If you are a landlord struggling to stay afloat with tenants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is assistance available to you. State and local programs are taking applications from renters and landlords to distribute money from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program in their own communities. Below is a non-exhaustive list of federal, state, and local resources available to provide aid landlords experiencing late and non-payment by tenants.

Apply for Rental Assistance

Rental assistance can help you recover rent that your tenants owe and get your finances back on track. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

You may need to apply for your tenants.
As a landlord, you may think that rental assistance is for tenants. But right now, three in four programs funded by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program take applications from landlords. Federal law generally requires rental assistance payments be made directly to landlords. Landlords are permitted to aid their tenants in applying, or landlords may apply directly. Landlords who apply directly must meet certain conditions (including obtaining tenant signatures, notifying tenants of the application, and ensuring any funds received are applied to tenants' rental obligations). More information is available at RentHelpMN.org, Minnesota's rental assistance program.

Eligibility is based on your tenant’s needs.
Eligibility for federal rental assistance is based on your tenant’s household income, financial hardships they’re facing, and their housing situation.

Is rental assistance worth the trouble? You do the math.
Consider all your options. Money from federal rental assistance could cover up to 18 months of rent, including unpaid rent incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and future rent in certain cases, when the money is available. Evicting tenants can be time-consuming and expensive. When it’s over, you may never recover unpaid rent.

Explore Forbearance

Many homeowners are having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments. This includes property owners who depend on rental income to make ends meet. If it has become harder to pay your mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible for forbearance. This is a temporary pause or reduction in your monthly mortgage payments. Some owners may be concerned about their credit. However, during the pandemic emergency, getting forbearance may not affect your credit.

Talk to a Housing Counselor

Be proactive. Talk with a local expert who can help you locate rental assistance programs in your area, understand your options as a property owner, and make an action plan.

The above information is based on guidance from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and the Congressional Research Service. Last updated on August 25, 2021.