Treasury Website for New Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Regulation | January 06, 2021 | by Linda Couch

A website for the new $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program has been published by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Congress authorized the new program as part of the December 27 COVID-19 relief package, along with a one month extension of the CDC’s national eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent until January 31, 2021.

A website for the new $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program has been published by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Congress authorized the new program as part of the December 27 COVID-19 relief package, along with a one month extension of the CDC’s national eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent until January 31, 2021.

The Treasury website provides basic information to state and local governments with populations greater than 200,000 who are tasked with administering the $25 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance, as well as basic information for renters. Soon, the website will also include amounts provided to each state and local government under the program.

The Treasury website includes a list of all eligible state and local governments and a January 12 deadline for governments to declare they wish to participate in the program. Treasury must distribute funds within 30 days of the bill’s December 27 enactment. Generally, all of the $25 billion must be spent by December 31, 2021. This should not be a problem given the range of assessments of rent owed because of the pandemic from $34 billion to $70 billion.

Funds from the Emergency Rental Assistance program can be used for the payment of rent, rental arrears, utilities and home energy costs (and arrears), and other expenses.

Landlords, with tenant signature, and renters can apply directly to state and local governments for the funds. While most HUD-assisted owners and renters will not be eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance, owners and renters of Low Income Housing Tax Credit units and completely non-federally assisted units. In general, funds will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers. If a landlord does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the eligible household.

Per the new law, requirements for applications submitted on behalf of tenants include the landlord obtaining the tenant signature on the application, which may be documented electronically; the landlord has to provide documentation of the landlord’s application to the tenant; and, any payments received by the landlord from the program must be used to satisfy the tenant’s rental obligations to the owner.

Assisted households must have incomes below 80% of area median income and meet other criteria (decrease of income directly or indirectly due to COVID-19 and at risk of housing instability or homelessness).

Access the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program website.