Help for renters
If you’re having trouble making rent payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone.
Federal, state, and local governments are offering help with housing expenses and avoiding eviction. Find out what this means for you, and what you can do.
Take action to avoid eviction
Understand your rights if you're worried about eviction
We can help you understand what next steps to take, based on your situation right now.
Some state and local governments have limited evictions to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Get help paying rent and utilities
Find emergency help for rent and utilities
If you’re having trouble paying for rent and utilities, you’re not alone. The federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program was created to help you cover housing costs and stay in stable housing during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Money can be used to cover back rent and future rent, utilities, and other housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Money may be available to help with moving costs
- Payments usually go directly to landlords and utility companies
Get year-round help with utility bills
Contact your local Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) office to get help paying your energy bills.
or call the National Energy Assistance Referral Hotline at (866)-674-6327.
Take advantage of free housing help
There is a lot to navigate. Housing counselors can help you understand your options, make an action plan, and even help you apply for rental assistance.
If you’d like help from a local expert, contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s housing counseling program.
Income recertification can help renters who get help from HUD
If you already get rental help from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and your income has changed, you might qualify for lower rent. Or, you might qualify for a hardship exemption that allows you to skip one or more rent payments.
Ask for "income recertification" through your Public Housing Authority (PHA) or landlord. Do this as soon as possible. The change in rent could apply to unpaid rent.
You can certify your income by email, text, or fax. Be sure to give your landlord or PHA your original signature later. Talk to them to learn how.
Talk to your landlord about a repayment agreement
Eviction can be costly and difficult for renters and landlords. It’s probably something you'd both prefer to avoid. In addition to applying for emergency rental assistance, now may be the time to start a conversation with your landlord about some alternatives to paying your full rent each month.
Find out if you have more protections
Protections for renters in federally subsidized housing
If you receive a tenant-based voucher or live in a building with 5 or more units:
- You may be protected from eviction for unpaid rent. If your landlord is getting mortgage forbearance relief, they might not be allowed to evict you or charge you late fees for unpaid rent.
- You may have the right to a CARES Act 30-day notice to vacate before your landlord can try to evict you.
- Your landlord may be prohibited from trying to collect late fees or penalties from between March 27 and July 24, 2020.
These protections apply to millions of units throughout the United States.
Tenant and debt collection rights
Beyond the CARES Act, you also have local, state and federal rights protecting you during the pandemic. Some may help you stay in your home and postpone eviction.
As a renter, you have:
- state and local renters' rights
- rights as a domestic violence survivor
- the right to report a bad landlord
- the right to report housing discrimination
Rights for active duty servicemembers
Under the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA), most active duty servicemembers have additional rights as renters.
Talk to local expert
This can be a lot to navigate. There are local experts who can help, for free or at a low cost.
If your landlord is threatening to evict you, or you need help understanding your rights, talk to a lawyer. You may qualify for free legal aid, based on your income.