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.
Get help paying rent and utilities
Find emergency help if you can’t pay rent and utilities
You can apply for help from state and local organizations.
- Money can be used to cover back rent and future rent, utilities, and other housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Payments usually go directly to landlords and utility companies
- Money may be available to help with moving costs
You or your landlord may be able to apply, depending on where you live.
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.
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 alternative rent repayment options
Eviction can be costly and difficult for renters and landlords, and is likely 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.
Take action to avoid eviction
Sign the CDC Declaration and send it to your landlord
You may have the right to stay in your home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) halted most evictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But, you must take action to use this right.
Find other eviction protections
In your area, or in your situation, there could be other ways to make sure you can stay in your rental home.
- Find out if your state or local government is stopping evictions. Some state and local governments have limited evictions to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- Ask your landlord if they are getting mortgage help. If your landlord is getting mortgage forbearance relief, you may be protected from eviction. Find out if you’re in covered housing
- See if the CARES Act still protects you. Most CARES Act protections have expired. But if your landlord is trying to collect fees or evict you for unpaid rent or fees charged between March 27and July 24, 2020, you may have some protections. See more about CARES Act protections
- Active duty servicemembers, you may have more rights. The Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) gives most active duty servicemembers certain eviction protections, and requires landlords to get a court order before evicting a service member.
Know your tenant and debt collection rights
As a renter, you have local, state, and federal rights during the pandemic. These may help you stay in your home.
As a renter, you have:
- rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
- state and local renters' rights
- rights as a domestic violence survivor
- the right to report a bad landlord
- the right to report housing discrimination
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.