LANDLORDS and/or PROPERTY MANAGERS

What is the purpose of the Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama (ERAA) Program (Program)?

The Program provides financial assistance to qualifying applicants to prevent housing instability, potential eviction, and financial hardships of tenants and landlords as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

 

Does Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama provide financial assistance for all counties and jurisdiction in Alabama?

  • ERA Alabama provides assistance to all counties and jurisdictions in Alabama with the exceptions and clarifications noted below:
  • Baldwin County started accepting applications April 1. If you live in Baldwin County and submitted an application prior to 9:00 AM, Thursday, April 1, ERA Alabama will process the application. After 9:00 AM Thursday, April 1, follow this link to access the Baldwin County ERA system. (www.baldwinALtogether.org)
  • Jefferson County started accepting applications May 10. If you live in Jefferson County and submitted your application prior to 9:00 AM, Monday, May 10, ERA ALABAMA will process your application. Beginning Monday, May 24, 2021, follow this link (https://erap.jccal.org) to access the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance Program system. Applicants may also request support with the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance community partners listed below:
  • Mobile County started accepting applications March 1. (https://www.mobilecountyal.gov/rental-and-utility-assistance)
  • Montgomery County started accepting applications April 22. If you live in Montgomery County and submitted an application prior to 9:00 AM, Thursday, April 22, ERA Alabama will process the application. After 9:00 AM Monday, April 22, follow this link to access Montgomery County ERA system. (https://www.mc-ala.org/services/emergency-rental-assistance-montgomery-county)
  • The City of Birmingham started accepting applications April 26. If you live in the City of Birmingham and submitted an application prior to 10:00 AM, Monday, April 26, ERA Alabama will process the application. After 9:00 AM Monday, April 26, follow this link to access the City of Birmingham ERA system. (https://www.birminghamal.gov/renthelp)
  • The City of Huntsville started accepting applications March 15. If you live in the City of Huntsville and submitted an application prior to 9:00 AM, Monday, March 15th, ERA Alabama will process the application. After 9:00 AM Monday, March 15th, follow this link to access the city of Huntsville ERA system. (https://www.huntsvilleal.gov/covid-19-emergency-rental-assistance)
  • Madison County started accepting applications June 1. If you live in Madison County and submitted an application prior to 9:00 AM, Tuesday, June1, ERA Alabama will process the application. After 9:00 AM Tuesday, June 1, follow this link to access Madison County ERA system. (https://www.madisoncountyal.gov/services/emergency-rental-assistance)
  • If you live in an AHFA funded project in one of the counties or jurisdictions that is not currently covered by Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama, the application will be submitted and processed through the ERA Alabama program. If you are not sure if the project is an AHFA funded project, please contact the Call Center at 1-833-620-2434 for confirmation.

 

When does the Program begin, and what is my deadline to apply?

The Program began accepting applications Monday, March 1, 2021, at 8 a.m. Central Time and will remain open until all available funds have been committed. The duration of the Program will depend on the number of eligible applicants.

 

Who is eligible to receive assistance from the Program?

Renter households must have an income no more than 80 percent of area median income (AMI) AND one or more members of the household must attest in writing that they have either:

  • qualified for unemployment benefits
  • due to or during the pandemic:
    • experienced a reduction in income
    • incurred significant costs
    • experienced other financial hardship
  • AND one or more individuals within the household must demonstrate they:
    • are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, OR
    • live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions
  • Applicants must currently reside in the property for which they are requesting rental and utility assistance.

 

Will some applications be given priority?

The following applicants will be given priority:

  • Households whose income is at or below 50% Area Median Income (AMI)
  • One or more household members are unemployed as of the date you apply for assistance, AND one or more household members (this can be the same household member) are unemployed for 90 days prior to the date you apply for assistance

Only after those priority applicants are processed will the Program then proceed with the review of anyone over 50% AMI on a first-come first-served basis until all funds are committed.

 

What financial assistance is provided under the Program?

Program funds may be used to provide up to fifteen (15) months of assistance for the following expenses:

  • Rent (Future Rent for up to three months*)
  • past due rent (Rental arrears can be covered for up to 12 months)
  • utilities - including water, sewer, trash, power, internet, and home energy costs (costs for telephone, cable, or satellite television are not eligible under this program)

Home energy costs are separately stated expenses related to occupancy of a dwelling like propane and fuel oil.

*While applicants may be assisted for up to 15 months, the Program will not commit funds for prospective (future) rent for more than a 3-month period at a time. Applicants must reapply every 3 months and will only be assisted if funds are still available.

 

How do I apply for rental assistance under the Program?

Complete an online application at ERAAlabama.com OR Call a program representative at (833) 620-2434 (toll free) to apply over the phone. The toll-free number offers access to assistance in multiple languages.

  • By applying online, the landlord can create a Landlord Profile and list all properties under their management, as well as identify each tenant for whom they are requesting assistance.
  • After the landlord profile is complete and submitted, the system will automatically email each identified tenant, prompting them to complete their Tenant Profile.
  • For tenants without an email address, the Landlord can print the application form, obtain a physical signature, and upload the application and related income documents on the tenant’s behalf. If needed, tenants will be contacted by a Program representative to assist in gathering necessary information and documents to complete the Tenant Profile.

 

Am I required to complete a separate application for every eligible tenant?

  • The Landlord may provide all prospective tenants information in one application, to include:
    • Lessee Name; Email; Phone Number; Address; Lease Dates; Monthly Rent, Past Due Rent, and Late Fees.
  • The Landlord will be required to upload a lease, rental ledger and any other supporting information being careful to name documents clearly to align each tenant with their required documents.
  • Following completion of the application, all tenants listed will receive an email invitation to participate in the program.

 

How do I check the status of my application?

After submitting an application, you will be able to monitor the status of your application through the online dashboard or by calling (833) 620-2434 (toll free) to speak with a customer service representative. You will be notified if we need more information to complete your application.

  • During the course of the application review process, ERAA program personnel may request additional information from you and/or your tenants. You are encouraged to respond quickly to each request or assigned task to help expedite completion of the review. Serving as a facilitator for each tenant will ensure an efficient and successful review process.

 

What if my status is ineligible and I have received an email indicating my application has been denied?

Ineligible applicants will be provided an opportunity for a reconsideration of that decision. Instructions to access a Request for a Reconsideration form can be located at ERAALABAMA.com/program-documents.

 

Are past due rent and utility bills from 2020 eligible for assistance?

Yes. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional 3 months, if ERA Alabama determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and grantee funds are available. The payment of existing housing-related arrears that could result in eviction of an eligible household is prioritized. Assistance must be provided to reduce an eligible household’s rental arrears before the household may receive assistance for future rent payments. Once a household’s rental arrears are reduced, grantees may only commit to providing future assistance for up to three months at a time. Households may reapply for additional assistance at the end of the three-month period if needed and the overall time limit for assistance is not exceeded.

 

What is the funding source for the Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama Program?

The Emergency Rental Assistance bill was passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which provides $25 billion nationally for pandemic-response rental assistance. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As part of this relief package, the State of Alabama has received approximately $263 million to assist landlords and tenants through the Alabama Rent Relief Program; additionally, the following local communities in Alabama with populations greater than 200,000 received direct allocations of these funds: Baldwin County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Mobile County, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa County, The City of Birmingham and the City of Huntsville.

 

What documentation will I need to complete my application if I am submitting on behalf of my tenants?

As part of the Program application, the landlord must submit the following documentation so we can confirm eligibility:

  • Government Issued ID (if individual); Corporate Resolution listing the individual or individuals authorized to execute documents if (Incorporated Entity); and/or a current Property Management Agreement executed by the parties.
  • Fully executed Rent or lease agreement (or rent receipt, bank statements, written attestation that formalizes the relationship between the Landlord and the Tenant if no current agreement)**Additional details available by clicking here and reviewing Section 5 of the US Treasury Department’s Emergency Rental Assistance FAQs.
  • Rental ledger illustrating month over month charges and payments with current balance due
    • If any utility costs are included in rent OR collected by the Landlord on behalf of the utility provider, it must be stipulated in the rent or lease agreement and be reflected in the rental ledger by month
  • If applying on behalf of a condominium or any other ownership entity, Authorized Representative proof of Completed and executed IRS Form W-9
  • Proof of Ownership of the subject property (Deed, Property Tax Statement or other verifiable evidence)
  • Eviction Notice(s) if applicable
  • Household Certification Form (if not being provided by the tenant)
  • Household Income Documentation, as listed above (if not being provided by the tenant)

 

How will payments be made?

Payments will be made using ACH deposit. As part of the application process, the landlord will be asked to provide bank routing information to complete the payments. Landlords are encouraged to be prepared to provide this information immediately following formal approval of the application.

 

If my tenant received rental assistance from this program to cover past due rent, can they also apply for − additional assistance?

If a tenant has already received assistance for a specific time period, the Program cannot provide duplicative assistance for that same time period. Tenants can apply for three months of future rent payments provided total past and future payments do not exceed the Program cap of 15 months, subject to the availability of funds.

 

Are tenants of federally subsidized housing, e.g., Low Income Housing Credit, Public Housing, or Indian Housing Block Grant-assisted properties, eligible for the Program? (March 19, 2021)

An eligible household that occupies a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property may receive Program assistance, provided that program funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance.

If an eligible household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance) and the tenant rent is adjusted according to changes in income, the renter household may receive program assistance for the tenant-owed portion of rent or utilities that is not subsidized.

It is anticipated that the U.S. Department of Treasury may provide further guidance on this topic and when or if they do, AHFA will update these FAQs. These examples are not exhaustive but are the most common examples in the affordable housing industry. If in doubt, please email [email protected]