Throughout the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic I have had dozens of renters & a few landlords reach out to me for my advice on how to handle COVID rental assistance due to job loss & back rent. Below is some helpful information & how to handle this tough situation as both as a renter & a landlord.
IMPORTANT: Applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance grant will be open until Friday, August 28
IHDA developed the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) to support Illinois tenants unable to pay their rent due to a COVID-19-related loss of income. Loss of income can be job loss, furlough, loss of hours, decreased wages, etc. Tenants whose application is approved will receive a one-time grant of $5,000 paid directly to their landlord to cover missed rent payments beginning March 2020 and prepay payments through December 2020, or until the $5,000 is exhausted, whichever comes first.
- Your household income before March 1, 2020 was less than the maximum allowed for your area – Check you eligibility here
- You or an adult member of your household has had a loss of income due to COVID-19. Loss of income can be job loss, furlough, loss of hours, decreased wages, etc.
- You have an unpaid rent balance that began sometime after March 1, 2020
Make sure to verify that you have the following information prior to beginning your application for COVID Rental Assistance:
- Landlord’s full name
- Landlord’s accurate email address
- Government issued ID that matches your address
- If your ID does not match the address on your application, you will need to upload proof of your current address
Frequently Asked Questions
- How will my landlord know I applied for COVID Rental Assistance? Notify your landlord that you applied for assistance under ERA. Let your landlord know that they will receive an email from the IHDA ERA program inviting them to submit required documents
- What if the address on my lease does not match the address on my driver’s license or ID? In order to have a completed application for rental assistance, you must provide a legal document with your current address.
- I have a verbal lease with my landlord, am I still eligible to apply? Unfortunately, you’re ineligible for ERA assistance if you do not have a written lease or contract.
- I have an eviction pending, can this program assist me? Yes, you may still apply so long as you have not been evicted. Please inform your landlord, legal representation and county judge (if applicable) that you have applied for the program
- My lease has expired, am I still eligible to apply for COVID Rental Assistance? Unfortunately, you’re ineligible for this assistance if you do not have a current lease.
- When will I know if my application has been approved? You will receive an email within 2-3 weeks of your application alerting you if you have been approved for the grant. Your landlord will receive the funds as soon as 10 business days after approval.
- Do I have to pay the $5,000 back to IHDA? No, you will not have to pay this assistance back is a grant and repayment is not required.
- Will I be taxed on the $5,000 COVID Rental Assistance grant? No. The assistance is due to an emergency and is structured as a one-time grant payment; neither the tenant nor the landlord will be taxed
If you need assistance applying..
IHDA has partnered with 62 Community and Outreach Assistance organizations standing by to help you at no cost. You can find a list of these organizations via the Resource button on era.ihda.org. For additional assistance you may also call IHDA’s call center at (312) 883-2720, or toll-free at (888) 252-1119.