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COVID Rent Relief Extension Program

COVID Rent Relief Extension Program
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Overview & Eligibility

The application period for this program ended Monday, Feb. 1, 2021.

 

Previous Applicants for COVID Rent Relief will not have to reapply to be reconsidered. HCR will re-evaluate all applications that were denied according to the new criteria and issue revised determination letters to applicants.

 

The COVID Rent Relief Extension Program will provide eligible households with a one-time rental subsidy that will be sent directly to the household’s landlord. Applicants will not need to repay this assistance. The Covid Rent Relief Extension Program is not first come, first served. Applications will be accepted throughout the application period. HCR will prioritize eligible households with “greatest economic and social need."

 

For the next round of applications, tenants will have to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must be a renter and have a primary residence in New York State;
  • Applicants must have lost income during the period of April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020;
  • Before March 7, 2020 and at the time the application is submitted, household income must be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size; and
  • Households must be “rent burdened” during the months they are applying for assistance between April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020. 

 

The subsidy for eligible applicants will be calculated as: the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the household’s rent burden during the months of April, May, June and July of 2020 (coverage period), except that for applicants whose rent burden was lower than 30% on March 1st the subsidy will be sized to reduce their rent burden to 30% for the lowest month during the coverage period.

 

For help, applicants can contact HCR’s COVID Rent Relief Extension Program Call Center for assistance at 1-833-499-0318 or [email protected]. Call Center representatives are available Monday through Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm.

Call Center staff are available to assist residents in filling out the application over the phone.

 

For more details about how the program works, qualifications, what you will need to apply and other criteria, please download the program overview below:

COVID Rent Relief Program Extension Overview

Application, Documents & Information

Frequently Asked Questions

 Translated Documents:

Español  | 中國 - 傳統Русский Kreyòl ayisyen한국어 | বাংলা

 

Translated FAQ Documents:

 Español  | 中國 - 傳統 | Русский Kreyòl ayisyen | 한국어 | বাংলা

 

What is the COVID Rent Relief Program? The New York State Legislature established this program to help households experiencing an increase in their rent burden due to a loss of income during the COVID-19 crisis.  Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded the eligibility criteria and extended the application period. The eligibility criteria changed as noted below.
Is the COVID Rent Relief Program reopening? Yes. Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the COVID Rent Relief Program temporarily and has expanded its eligibility criteria. All applications must be received by February 1, 2021.
What are the new eligibility requirements for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program?

To qualify for COVID Rent Relief assistance, applicants must meet all of the following eligibility rules:

1. Have a primary residence in New York State.

2. Have not previously received a subsidy from the COVID Rent Relief Program.

3. Household income prior to March 7, 2020 must be at or below 80% of the area median income for their county and household size. Applicants can find their county’s area median income, based on household size:  https://hcr.ny.gov/eligible-income-limits-80-ami-county

Example: In Clinton County, 80% of the area median income for a household of four is $58,960. If you are a household of four, and your household income is at or below this amount, your household would meet this criteria.

4. During the coverage period (April 1, 2020-July 31, 2020), household must have paid more than 30% of gross monthly income for rent. (Applicant household’s gross monthly income is the total amount of income received each month, prior to any deductions such as taxes, Social Security, medical insurance, etc.)

Example: Your gross monthly household income is $2,000. Thirty percent of your monthly household income would be $600, but you pay $700 a month in rent. Your household would meet this criteria.

5. Have less monthly income in any month between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 than prior to March 1, 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

Example: If you are paid hourly and have had your hours reduced since April 1, 2020, or have lost employment, you would meet these criteria.

Is rental assistance provided on a first come, first served basis? The COVID Rent Relief Program is not first come, first served. Applications will be accepted through February 1, 2021 and all applications must be received by that date. New York State Homes and Community Renewal (“NYSHCR”) will prioritize eligible households with “greatest economic and social need.”
What if I have already been approved for assistance under the COVID Rent Relief Program and my landlord received a subsidy award? Can I reapply for additional assistance? No. If your application has already been approved, and your landlord has or will receive a subsidy award on your behalf, you cannot reapply for additional assistance under the COVID Rent Relief Program. Please be aware that the extended COVID Rent Relief Program expands eligibility criteria, but would not result in a larger subsidy award than what households received under the prior program.
What if I was previously denied for the COVID Rent Relief Program? NYSHCR will be reopening and reviewing previously denied applications that may be eligible for award under the new eligibility criteria.  NYSHCR will contact applicants if additional information is necessary to process the application.
Will I be contacted if my application is being reconsidered under the new eligibility criteria? Yes.  NYSHCR will notify you if your application is being reopened and reviewed under the new eligibility criteria. 
I applied by paper application and was told my application was unable to be processed or incomplete.  Am I able to reapply?

Yes.  You can reapply for the program. 

***We recommend contacting the Call Center for additional assistance in completing your application.  The Call Center can assist you in completing the application online.  The Call Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM at 1-833-499-0318 or [email protected] .  NYSHCR is working to identify numerous non-profits to assist individuals to complete their applications. We will publish the list of participating organizations as soon as it is available.
What if my application for assistance under the COVID Rent Relief Program is currently pending? Do I need to reapply? No. All applications that are currently pending with NYSHCR (even those cases currently under appeal) will be automatically reassessed under the new eligibility criteria.
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If I received unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, does that count towards my income for this program? 

Yes, under the eligibility criteria, income includes unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC).  The receipt of these benefits may make you ineligible to receive a rental benefit if there is no loss of income during the coverage period.

 

Example: Prior to March, you made $2,000 per month at your job. You lost your job and all of your wages due to COVID and applied for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Through the traditional New York State Unemployment Insurance, you receive $1,000 per month in UI benefits; receipt of UI during the coverage period of April, May, June, and July qualifies you to receive an additional $600 per week ($2,600 per month) in federal PUC. Because the combined UI and PUC benefits exceed your pre-COVID monthly income, you are not eligible.
Am I eligible to receive this rental assistance if I currently have a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher or reside in public housing?

No. If a tenant is receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher* for their housing costs or resides in public housing and their rent cannot be more than 30% of their income, the resident would not be eligible under the statute.

For households that receive Section 8 vouchers: If their rent burden exceeds 30% of their income, and they have lost income in this period, the household should request an adjustment to their rental payment standard. Households can contact their voucher administrator to request an Interim Recertification.
If I’m eligible for the COVID Rent Relief Program, what assistance can I receive?

Eligible households can receive a one-time rent subsidy.

The subsidy for eligible applicants will be calculated as: the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the household’s rent burden during the months of April, May, June and July of 2020. For applicants who were not considered rent burdened on March 1, 2020, the subsidy will be calculated to bring them to the 30 percent rent burden threshold during the months of the coverage period. 

 This one-time subsidy is paid directly to the resident’s landlord.

*Rent burden is the amount of monthly contractual rent that exceeds 30% of gross household income. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a households total monthly income was $3,000 and their monthly rent was $700. The household was paying 23% of their monthly income toward rent. This household was not rent-burdened prior to COVID.

However, due to COVID, their work hours were reduced and their monthly income decreased to $1,400 during the coverage period while their rent remained the same at $700. This household was paying 50% ($700/$1,400) of their monthly income toward rent during the coverage period.

This household would be eligible for a subsidy that covers the increase in their rent burden in excess of 30%. To calculate the amount of subsidy for this household, we first determine the maximum rent burden threshold based on their reduced income during the coverage period: $1,400 x 30% = $420.

Next, we would subtract $420 from their monthly rent and the difference corresponds to the amount of subsidy they are eligible to receive ($700 - $420 = $280). The $280 would reduce this households rent burden to 30% for each month they apply for assistance for up to four months.
Is there a maximum amount of assistance I can receive under this program?

There is a cap on the subsidy amount you can receive. For the purposes of calculating your assistance, your monthly contractual rent may not exceed 125% of the fair market rent per month for each month assistance is requested. Fair market rents are calculated by HUD, and can be located at the following link: https://www.hcr.ny.gov/rent-caps-125-fmr-crrp

Example: A resident living in a one-bedroom in Nassau County and pays $2,100 a month in rent.  The fair market rent for a one-bedroom in this county is $1,624. This household is still eligible for the subsidy, however, when their subsidy is calculated it will reflect a rent cap of $2,030, which is 125% of the fair market rent.
What is the application process for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program?

When a household applies, they will be asked questions to determine their eligibility.

Applicants will also be asked to provide and submit certain information and documents for verification of their eligibility, including:

  • Household size and composition; and
  • Household income prior to March 1, 2020, during April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.

If a household is determined to be eligible, they will be asked to submit documentation to certify their eligibility.

Once that information has been verified and processed, a one-time payment will be sent directly to the applicant’s landlord.
How do I establish my household’s eligibility for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program? What documents do I need to provide?

Applicants must provide the following:

  • Copy of a lease, other proof of monthly rental amount, or the Tenant Rent Attestation (available on the portal), if a lease or other proof is unavailable; and
  • Proof of the household’s gross income prior to March 1, 2020 and as of July 31, 2020. You will also need to show gross income during the coverage period (April 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020) to establish loss of income during that time. This includes, but is not limited to a paystub, employer letters, federal/state tax returns, or the Employment Attestation (available on the portal), if a paystub or other proof is unavailable.
Do I need to continue to pay my rent?

Yes. The rental subsidy only covers a portion of the monthly rent (see subsidy calculation above) during the coverage period (April 2020-July 31, 2020).

The rental subsidy will be paid directly to a household’s landlord. You are still responsible for the remaining balance of the monthly rent.
I have already paid my rent in full for one or more of the months in the coverage period. Am I still able to receive assistance from the COVID Rent Relief Program?

Yes. If a household has paid all or some of their rent during the period of April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 and are eligible (see above criteria) they may still receive assistance.

If a household is selected to receive COVID Rent Relief, and they have already paid all or a portion of their rent, they may choose to have their landlord treat the relief as rent for one or more months for any rent that is owed or becomes due after the coverage period.
If I do not have a lease, but I am a month-to-month tenant, am I still eligible to receive assistance?

Yes. Applicants do not need to have a valid lease to receive assistance, as long as they qualify under the eligibility criteria.

Households that do not have a lease will be required to either provide some other proof of a rental obligation or complete the Tenant Rent Attestation (available on the portal), if they do not have other documentation.
What income is included when determining my household income?

All income must be included when determining your household income.  Eligibility for this program is based on gross income*, rather than take-home pay. Gross income includes income before any deductions are made, including taxes.

Under the statute, income includes salaries, wages, tips, recurring gifts, unemployment benefits and other government benefits for all members of a household. This also includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC).

Households do not have to include employment income for minor children under 18 years old, or for dependent children who are 18 or older and full-time students. Households also do not have to include foster care payments or supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits (SNAP).

* If you are using your 2018 or 2019 federal or state income tax return as proof of pre-COVID income, eligibility is based on adjusted gross income.
Is there a maximum amount of assistance I can receive under this program?

There is a cap on the subsidy amount you can receive. For the purposes of calculating your assistance, your monthly contractual rent may not exceed 125% of the fair market rent per month for each month assistance is requested. Fair market rents are calculated by HUD, and can be located at the following link: https://www.hcr.ny.gov/rent-caps-125-fmr-crrp

Example: A resident living in a one-bedroom in Nassau County and pays $2,100 a month in rent.  The fair market rent for a one-bedroom in this county is $1,624. This household is still eligible for the subsidy, however, when their subsidy is calculated it will reflect a rent cap of $2,030, which is 125% of the fair market rent.
What is the application process for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program?

When a household applies, they will be asked questions to determine their eligibility.

Residents will also be asked to provide and submit certain information and documents for verification of their eligibility, including:

  • Household size and composition; and
  • Household income prior to March 1, 2020, during April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020, and current household income.

If a household is determined to be eligible, they will be asked to submit documentation to certify their eligibility.

Once that information has been verified and processed, a one-time payment will be sent directly to the applicant’s landlord.
How do I establish my household’s eligibility for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program? What documents do I need to provide?

Applicants must provide the following:

  • Copy of a lease, other proof of monthly rental amount, or the Tenant Rent Attestation (available on the portal), if a lease or other proof is unavailable; and
  • Proof of the household’s gross income prior to March 1, 2020 and as of July 31, 2020. You will also need to show gross income during the coverage period (April 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020) to establish loss of income during that time. This includes, but is not limited to a paystub, employer letters, federal/state tax returns, or the Employment Attestation (available on the portal), if a paystub or other proof is unavailable.
Do I need to continue to pay my rent?

Yes. The rental subsidy only covers a portion of the monthly rent (see subsidy calculation above) during the coverage period (April 2020-July 31, 2020).

The rental subsidy will be paid directly to a household’s landlord. You are still responsible for the remaining balance of the monthly rent.
I have already paid my rent in full for one or more of the months in the coverage period. Am I still able to receive assistance from the COVID Rent Relief Program?

Yes. If a household has paid all or some of their rent during the period of April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 and are eligible (see above criteria) they may still receive assistance.

If a household is selected to receive COVID Rent Relief, and they have already paid all or a portion of their rent, they may choose to have their landlord treat the relief as rent for one or more months for any rent that is owed or becomes due after the coverage period.
If I do not have a lease, but I am a month-to-month tenant, am I still eligible to receive assistance?

Yes. Applicants do not need to have a valid lease to receive assistance, as long as they qualify under the eligibility criteria.

Households that do not have a lease will be required to either provide some other proof of a rental obligation or complete the Tenant Rent Attestation (available on the portal), if they do not have other documentation.
What income is included when determining my household income?

All income must be included when determining your household income.  Eligibility for this program is based on gross income*, rather than take-home pay. Gross income includes income before any deductions are made, including taxes.

Under the statute, income includes salaries, wages, tips, recurring gifts, unemployment benefits and other government benefits for all members of a household. This also includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC).

Households do not have to include employment income for minor children under 18 years old, or for dependent children who are 18 or older and full-time students. Households also do not have to include foster care payments or supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits (SNAP).

* If you are using your 2018 or 2019 federal or state income tax return as proof of pre-COVID income, eligibility is based on adjusted gross income.
Will the stimulus check be counted as income? No, it does not count as income.
Will the rent relief be counted as income on the landlord's income tax? Yes, it will.
What time frame does the COVID Rent Relief Program cover? Under the program, you must have less income in any month between April 2020 and July 2020 than you did prior to March 1, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  You are only able to receive the subsidy for the months of April, May, June and July.
How do I determine whether my household income is below 80% of the area median income? HUD’s Area Median Income varies by household size and by county. You can find your county’s area median income, based on your household size: https://hcr.ny.gov/eligible-income-limits-80-ami-county
What if I receive public benefits or public assistance? Will I need to report any funds received from this program as income? No. Any funds paid on behalf of a household will not be counted towards their annual household income for purposes of public benefits or other public assistance.
I am an immigrant.  If I receive COVID Rent Relief assistance, will this assistance subject me to a public charge determination? It is unlikely that this assistance would be considered for public charge purposes. However, immigration and public charge analysis is very complicated. You should consult with the Office for New Americans or an immigration attorney for assistance. 
Does my landlord have to accept the benefit?

Yes.  In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on what funds they use to pay their rent. In most instances, this means that landlords and other housing providers are legally required to accept COVID Rent Relief Program.

New York State takes Source of Income discrimination very seriously. If a landlord refuses to accept this payment, residents can file a SOI discrimination complaint with the State Division of Human Rights at www.dhr.ny.gov/complaint
I have been selected to receive assistance. How will I know whether my landlord has received the benefit on my behalf?

Once an applicant has been selected to receive assistance, they will be notified simultaneously along with their landlord that the subsidy is being dispersed. 

This notification will include the amount of assistance, the timeline for receipt, and the method you have chosen to have additional funds credited to you, if you have already paid some or all of your rent.
I was notified that the COVID Rent Relief assistance was paid to my landlord. My landlord now claims that they never received assistance and is seeking to have me evicted.  What should I do?

It is important that applicants retain the notification that was sent advising that payment has been made to their landlord. This notice is a household’s evidence of payment. You may also contact the Call Center at (833) 499-0318 with issues regarding payment, including confirmation of issuance of payment.

What types of rental properties are eligible for assistance?

The following types of RENTAL properties are available for rent relief assistance through the program:

  • Apartment rental;
  • Rent for a single-family home;
  • Manufactured home rental; and
  • Manufactured home lot rental.

Manufactured home park residents should only include rental obligations (lot rent and/or home rent) on their application.

Yes, residents may apply for rental assistance if they live with one or more roommates, but they can only apply for assistance for the portion of the home and rent payment for which they are personally responsible on a monthly basis.

Can I apply for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program if I live with roommates?

If a resident and their roommate both meet the eligibility criteria and are both applying for assistance, they must apply together as a household.

If only one roommate meets the eligibility criteria, that roommate should apply alone and prorate the rent amount. This roommate will be required to complete a Tenant Rent Attestation, certifying their share of the rent.
Will I be notified if I am deemed ineligible for COVID Rent Relief Extension assistance? Yes.  You will receive a notification if you are deemed ineligible for assistance.
Do I have to tell my landlord that I applied for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program? To prevent misunderstandings, tenants are strongly encouraged to communicate their inability to pay any or all their rent to their landlord as soon as they can and to notify their landlord that they have submitted an application. Both the tenant and their landlord will receive a notice when the funds have been disbursed.
What if I move from my apartment after I apply for assistance?

If you have moved from your apartment after you applied for relief under the COVID Rent Relief Program, you can contact the Call Center at (833) 499-0318 to withdraw your application. If your application is not withdrawn and is approved, the landlord for the apartment on your application is entitled to retain the subsidy award amount, if there is an outstanding balance on your rent. If you have moved from your apartment and do not owe any rent or if the subsidy award amount exceeds the amount which was owed, the landlord must return the unused subsidy award amount to NYSHCR.

Once you have moved from the apartment that was on your application, if you are approved, you cannot transfer the subsidy award amount to pay your new landlord.
What if I move during the coverage period? Can I still apply? If you move to a new apartment during the coverage period, you can still apply for the COVID Rent Relief Program. However, you can only seek assistance for your current apartment. You cannot seek assistance to pay an outstanding balance from your prior apartment, even if you resided there for a portion of the coverage period. 
What is the deadline to apply for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program? When will I hear back? The deadline to apply for assistance is February 1, 2021.
Can I sign up to receive updates on the availability of the COVID Rent Relief Program? Yes, to receive the most up to date information please click on the following link: COVID Rent Relief Program Updates
Who can I call for help with my application? Please call the Call Center at (833) 499-0318.
Call Center support is available from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.  Please note that the Call Center will be closed on December 24th, December 25th, December 31st and January 1st.
What file types can we upload?

The application system accepts the following file types -.doc, .docx, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .gif, .tiff, .tif, .pdf

The maximum file size is 100MB
I’m a landlord and received a payment check. How can I confirm which tenants the payment is associated with? Your check lists the first five tenants covered by the payments. For additional tenants, review the second sheet of paper in your mailing that identifies additional tenants and their associated payments. If you believe your tenant number exceeds five and cannot find the second sheet, please call the Call Center at 1-833-499-0318 or email [email protected] and request a call back from the Case Management team.
   

 

Contact Us & Application Assistance

COVID Rent Relief Program Call Center

HCR has created a dedicated call center to provide residents with help.

Call the COVID Rent Relief Program Call Center at 1-833-499-0318 or email at [email protected]

Call Center representatives are available Monday through Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm.

 

Additional Application Assistance

For additional assistance filing an application, managing your case or the appeals process, please contact a local nonprofit in your area.

 

Nonprofit  Phone number  Area(s) Served
Arbor Housing and Development

Melissa Fuller

(607) 654-7487 ext. 2047

Allegany, Chemung, Livingston,

Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca,

Steuben, Seneca, Tompkins, 

Tioga, Yates, and other surrounding counties

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York

(888) 744-7900

[email protected]

The Bronx
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens (718) 722-6001 Brooklyn, Queens
Help USA (212) 400-7000 The Bronx
Housing Assistance Program of Essex County (HAPEC) (518) 873-6888 Essex, Clinton, Franklin and Hamilton counties
Hudson River Housing  (845) 454-5176 Dutchess County
Long Island Housing Partnership (LIHP) (631) 435-4710 Nassau and Suffolk counties
RiseBoro Community Partnership

(718) 366-3800

Bushwick, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant,

Crown Heights, Greenpoint and Williamsburg

RUPCO (845) 331-9860 Orange and Ulster counties
Services for the UnderServed (SUS) (212) 633-6900 All 5 boroughs; Nassau and Suffolk County

 

If you are unsafe at home, contact the NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence hotline:

Call 800.942.6906

Text 844.997.2121

Visit https://opdv.ny.gov/

Previous RRP Round Information

RRP Report