New York State Assisting Tenants Suffering Due to Pandemic

NEW YORK -
Governor Andrew Cuomo at a coronavirus briefing last week. (Office of Gov. Cuomo)

New York state will assist low-income tenants suffering economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic by subsidizing rent payments, after the Legislature passed and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the COVID Rent Relief Program.

The program will provide a rental subsidy paid directly to landlords, for tenants who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for the program comes from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill known as the CARES Act. Applications for the program, administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, will be available at https://hcr.ny.gov/RRP starting Thursday, for two weeks.

“Since day one we made it clear that no New Yorkers should be thrown on the streets because of hardships caused by this pandemic,” Cuomo said. “It’s critically important that people are able to stay safely in their homes as we progress through our data-driven, phased reopening, and the COVID Rent Relief Program reinforces that commitment with direct assistance to those in the greatest need.”

To qualify for the subsidy, applicants must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Must be a renter with a primary residence in New York State.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, household income (including unemployment benefits) must be below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find the Area Median Income for their county, based on household size, at https://hcr.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/07/crrp2020_eligible_income_80ami.pdf
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the household must have been paying more than 30 percent of gross monthly income toward rent.
  • Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.

Households can apply for up to four months in rental assistance, for the months of April through July. The subsidy will be a one-time payment made directly to the landlord.

Priority will be given to households with greatest economic and social need, accounting for income, rent burden, percent of income lost and risk of homelessness. The rental assistance payment will cover the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the increase in rent burden during the period the household is applying for assistance. The program is open to households that rent apartments, single-family homes, manufactured homes and manufactured home lots.

Households with at least one household member with U.S. Citizenship or eligible immigration status are qualified to receive the subsidy. Tenants currently receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher for housing costs or who reside in public housing are not eligible for RRP assistance.

The COVID Rent Relief Program is the latest effort to help New York renters during the coronavirus pandemic. The state already has a moratorium on COVID-related residential or commercial evictions; has banned late payments or fees for missed rent payments during the eviction moratorium; and has allowed renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.

More information about the COVID Rent Relief Program is available at https://hcr.ny.gov/RRP