of the pandemic, or be eligible for unemployment benefits. Applicants must also demonstrate a risk of homelessness.
In addition, income levels for 2020 cannot exceed 80% of the applicant’s area’s median income. Applicants should expect to show in writing that they meet these qualifications.
Renters do not need to be behind on rent in order to qualify, but they cannot get money for future rent payments until any rental arrears are paid off.
For information on how and where to apply, scroll below to locate state-specific application details, as application processes will differ state by state, and city by city. Many locales and states already have existing rent assistance funds, and it is through one of these that new aid will be available. In other cases, new programs will be created to disburse the funds. Property managers are able to apply on behalf of renters, but must obtain the renter’s signature and provide them with a copy of the application.
Renters can receive up to 12 months of back rent and utility bills, and potentially an additional three months of financial support if funds are still available. In some cases, renters may receive funds to cover future rent payments, but only if there’s a plan to address debts. Funds are paid directly to property managers or utility companies.
Please consult the Treasury Department’s FAQs, which details information and guidance to state and local grantees in charge of disseminating rent assistance funds. Additionally, the NMHC is continually updating their Rental Assistance FAQ page.
Disclaimer: This Rental Assistance Tracker is courtesy of LeaseLock, the only provider of a nationwide A- rated lease insurance program that totally eliminates security deposits, surety bonds and guarantors. The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This article contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; LeaseLock does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.
To download a PDF of the comprehensive list of state emergency rent assistance programs, fill out the form below: