Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is eligible for the rental assistance program?

As provided by the authorizing statute, to qualify for assistance, renter households must meet criteria under items 1, 2, and 3.

  1. Income. Have an income no more than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)
  2.  AND Financially Impacted by the Pandemic. One or more members of the household must either:
    • confirm they have qualified for unemployment benefits, OR
    • attest in writing that due to or during the pandemic:
    – experienced a reduction in income,
    – incurred significant costs, or
    – experienced other financial hardship.
  3. AND At risk of homelessness or unsafe/unhealthy conditions. One or more individuals within the household must:
    •Demonstrate that they are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, by providing a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, OR
    • Attest that unless they receive rental assistance, they would have to move to an unsafe/unhealthy environment like a shared living situation or emergency shelter.
Will the assistance payments be made to the applicant?

The program must make payments directly to the landlord or utility company. An exception can be made if the provider refuses to accept payment from the program. If a landlord refuses to participate or for some reason does not submit the needed information, payments can be made directly to the tenant. You can contact your rental assistance program for more information.

Am I eligible to receive emergency rental assistance if I already received funding from other federally-funded programs?

Yes, however, ERA payments may not duplicate any other source of assistance provided to an eligible household. If an eligible household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance) and the tenant rent is adjusted according to changes in income, the renter household may receive ERA assistance only for the tenant-owed portion of rent or utilities that is not subsidized.

Is there an application deadline?

There are no application deadlines at this time.

How many months of delinquent rent can I apply for as a tenant?

Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance in rental arrears dating no earlier than March 2020, plus an additional 6 months if the program determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and funds are available. Assistance will first be provided to reduce an eligible household’s rental arrears before the household may receive assistance for future rent payments.
Note: All applicant submissions are eligible for 18 total months of assistance. Those applicants who receive the initial 15 months utilizing ERA 1.0 funding will receive the remaining 3 months from ERA 2.0 funds.

Is there a cap on the amount of assistance an eligible household can receive?

No. There is no cap on the amount of assistance; however, the maximum amount of rental assistance that the program can pay for each eligible month is equal to the tenant’s amount of rent for that month, not including late fees and other costs. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance in rental arrears.

If my application is approved, how soon will my landlord get paid?

Please remember that from the time of application to approval will vary case by case. There is a verification process that must be followed. However, once an application has been approved and the applicant has been notified of approval, payment should be received within 60 days.
Note: Notification of Approval for Payment (continued on next page) The landlord, tenant, and/or utility provider will be notified that a payment has been approved if an email address is present in the system. An applicant can also check the status of their application at any time through the online application portal, and the status will reflect when a payment has been made.

Can I get assistance with both rent and utilities at the same time?

Yes. One applicant can apply for rental assistance AND utility assistance on the same application provided they supply all of the required documentation for rent and utilities arrears.

Can I get help to pay off a balance owed even if I have already moved from the unit?

Yes, rent for formerly occupied rentals is eligible for assistance. However, you will still have to provide documents (i.e., a signed lease or rental agreement, statement of rent owed, etc.) to verify that rent was owed over the specified time period.

Can I get help even if I had a past-due balance before March 2020?

Any rent past due prior to March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, is not eligible in this program. However, the fact that you have a past due rent balance from before March 2020 does not exclude you from participating in the ERAP program for any rent and/or utilities past due beginning in March 2020.

I’m a landlord and my tenant owes rent. Can I apply on the tenant’s behalf?

While a landlord can initiate the application process for a tenant, an application cannot be submitted without the consent and certification of the tenant. Each application requires household-specific information. If a landlord starts an application for a household, the household must still submit all required documentation. If a tenant is unwilling to sign the application, assistance cannot be provided.

Do recipients of rental or utilities assistance have to pay the money back?

No. This is not a loan. Payments made on the tenant’s behalf do not have to be repaid either by the tenant or the landlord.

Do I need to have lawful immigration status to be eligible to receive rental assistance?

No. Individuals do not need to have a lawful immigration status to qualify for the program.