Rental assistance for owners and landlords has become the need of the hour. The economic distress caused by the pandemic has hit the real estate industry harder than ever. In California, over half of the tenants who live in single-family and multi-family units and work in hard-hit industries experienced closures and cutbacks during COVID-19.
The recent extension of the eviction moratorium through October 3, 2021, has brought some relief for tenants and owners. However, understanding legal complexities and provisions related to the agreement can be daunting. This article will help you understand how rental assistance works and help you and your tenants get through the pandemic.
A Brief Introduction to Rental Assistance
Due to the economic setback of COVID-19, the government has introduced different emergency rental assistance programs at federal and state levels to provide support for tenants and landlords.
Federal emergency rental assistance is more likely to accept applications from tenants having trouble with their rents, payments, and utilities. Once you fill in the application, you can get financial help from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance programs that aid in covering basic rental needs, such as electricity, gas, oil, fuel, sewer, water, and trash removal. Other expenses such as internet services, transportation, application fees, security deposits may also be managed.
A few Merced property management companies that also provide rental counseling, legal representation, and other housing services can guide you through the application process.
California Emergency Rental Assistance Payment Program
Many people have lost their jobs during the pandemic and are trying to sustain the day-to-day by dipping into their savings. As a result, renters have been unable to manage their monthly expenditures and payments. This has also affected landlords who depend on monthly rental payments to meet their mortgage obligations.
To help landlords and eligible households in need, the ERA (Emergency Rental Association) Program has created several policies that help cover rents and utility payments during the pandemic.
- Rent Relief
Both renters and landlords can apply for rental assistance to get government aid that can be used to cover future and pending rent. Eligible citizens can request aid for payments dating up to April 1, 2020, and future upcoming rent. This program is open to all income-eligible people living in the U.S., irrespective of their immigration status.
- Utility Bills Payment
Both landlords and renters can apply for financial assistance for utility bill payments, past, and future. These bills will be paid directly to the utility provider. Apart from essential utility bills, it also covers water, trash, and internet bills from April 01, 2020, onward.
Alternatively, renters can approach LIHEAP (Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program), funded by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, California. People with no income can contact and get assistance in paying their energy bills with this program.
- Eligibility For Availing Rental Assistance
Landlords and tenants are required to prove their eligibility to avail of California rental assistance. These are as follows:
- Tenant eligibility requirements
A tenant must have the lease agreement to apply for emergency rental assistance. They are also required to confirm that they are jobless and have low savings thus cannot fulfill rental requirements. The tenant’s income should be below $39,150 to avail of the benefits. At least one member of your family should have financial instability, which can lead to the risk of becoming homeless or finding a stable place to live.
- Landlord Eligibility Requirements
The landlord is similarly required to produce the lease or rental agreement with the renter’s name, residential address, and monthly rent. In addition, you need to present the rent ledger or rent statement, which proves the balance of unpaid rent from after April 1, 2020.
In addition, you will need to fill out a couple of tax forms as well.
While the state government has tried to keep getting rental assistance, it is always good to have professional help pointing you in the right direction.
River Drive Properties is a leading property management company in Merced, California, that provides high-quality property management services. If you need any help concerning your rental property and tenancy, connect with us at River Drive Properties.