What Are the Qualifications for Rental Assistance With DoNotPay
Knowing how to get help with rent can mean the difference between remaining housed and being evicted. Given that most funding for eviction prevention is needs-based, it's always a good idea to understand what the qualifications for rental assistance are before applying. Funding for those in need of rent help is available through local churches, government agencies, charitable organizations, and more.
With DoNotPay, navigating the application process for rental assistance is a breeze. DoNotPay can help you find rental assistance programs that you're qualified for and expedite application approvals. With DoNotPay, you can quickly and successfully avoid legal action from your landlord and maintain stable housing.
What Types of Rental Assistance Are Available?
There are three primary types of rental assistance available. These are:
- Rental assistance to prevent eviction
- Move-in cost assistance for those who need to be rehoused
- Long-term rental assistance for low-income families with an ongoing risk of homelessness
Eviction prevention assistance will cover some or all of your past due rent, your late fees, and any other charges that your landlord intends to sue you for in eviction court. Move-in cost assistance will cover some or all of your deposit, and some or all of your first and last month's rent. These monies are frequently offered as part of local rapid rehousing programs, by churches, and by social service agencies that cater to people experiencing specific types of hardship. Finally, long-term rental assistance for low-income families offers applicants access to affordable options in public housing, HUD rental assistance, and affordable housing developments. With this type of rental housing assistance program, you'll be able to minimize your ongoing living costs and limit your risk of experiencing eviction in the future.
Who's Eligible for Rental Assistance?
Certain forms of government rent assistance require applicants to have experienced a specific type of financial hardship. For instance, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) only offers assistance to people who've experienced a COVID-related hardship. Applicants for ERAP must meet specific eligibility criteria including:
- Having received unemployment benefits any time after March 2020
- Having experienced a loss of income due to COVID
- Having experienced a significant decrease in working hours due to COVID
- Having received an eviction notice or a notice to pay or quit
Whether you apply for rental assistance via a local social service agency, a church, or a charitable organization, you'll find that the average rental housing assistance program has firm limits on how much applicants and their households can earn. Most programs require applicants to be at or below 80 percent of the median income for the area. Moreover, certain forms of rental assistance are additionally earmarked for meeting the needs of specific demographics such as:
- Senior citizens who are at risk of homelessness
- People with severe, permanent disabilities
- Domestic violence victims
- People living with HIV who are at risk of homelessness
To know what the specific eligibility criteria are for any type of rental aid, you will need to contact the related funding agency directly.
How Does the Rental Assistance Program Work?
Rental assistance programs often work directly with both tenants and landlords to resolve rental arrears or assist with move-in costs. When local agencies remit payments, they send checks directly to landlords. Thus, if you need help paying your rent today to avoid eviction, a funding agency can inform your landlord that payment will be on the way shortly. Having an agency contact a frustrated landlord is often sufficient for bringing further legal action to a halt.
Rather than preventing eviction, long-term rent assistance programs are designed to make rent more affordable for low-income tenants overall. With these programs, applicants can qualify for public housing, low-income housing developments, below market value (BMV) rentals, or other low-cost units. Housing voucher programs provide similar benefits. In each of these cases, an approved applicant's rental costs will represent just a small portion of their regular income.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Rental Assistance?
Whether you're applying for government-subsidized rental assistance or rental assistance that's offered by a small, charitable organization, waiting for your application to be approved can take time. This can be especially stressful if you need urgent help paying rent to avoid eviction.
When local agencies are inundated with requests for rental assistance, it often takes several weeks for applications to be processed. When demand for rent aid is incredibly high, some agencies may take a month or more to respond.
The good news is that most agencies will be in contact with your landlord throughout this time. Thus, if you're wondering how long it will take to receive rental assistance, you can rest assured that your property management company will be kept in the loop while your application is being reviewed. Although your landlord or property management company might not have a check in-hand within just a matter of days, they will know that action is being taken to resolve your debt.
How to Get Rental Assistance on Your Own
Resources for rental assistance are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with qualification being largely needs-based. It's additionally important to note that funding provided by churches, small social service agencies, and charitable organizations will often represent just a small portion of the cash that people actually need.
For example, many churches, agencies, and programs limit their assistance to just $300 per person. Thus, it's best to find and apply for as many funding opportunities as you can.
Next Steps If You Can't Get Approved for Rental Assistance on Your Own
Finding rental assistance that you're qualified to receive could prove challenging. If you've contacted a number of local, charitable organizations, churches, social service agencies, and government entities but are still getting turned down, try calling 211.
This is a great way to get connected with community resources in your area. 211 operators screen callers based upon their income levels, the nature of their financial hardships, and the rent-related problems that they're currently experiencing. When you call 211, you'll get a list of companies that are currently offering needs-specific options in support. You can also get internal referrals to these agencies. 211 operators can even help you schedule in-person appointments.
DoNotPay Can Help With Rental Assistance
With the Rental Assistance product from DoNotPay, you can find and apply for:
- Past due rent assistance
- Assistance with your rental deposit or other move-in costs
- Help with late fees
- Public housing
- Section 8 and Housing Choice Voucher programs
- Emergency rental assistance programs (ERAP) for COVID-related hardships
- Utility assistance
How to Apply for Housing Assistance in Your Area With DoNotPay
We can compose a letter to your local housing authority based on your situation and inquire about your best options for receiving assistance. Here are the 4 steps:
- Search for Rental Assistance on DoNotPay.
- Put together a list of your income, debts, expenses, and assets. If you need help accessing information like your credit report, DoNotPay can help you get your report.
- Let DoNotPay collect your basic information and compose a letter to your local housing authority requesting rental assistance.
- Lastly, DoNotPay will send your letter to your local housing authority.
Why Use DoNotPay to Get Rental Assistance?
DoNotPay makes it easy to get help with your past-due rent or your move-in costs. Using the Rental Assistance product from DoNotPay is the fastest way to get urgent funding for rent when you need it.
Rental Assistance by State
DoNotPay can also provide you information on rental assistance programs and qualifications for different states.
DoNotPay Works Across All Groups, Agencies, and Companies With One Click
With DoNotPay, you can submit your appeal for funding to multiple agencies at once. DoNotPay works across all groups, companies, and entities with a single click.
What Else Can DoNotPay Help With?
Whether you need help finding rental assistance that you're qualified to receive or have other complex and time-consuming tasks to take care of, DoNotPay can help you get the job done fast.
With DoNotPay, you can quickly:
- Set up a DMV appointment
- File a formal complaint against a neighbor
- Sue someone in small claims court
- Find and apply for scholarships
- Take advantage of free trial offers
If you're ready to get fast, accurate information on the qualifications for rental assistance, sign up for DoNotPay today.