Emergency Rental Assistance: Help Your Tenants Pay Rent

Sometimes, tenants cannot come up with the rent, whether it’s due to a family emergency, unexpected repairs or other cause.  As a landlord, you can help your tenant as well as yourself by researching in advance a list of emergency rental assistance programs in your area.

When your tenant notifies you of late rent or you are forced to serve a pay or quit notice, you can also hand them a list of resources that may be able to provide emergency rent assistance for qualified cases. In the long run, your tenants will be grateful for your help and you’ll benefit because you’ll get the money owed to you.

State Emergency Rental Assistance Programs

Many states have enacted emergency rent assistance programs for low income residents who are facing housing emergencies. Generally these programs step in and provide money for overdue rent when the tenants are facing eviction. Elderly households and those with disabilities may also qualify for such assistance.

These state-funded programs are usually limited in the amount of money they can contribute and are also restricted on the frequency of assistance to any particular tenant.

One example of this type of program includes the Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the Department of Human Services of the District of Columbia.

City Emergency Rental Assistance Programs

Many larger cities also have programs in place for emergency rental assistance. These programs allow qualified applicants to keep their housing during certain financial hardships, such as loss of job or long-term illness. These are usually one-time grants up to a certain amount and are only open to eligible applicants.

An example of this type of rent help program is the Emergency Rental Assistance Program via the Community Service Centers of the Human Services Department of the City of Chicago.

Charitable Programs

Many organizations exist that will help tenants in dire need when they need help paying their rent. Some charities limit the eligibility requirements to families with children, while others restrict applicants to low income residents. Still others may simply pay out a set amount per month as their budget allows on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Examples of charitable groups that may help with emergency rent assistance include the United Way, Red Cross, and local churches.

Prepare a List in Advance

Taking the time to research what organizations can help tenants with emergency rent assistance will pay off in the long run. All you need to compile is a list of program names, addresses, phone numbers and a contact person.

Make sure you Type all the information up and keep several copies of the list next to your pay or vacate notices. When you reach for a late rent notice, you can also grab a rent assistance list to pass on to your tenants.

Information Helps Everyone

If your tenants are really struggling, they will be grateful for the information and hopefully start making contact with the groups. Not only will you be helping your tenants during tough times, but you’ll keep your business going strong by getting them the assistance they need in paying the rent on time.

Do you have any experience in working with an emergency rent assistance organization? Are there any other resources out there you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

I started RentPrep in 2007 and our mission is to pull the stress out of being a landlord.

We do this by helping you find the best tenant and providing educational resources along the way.

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