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Rental assistance may help you and your tenants get through the pandemic

Help is available for landlords

Landlords can get help too. You can apply for money to cover rent and utilities.

Start with a program in your area

As a landlord, income from rental payments may be the only way you pay your own mortgage, taxes, insurance, and other costs. When the rent comes in short, or not at all, you might find yourself struggling to make ends meet.

Like your tenants, you may be experiencing financial challenges

The financial strain brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has hit some groups harder than others. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), over half of renters who work in hard-hit industries that saw closures and cut-backs live in single-family and small multifamily rentals . Three-quarters of these rental properties are owned by individual “mom and pop” investors – folks with their own bills to pay.

Smaller landlords are especially vulnerable to rent shortfalls

Mom and pop landlords may also face social and economic challenges of their own. For instance, a third of landlords in two-to-four unit buildings are older than 65 and mostly retired . New research suggests that forty percent of these independent landlords have a mortgage – so if they lose an important source of income, they may also lose their homes. According to the Urban Institute, Black and Hispanic landlords may be more likely than White non-Hispanic landlords to hold a mortgage or own just one rental property .

Independent landlords are an important force in the rental economy. Over half of the nation’s affordable rental stock is owned by individual investors , according to JCHS. If too many mom and pop investors are forced to sell their properties because of rent shortfalls, this may make it even harder for working class families to find an affordable rental home.

Learn about federal emergency rental assistance and share this information with your tenants

If you’re a landlord, you may think of federal emergency rental assistance as help for renters. But at the moment, most programs require landlords to apply for assistance first. Where tenants can apply, they often need help from landlords to complete the application process.

When tenants stop paying the rent, this can be hard on landlords too. State and local programs are taking applications from landlords and renters for rental assistance. Learn more about rental assistance and how to find a local rental assistance program.

To find an emergency rental assistance program in your area, visit the U.S. Department of Treasury’s lookup tool .

Rental assistance can cover back rent, including utilities, that came due during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ask your local program about the total amount of help available – depending on the program’s funding, it could be 15 months or 18 months of rent. Money may also be available to cover future rent.

Some emergency rental assistance programs have conditions – they may require landlords to waive late fees, forgive a portion of the rent, or agree not to evict because of nonpayment in the months that rent is covered. To learn about local rules, use this tool from the U.S. Department of Treasury to find your local emergency rental assistance program.

Work with your tenant to find a shared solution

You may be facing tough choices during the pandemic. Evictions can be time-consuming and expensive. Consider having a conversation with your tenant to find the right alternative to eviction, including applying for rental assistance. Together, you might make a plan to help them pay back their remaining rent. Learn more about starting the conversation with your tenants.

Share information about rental assistance with your networks

Like other folks, you probably rely on friends and family, work colleagues, and other trusted professionals to stay on top of rapid developments during the pandemic. If you’ve found this information helpful, please share our handouts with your networks as well as your tenants.


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