(Washington, DC) – With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 surging, housing relief is essential for struggling renters.
Sixteen percent of adults living in rental households told researchers last summer they were currently behind on their rent. Nearly half of them were worried about eviction. Moratoriums have kept many in their homes through the COVID-19 pandemic but catching up on missed rent and utilities is a problem facing many renters and landlords, just as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is surging and many are staying home more.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has an online tool to help renters and landlords easily find and apply for payment assistance for rent, utilities, and other expenses. The Rental Assistance Finder, available at www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp connects renters and landlords with state and local programs that are currently distributing billions of dollars in federal assistance nationwide to help renters stay housed during the pandemic.
“Millions of people are behind on their rent and at risk of eviction as a result of the pandemic,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The Rental Assistance Finder makes it easier for renters and landlords to locate federal financial assistance available in their area. People across the country are already receiving billions of dollars in assistance, and with this tool even more renters and landlords can take advantage of this emergency relief. This money is a win-win for both renters and landlords and a better outcome for all than costly, needless evictions.”
To help, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers these tips to help landlords and renters talk about how to resume payments.
Investigate the relief options available for your situation. Funding may be available to cover back rent payments, utilities or moving costs. Learn more by going to: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp
Talk to each other. Many rental assistance programs are accepting applications from both landlords and renters. Where renters can apply, they often need help from landlords to complete the application process. Working together, you’ll have a better chance of getting rental assistance funds.
Clear the air. If it’s been hard to have a conversation about your money struggles, or if you’ve been unavailable to talk, make a point to say so, and recognize any part you may have played in delaying this important conversation.
Acknowledge the hardships you’re both facing. Many renters have been struggling financially, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords, if your tenant is facing an income shortfall, you can acknowledge what your tenant is going through and learn more about their efforts to make ends meet. Renters, explain what you’ve been doing to try and catch up on rent.
Explain why you want to work things out. Landlords, don’t assume your tenant knows where you’re coming from. Let your tenant know what you appreciate about them and why you would like them to stay. You can also let them know if you depend on rental income to cover mortgage, insurance, and other costs. Renters, start by helping your landlord understand why this conversation is important to you. What would it mean for you and your family to remain housed where you are? Is your home close to work and school? What do you appreciate about your landlord, your home, or your neighborhood? Don’t assume that your landlord knows.
More information: As part of an unprecedented economic recovery effort, the federal government has allocated more than $46 billion to assist households unable to pay rent, utilities, and other housing costs. All 50 states and hundreds of local, tribal, and other programs are distributing funds. The CFPB’s Rental Assistance Finder tool makes it easier for renters and landlords to connect with rental assistance programs in their area, and take the first steps toward accessing available funds. Learn more by going to: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp