Legal Alert

CFPB Releases Online Tool to Help Renters and Landlords Access Federal Assistance

by Amy M. Glassman and Sumbul I. Alam
August 3, 2021

The eviction moratorium set last September amidst the coronavirus pandemic expired July 31. Tenant nonpayment of residential rents has been an ongoing issue throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and could result in over 3.6 million people evicted within the next few months.

While certain localities and programs have extended the moratorium, and while the CDC extended the moratorium until October 3 in areas with a surge in COVID-19 cases, widespread evictions may be harmful to landlords and tenants. Ballard Spahr landlord clients should be aware that federal resources are available to recoup unpaid rent and utility costs and avoid tenant evictions.

The Treasury Department’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program allows both landlords and tenants to apply through local and state agencies to cover rental arrears and prospective rent where a household was directly or indirectly impacted by the pandemic, experienced a reduction in income, or where at least one member of the household may be at the risk of homelessness. Landlords who apply to the program may be required to have a tenant co-signor to insure the household receives the benefits.

The ERA program earmarks $47 billion in available funds for housing stability efforts such as payment of rent arrears, prospective rent, utilities and home energy costs. Landlords and tenants can apply for full payment of rent arrears accrued after March 13, 2020. Prospective rent payments can also be requested for a three-month time period and may be extended for up to a maximum of 18 months, depending on the availability of funds and tenant’s re-application. The emergency assistance may prohibit landlords from evicting the tenant whose arrears or prospective rent were covered with ERA assistance for a period of 30 to 90 days after the period of covered assistance, depending on individual requirements of the grantee.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a tool to help tenants and landlords find and apply for ERA payment assistance. The Rental Assistance Finder can be accessed here. The CFPB tool connects renters and landlords with available funding provided through local and state agencies that are distributing billions of dollars nationwide to help tenants stay housed during the pandemic.

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This alert is a periodic publication of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.

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