Now that almost half the country is fully vaccinated, things are beginning their slow return to normal. However, many people are still struggling to pay their rent on time because of COVID-related economic hardships. As a result, many renters continue to be in need of aid and assistance at the local, state, and federal levels.
Last June we published a guide to COVID-19 resources for renters, and in light of all the new developments that have recently taken place, we thought it’d helpful to gather a few new tips on how to navigate tenant laws and government programs, as well as some potential resources for those still in need of assistance. As these sites are constantly being updated as old programs run out and new ones become available, it’s always important to be familiar with any changes that may affect you and your ability to receive funding or assistance.
Check out the websites below to find the latest resources, aid, and advice on getting through these unprecedented times as a renter:
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Despite the nation’s ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, many among us are still experiencing economic hardships, including overwhelming debt, overdue rent or late fees, and the ongoing threat of eviction. To even the playing field, the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program is offering funding to help those that cannot pay rent or utilities. Encompassing two separate programs, the funds are used by states, territories, and local governments to provide aid through various assistance programs.
Find out more about the ERA here.
The Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Because of the effects of COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis impacting renters facing eviction or homelessness, many cities and states have developed or expanded emergency rental assistance programs to help individuals and families in need. As part of this program, $46.55 billion has been designated to help people struggling to pay rent or their utilities. Check here to search Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Programs in your area. The ERA Dashboard is also a helpful place to look to learn more about this and other programs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Resource Page
The HUD website is another place to go for information about rental assistance programs in your state, tips for communicating with your landlord about possible payment options, and a number for contacting housing counselors at the Disaster Response network. There’s even another useful list of additional resources at the bottom of their page.
Other Helpful Links
These helpful sites offer additional information about rental assistance programs, renter’s rights, and answer lots of frequently-asked questions about aid and government programs:
The NACo (National Association of Counties) website offers helpful information such as U.S. Treasury FAQ, a list of eligible local governments for the second round of ERA funding, and webinars that better explain the scope of each program.
Check this website to learn more about the COVID-19 Rent Assistance and Eviction Moratorium and learn about additional assistance that may be available through food stamps and meal programs. You can also download the CDC declaration form to present to your landlord here.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers tips for renters on how to avoid eviction, knowing their rights, resources for getting assistance, and more. They also offer resources for legal advice and info on HUD’s housing counseling program.
More resources for renters including advice, info on state and local assistance, and a handy Renters Resource Finder.
The above resources are all great ways to stay informed about available federal, state, and government programs that offer aid and assistance to renters in need. However, one of your best resources may also be your landlord. Keeping an open line of communication with your landlord is extremely important, especially if you’re experiencing financial difficulties. This encourages a good relationship that may become helpful during negotiations or when you need a little extra time with rent or late fees. If you ever feel like you’re unable to pay your rent, your landlord should be the first person you speak to. Some landlords will offer options such as extensions or rental deferments depending on the severity of the situation. Not all landlords are accommodating, of course, so it’s always important to know your rights as a tenant, which vary from state to state.
COVID-19 renter’s aid varies by location, and it’s important to be aware of existing programs in your area especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll. It’s also crucial, as mentioned above, to know your rights as a tenant before entering into a conversation with your landlord. You can search for tenant rights in your state here and here.