State rent, mortgage relief program expands to aid landlords
Landlords can receive help for current, past-due rent payments back to April 1
Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday the expansion of the state’s Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) to include financial assistance for landlords. The RMRP was launched in late June with $50 million in federal CARES Act funding to assist households facing eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19.
Landlords can now apply to receive financial assistance for current and past-due rental payments dating back to April 1 on behalf of their tenants who qualify for RMRP. The program provides financial assistance through a one-time payment with the opportunity for renewal based on availability of funding, the household’s need for additional assistance and continued eligibility.
“Housing is key to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all Virginians,” Northam said in a statement. “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.”
Currently, state and federal eviction protections through the courts don’t prevent rent and mortgage payments from accumulating. The Northam administration encourages Virginians to work with their landlord or lending institution to understand their rights and responsibilities and seek rent and mortgage assistance, if needed. The new and existing tenant-based applications are now available.
Eligible households must demonstrate difficulty in making rent or mortgage payments due to the pandemic. Monthly rent must be at or below 150% of fair market rents, and eligible households must have a gross household income at or below 80% of area median income.
“The top goal of RMRP is to keep families in safe and affordable housing by utilizing the funding resources to make tenants and homeowners, as well as landlords and mortgage companies, whole on outstanding payments,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “A strong partnership between landlords and tenants is imperative to keeping Virginians who owe back rent stably housed through this pandemic and beyond.”
The RMRP program is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) through approximately 30 local and regional housing-related agencies. The state housing finance agency, Virginia Housing, will manage landlord-initiated applications.
The federal moratorium on evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which suspends eviction proceedings for households facing eviction due to unpaid rent, is in place through Dec. 31.