Sunday, May 22, 2022

Landlords can now apply to receive rental assistance on behalf of tenants. Here’s how

Gov. Ralph Northam speaks during a recent briefing. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of Gov. Ralph Northam official Twitter)

Landlords can now apply to receive financial assistance for current and past-due rental payments dating back to April 1, 2020 on behalf of their tenants who qualify for Rent and Mortgage Relief Program.

Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced the expansion of RMRP, which first launched at the end of June with $50 million in federal CARES Act funding to assist households facing eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19.

The new application is available in addition to the existing tenant-based application.

Current state and federal eviction protections through the courts do not prevent rent and mortgage payments from accumulating.

Northam said state is focused on helping eligible households and property owners access resources to maintain housing stability during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future.

Virginians are encouraged to act quickly and work with their landlord or lending institution to understand their rights and responsibilities and seek rent and mortgage relief assistance if needed, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“Housing is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all Virginians,” Northam said. “We continue to look for innovative ways to reach as many households and property owners as possible throughout this pandemic and our economic recovery. Expanding this program will provide much needed relief for landlords and property owners facing financial hardship and help ensure that more Virginia families can remain safely in their homes.”

The Department of Housing and Community Development administers the RMRP program through approximately 30 local and regional housing-related agencies throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia Housing, the state’s housing finance agency, has partnered with DHCD to manage landlord-initiated applications.

Eligible households must demonstrate difficulty in making rent or mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Monthly rent must be at or below 150 percent of Fair Market Rent and eligible households must have a gross household income at or below 80 percent of area median income, according to the news release.

More than 60 percent of the households served between Aug. 27 and Sept. 9 included children younger than 8 years old, and 58 percent included children ages 9-17, according to the governor’s office.

Of those who identified race, Black households accounted for more than 45 percent of those served, and white households accounted for 30 percent.

The RMRP provides financial assistance in the form of a one-time payment with the opportunity for renewal based on availability of funding, the household’s need for additional assistance, and continued eligibility. This includes financial assistance for rent or mortgage payments past due from April 1, 2020 and onward, the news release indicated.

A federal moratorium on evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently in place through December 31, 2020 and suspends eviction proceedings for households facing eviction due to unpaid rent.

The moratorium requires tenants to sign a declaration of eligibility and deliver the document to their landlord, but does not prevent rent payments from accumulating.

Additional information is available at StayHomeVirginia.com/renters.

To submit a landlord-initiated application, visit virginiahousing.com/RMRP. Tenants interested in applying should visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 211 from your phone.

Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.

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John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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