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Rent relief applications for Houston-area landlords start Monday. Here's what you need to know

Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday that landlords will start applying for up to $2,112 per household next week. Tenants will apply the week after that.

HOUSTON — Need help paying rent due to COVID-19

The BakerRipley COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program, funded by Harris County and the City of Houston, is bringing financial relief to thousands of tenants impacted by the pandemic.

Harris County provided $25 million in funding, and the City of Houston provided $20 million, which will be distributed to participating landlords on behalf of eligible tenants.

Tenants whose landlords agree to the program terms may apply for rental assistance for past due rent.

Depending on the tenant’s property and income, tenants may be eligible for up to $1,200 of rental assistance from Harris County or $2,112 of rental assistance from the City of Houston.

This will not be first-come first serve. Mayor Turner said the program will prioritize who gets the money based on their vulnerability.

HOW IT WORKS

LANDLORDS (Enrollment period: Aug. 17-24):

  • To qualify, you must agree to these terms:
  • Unit must be inside City of Houston or Harris County
  • Waive all late fees and interest for that month
  • Allow for interest/penalty-free payment plan for any rent due in excess of $2,112 and any balance in rent through August 
  • Refrain from initiating eviction process or rescind any prior eviction process through August 
  • Agree to refrain from evictions through September 2020
  • Agree to enter into a payment agreement with all tenants of property under the following conditions and with the following terms:
  • Tenant represents they have a COVID-related hardship, and if qualified, they applied for assistance
  • Tenant isn’t in default of a payment agreement they previously negotiated with the landlord
  • Payment agreement includes any back rent owed before the beginning of the program
  • Tenant pays the first payment no later than October 1 and the last payment no later than November 30

NEXT STEPS:

  1. Sign up immediately to be a Participating Landlord
  2. Inform qualifying tenants with delinquent rent that they may apply for assistance starting August 17
  3. Be sure your tenants have computer and internet access when the tenant system goes live

TENANTS (Enrollment period: Aug. 24-30):

  • Tenant’s landlord must be on the Participating Landlord Directory
  • Have unpaid rent from April - August
  • Have a landlord who agrees to the landlord terms
  • Prior to April 2020, household income is less than 80 percent of Aera Median Income or tenant is currently participating in any of the programs listed
  • Cannot pay rent due to economic harm or healthcare impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

NEXT STEPS: 

  • If possible, secure computer or smartphone access to submit your application between August 24 and August 30 
  • Check to see if your landlord is on the Participating Landlord List 
  • If not, ask your landlord to sign up as a Participating Landlord 
  • Prepare to submit your application online or via the telephone number below 
  • Ask your landlord for a payment plan

Tenants applications are selected for processing after Aug. 31. Payments will be processed to landlords after Sept. 8.

For more information on how the program works and how to apply, click here.