Resources for Renters
As we continue to confront the reality of COVID-19 and the ripple effect it has on jobs and the economy it's important that we work together to help prevent people from being displaced from their homes. In this guide we have included answers to some frequently asked questions, as well as links to other resources to help navigate through these trying times.
General information on COVID-19
The US Dept of the Treasury has collected websites associated with their grantees’ Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs to help tenants and landlords find rental assistance programs in their local areas. In most cases, states encourage tenants and landlords to apply to the local ERA program in their area.
February 8: Guilford County Rental Assistance Program
Guilford County has announced that assistance is available to qualified households towards emergency monthly rental/utility assistance for their primary residence. Request for rental assistance can be submitted by either an eligible household or by a landlord on behalf of the eligible household. Eligible applicants must live in Guilford County but NOT in the City limits of Greensboro.
March 26: City of Greensboro Rental Assistance Program
The city of Greensboro launched its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)-funded rent and utility assistance program. Tenants and landlords can both apply; payments will go directly to landlords. Following is an overview from the city's website, which is also where you can find the information needed to apply for assistance:
Applications are being accepted for rent and/or utility assistance under the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).
Qualified households renting within Greensboro city limits may now apply for up to 12 months combined (past due + currently due + future) of emergency rent and/or utility payment assistance per household.
Here's who is eligible:
Tenants/renters at least 18 years old with formal or informal lease agreements who are members of households that:
- Rent within Greensboro city limits.
- Have a total household income before taxes at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) – or average household income for the Greensboro area. (See AMI chart below.)
- Include at least one person who has experienced a financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
- Include at least one person who is at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
UPDATE: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Rental Assistance Program
(From WFDD.org reporting) Forsyth County residents who have fallen behind on rent or utilities as a result of the pandemic can now apply in-person for financial assistance.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is open to all renters financially affected by the pandemic with a household income of 80 percent or less of the area’s median. That varies by household size but is about $55,000 for a family of four. These income limits were recently raised.
The program is designed to help with rent and utilities such as electricity, water, and internet service.
Here are the key information points for the program:
Contact phone number to apply: 1-855-838-6776 (toll free)
The Forsyth County Department of Social Services has set up an Emergency Rental Assistance Program application lab at its office on Highland Avenue. Appointments are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be made online. Walk-ins will be accepted, but those with appointments will have priority.
Applicants should bring an ID, proof of income, lease agreement, any bills or eviction notices, and a statement or proof of financial hardship.
**PLEASE NOTE: The Piedmont Triad Apartment Association does not assist in applications for rental assistance and does NOT play a role in determining or distributing rental assistance.
|Learn more: Guilford County Residents||Learn More: Greensboro City Residents|
Note: The Piedmont Triad Apartment Association does not assist in applications for rental assistance and does NOT play a role in determining or distributing rental assistance.
As of June 28, the HOPE Program awarded $66 million to 19,000 households since May 17 and has about $800 million in rental assistance funds remaining. The program reports the average time to process checks is about 14 days. Several counties are also processing rental assistance through local programs and can be found on the HOPE website.
The N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions HOPE Program has announced a change to income requirements that will increase the number of eligible applicants for emergency rent and utility assistance. NCORR has announced they are now increasing the income limit to 80 percent of the area median income for the county where the applicant lives.
For more information about the HOPE Program, including eligibility requirements, program benefits and an online application, are available at https://www.rebuild.nc.gov/hope-program. Applicants who cannot access the website should call 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467) for help with the application process.
frequently asked questions
What should i do if i am unable to pay my rent?
The most important thing that you can do is promptly communicate your situation with your Property Manager. When you contact them, it will improve your chances of getting the help you need if you provide documentation from an employer or other documentation that shows how you have been impacted by this crisis.
Ignoring notices and requests to contact your Property Manager is not advised. Frequent and timely communication is the best course of action.
Please remember that your property manager can't help you if you do not communicate your situation with them. When court proceedings in the state resume you will still owe any amounts due and may be subject to eviction; therefore, trying to work with your property manager to make payment arrangements is your best course of action.
I am a renter and need assistance paying my bills. Where can i go for help?
If you need rental payment assistance, there are several groups and agencies that can help. Many churches and other community non-profits also offer emergency financial assistance. There may also be assistance to help with other needs, such as utility or medical bills.
do i still need to pay rent even though evictions had been halted?
Yes you do. The court's temporary halt of evictions did not affect your obligation to pay rent, and continuing to pay your rent protects your rights as a renter under North Carolina law.
If you're concerned you will not be able to pay your rent, we recommend that you communicate with your property manager with specific information about your situation to see what options they may be able to offer in this unusual circumstance.
This crisis has affected all of us and PTAA members want to do their part in helping people remain in their homes.
Like every other business, we have employees and supplier partners who depend on us for their livelihood, as well as other obligations we have to meet like insurance and utility bills. Failing to pay your rent hurts our ability to meet those obligations, as well as our ability to operate and maintain the property where you live. Ultimately it may also hurt your credit or result in an eviction once that process is reinstated.
If you are unable to pay your utility bills during this time of crisis, what should you do?
Most North Carolina utilities have suspended disconnects and are waiving late fees during the COVID-19 crisis. Please check directly with your provider(s) on what options they offer during this time. Remember that even if disconnection is suspended, your bills will continue to accrue. On March 31 of 2020 Governor Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order prohibiting utilities, including electric, gas, water and wastewater services - from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic. Read the FAQs about the order.
What if I live at a public housing authority property, affordable housing property, or use Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)?
Both public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) residents who experience a loss or reduction of wages should contact their housing authority to see what can be done to provide assistance.
What should I do if I have to self-isolate in my apartment?
• To avoid unnecessary contact, or maintenance staff entering your unit, notify the management that you are undergoing self-isolation or quarantine.
• Avoid close contact with other people and pets.
• Maintain respiratory hygiene (use tissues, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing).
• Keep your apartment clean and organized to maintain a healthy environment. Clean regularly and sanitize often using items like Lysol spray and Clorox wipes on "high touch" surfaces including countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, nightstands, bathroom fixtures, toilets, refrigerator handles, kitchen faucets, light switches, TV remotes, cell phones, computer keyboards and tablets.
• Do not leave your unit unless it's an emergency. Do not use common areas.
• Postpone non-essential maintenance requests.
What if I have to move/apartment hunt during the pandemic?
• Practice basic prevention-Take the usual precautionary measures, including not shaking hands, washing your hands after your visit is concluded, not touching your face and not touching surfaces, especially in common areas. Use hand sanitizer.
• Consider virtual tours
• Inquire about safety measures in place-Apartment communities are incorporating additional measures during this outbreak, such as deep-cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic surfaces. They may have closed or limited access to common rooms, gyms and laundry rooms. They may be stationing hand-sanitizer around the building. Finally, inquire how the unit you plan to rent was sanitized.
• Vet your moving/van rental company - Before scheduling your move, inquire what sanitation procedures your moving company has in place. Ask for movers to wear gloves to avoid contaminating your belongings. Alternately, consider moving your belongings yourself to minimize exposure, but make sure to enquire about sanitation procedures your moving van rental company has in place.
Need help safely finding a new apartment? Check our directory for supplier partners who can help you find housing options that meet your needs.
resident service and access to amenities
During this crisis, rental communities are following CDC recommendations to practice social distancing and take measures to limit spread of the virus. As a result, rental properties may:
• Close select or all amenities
• Ask you to pay rent online
• Close office to non-employees
• Limit repairs to emergency situations only
We realize that these actions may be inconvenient but are intended to help protect you, your neighbors and people who work at the property.
Communal behaviors to limit the contamination spread
• Wash your hands often, avoid touching your face and practice respiratory hygiene
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Clean and disinfect your apartment to maintain a healthy environment
• Limit contamination of common amenities, such as the communal gym, movie room, or a playground, by using disinfecting wipes before and after you use the equipment. Avoid using common areas and amenities if you are sick.
• Limit visitors-Practice social distancing by limiting visitors to your unit or inviting friends/family to share common areas with you.
help & support
Fannie Mae Renters Resource Finder
If you’re a renter facing financial challenges as a result of COVID-19, a natural disaster, or other difficulties, we’re here to help. Use the Renters Resource Finder to learn what kinds of support may be available, including:
- Access to personal assistance from HUD-approved housing counselors
- Information on Federal and state housing assistance and other programs
- Tips on communicating with your landlord, and more
If the Renters Resource Finder confirms that Fannie Mae financed the apartment complex where you live, you may also be eligible for COVID-19-related tenant protections. Please reach out to your landlord or property manager to determine if these protections are applicable to you. If your landlord or property owner has received payment relief on the financing Fannie Mae provided (this is known as forbearance), these protections could include:
- Protection from eviction solely for failure to pay your rent
- At least a 30-day notice to vacate your rental unit
- A suspension of late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent
- Flexibility to repay back-rent over time, and not in a lump sum
To better understand protections and assistance that may be available to you—whether or not Fannie Mae financed the apartment complex where you live—please visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Protections for Renters page.
To use the Renters Resource Finder, enter the main address of your apartment or rental complex—usually the leasing office address. If you don’t know the main address of your rental complex, try entering the address of your rental unit.
Disaster Response Network
For renters experiencing financial challenges from COVID-19, a natural disaster, or other difficulties, the Disaster Response Network’s HUD-approved housing counselors may be able to help with:
• A personalized recovery assessment and action plan.
• FEMA and insurance claims.
• Federal and state housing assistance.
• Unemployment, nutritional assistance, and any other available benefits.
• Non-legal support in communicating with landlords.
• Ongoing check-ins to help ensure a successful recovery.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has partnered with the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) network to launch a hotline to provide child care options for children of critical workers who do not have access to typical care because of COVID-19 closures.
Families who have flexible working arrangements are encouraged to stay at home with their children. Workers who need care may call 1-888-600-1685 to receive information about local options for children from infants through age 12. The hotline is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC: Need Help - Find Help - Give Help.
Resources for families and children and location information for free meals for children.
Greensboro Urban Ministry:
Grocery assistance: Available once a month on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 9:30am-3:30pm
Utility assistance: walkins Mondays and Wednesdays 8:30am-3:30pm
NCDHHS is encouraging North Carolinians who are enrolled in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to use their food benefits during COVID-19 to support good nutrition for their families. All WIC participants are getting monthly food benefits automatically added to their eWIC account because of the pandemic.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the NC Department of Public Instruction, announced May 19, 2021 the expansion of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program to provide benefits to eligible children under the age of 6 who are in households receiving Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). This expansion will provide benefits to families with young children and infants who need extra help buying food. The state will begin issuing P-EBT benefits to eligible children under the age of 6 starting this week.
Optum has a toll-free 24-hour Emotional Support Help Line at 866-342-6892 for people who may be experiencing anxiety or stress around COVID-19.
The National Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 offers crisis counseling and emotional support 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing distress or other mental health concerns during the COVID-19 outbreak.
People who have confirmed COVID-19 and are in isolation, and people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are self-monitoring, are doing the right thing and helping to protect their communities. They should never be harassed and bullied, including through social media. We should offer compassion, support via phone and texts, and assistance as appropriate, but never hostility or judgment.