Emergency Rental Assistance Program

July 13, 2021

Photo courtesy of Curb

Follow this link to apply and find more helpful resources: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/Emergency-Rental-Assistance/

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program provides economic benefits for low and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. 

Household qualifications:

  • Household gross income is at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI)
  • Follow this link to determine your eligibility: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/ERAP-80-area-median-income.pdf 
  • A household may qualify based on current income or calendar year 2020 income that is at or below 80 percent AMI.
  • On or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The applicant is obligated to pay rent at their primary residence and has rental arrears (rent overdue) at their current residence for rent owed on or after March 13, 2020.
  • The household must be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which can be demonstrated by having rental arrears owed on or after March 13, 2020

Benefits:

  • Up to 12 months of rental arrears payments for rents accrued on or after March 13, 2020
  • Up to 3 months of additional rental assistance if the household is expected to spend 30 percent or more of their gross monthly income to pay for rent
  • Up to 12 months of electric or gas utility arrears payments for arrears that have accrued on or after March 13, 2020
  • *Notes: 
  • Payments will be made directly to the landlord/property owner and utility company on behalf of the tenant
  • Tenant applicants will be notified of the amounts paid on their behalf. 
  • If a landlord is difficult to locate or does not otherwise provide information needed to complete the application, funds will be held for up to 180 days to allow sufficient time to locate the landlord and collect required information as well as to provide tenant protections and maximize landlord participation

Documentation requirements:

  • For renter applicants: 
  • Personal identification for all household members. 
  • Acceptable forms of identification include: 
  • A photo ID, driver license or non-driver government-issued ID, passport, EBT/Benefits Issuance Card, birth or baptismal certificate, school registration.
  • Social Security number of any household members who have been issued one. 
    • Individuals do not need to have a lawful immigration status to qualify for the program.
  • Proof of rental amount, signed lease, even if expired. 
    • If no lease is available then proof can be shown through a rent receipt, canceled check or money order. 
    • If no documentation is available, landlord attestation will be accepted.
  • Proof of residency and occupancy 
    • Signed lease, rent receipt, utility bill, school records, bank statement, postal mail with name of applicant, insurance bill, or driver license. 
    • Proof should be current.
  • Proof of Income to document income eligibility:
    • Documents demonstrating monthly income for the prior month, 
      • Such as pay stubs, bank account deposit verification, unemployment benefits letter, or other proof

OR

·         Documents demonstrating annual income for 2020

·         Such as a W-2 tax form from an employer, an annual statement of earnings, or a copy of a completed income tax return, such as a 1040, 1040EZ, 1099 tax form, or other evidence of 2020 annual income.

·         Self-attestation of income is permitted in certain circumstances where no documentation is available such as certain self-employment.

·         Copy of gas or electric utility bill

·         *Note: if applying for help paying for utility arrears at the same rental unit.

·         *Note: Applicants will be asked to attest that on or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

·         The applicant will need to sign the application form and associated certifications agreeing that the information provided in the application is accurate.

  • For landlord applicants: 
  • Completed W-9 tax form.
  • Executed lease with tenant applicant
  • Or if there is no written lease, a cancelled check, evidence of funds transfer or other documentation of the last full monthly rent payment.
  • Documentation of rent due from tenant (e.g. ledger, etc.)
    • Or attestation on application.
  • Banking information to receive direct deposit payment.
  • *Note: The property owner or an authorized property management company will be required to sign the application form and associated certifications agreeing that the information provided, including the amount of rental arrears owed, is accurate and does not duplicate a payment received from another program
  • Following terms as a condition of accepting rental arrears payments that the property owner or authorized property management company must agree to:
    • The ERAP payment satisfies the tenant’s full rental obligations for the time period covered by the payment.
    • Waive any late fees due on any rental arrears covered by the ERAP payment.
    • Not increase the monthly rental amount above the monthly amount due at the time of application for ERAP assistance for months for which rental assistance is received and for one year from receipt of the ERAP payment.
    • Not evict the household on behalf of whom the ERAP payment is made for reason of expired lease or holdover tenancy for one year from the receipt of the ERAP payment. 
      • An exception to this requirement shall be made if the dwelling unit contains four or fewer units and the property owner or owner’s immediate family members intend to immediately occupy the unit for use as a primary residence. 

Application:

  • The program opened June 1, 2021 and remains open for applications online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • *Note: Once the application is started, all questions must be answered and the application signed and saved to submit the application. 
  • There currently is no way to save a partially completed application. 
  • Applicants who previously started, but did not complete and sign an application, must start a new application. 
  • Applicants who have completed and signed an application can upload required documentation at any time

**Note

Seven communities are administering their own programs: City of Rochester; Monroe County; City of Yonkers; Onondaga County; Hempstead; Islip; Oyster Bay. Unlike others, these communities must apply with their local programs for emergency rental assistance and are ineligible for assistance from the state-administered Emergency Rental Assistance Program. 

This information is the most up to date news available as of the date posted. Please be advised that any information posted on the KI Legal Blog or Social Channels is being supplied for informational purposes only and is subject to change at any time. For more information, and clarity surrounding your individual organization or current situation, contact a member of the KI Legal team, or fill out a new client intake form.