Funding

Demand for rental assistance was tremendous and all the funds have been committed. As such, the program is CLOSED to new Tenant applications.

Will this program re-open at a later time?

No. It is very unlikely that the program will re-open at a later time.

Will assistance be available for June rent?

No, funding was for April and May only and all funds have been committed.

When will the website be back up?

The website is available, but only for information. The Tenant application section is now closed due to all funds being committed.

Status of Tenant Application

Have questions about the status of your successfully submitted Tenant application? See the process illustration above or read frequently asked questions and responses below.

How do I know if my application was submitted successfully?

When you applied online, you should have seen a statement on the screen with a confirmation number stating that your application was successfully submitted. That day, you should have also received an email or text confirming your application submission. If you did not receive the confirmation on screen nor the email or text confirmation, then your application was not received.

How can I check the status of my rental assistance?

There is no online portal, phone number or other method to check on your application status at this time. If you submitted your Tenant application successfully and received a confirmation number, then within the next two weeks, you will receive a “Pledge” notification confirming the amount and months that we will be paying your Landlord on your behalf.

How long before I get notified if my Tenant application was approved?

We will be reviewing Tenant Applications and sending notifications from May 15th-June 10th. During this period, IF you submitted your Tenant application successfully, you will receive either a “Pledge” notification informing you of the month and amount of assistance that will be provided OR you will receive a “Denial” notification informing you of the reason(s) why your application was Denied.

Will my landlord be notified of my application submission and status? Will I hear from someone if approved or only my landlord?

Only the Tenant was notified if their Tenant Application was submitted successfully. However, once the Tenant Application is approved, both the Tenant AND the Landlord will receive the “Pledge” notification which will confirm the month(s) and amount(s) approved for rental assistance payment.

If my Tenant application is approved, when will my landlord get paid?

Landlords will be paid on behalf of Tenants within 5 days of the Tenant “Pledge” notification. Our goal is to pay Landlords by June 10th for all Tenant applications who submitted successfully.

Participating Landlord Conditions

1

Participating Landlords must have rental property(ies) located within the City of Houston city limits.

2

Participating Landlords agree that they will waive any late fees and/or interest for missed rental payments of Qualified Tenants for April and/or May 2020.

3

Participating Landlords agree that they will not provide notice to vacate or initiate an eviction proceeding to any Qualified Tenant for nonpayment of rent in April and/or May 2020 as long as Qualified Tenant is not otherwise in default of tenant lease and complies with the agreed-upon payment plan. Upon payment by BakerRipley, Landlords will rescind any prior notice to vacate and halt any prior eviction proceeding of Qualified Tenant based upon nonpayment of the rent paid by the BakerRipley Rental Assistance Program (“Program”).

4

Participating Landlords agree to defer the payment of any shortfall in rent above the $1,056.00 per month rent paid by the Program and enter into a payment plan that will allow the Qualified Tenant at least six months from the original due date, or until the end of the lease term, whichever is earlier, to completely pay any such shortfall. The payment plan for any deferred amount will not charge additional fees or interest.

5

Participating Landlords agree that payments received from the Program will be credited to the corresponding Qualified Tenant’s account balance within five (5) days of receipt. Payment detail statements will be emailed by BakerRipley to the Landlord.

6

Participating Landlords agree to promptly reimburse BakerRipley for any over-payments or errors in payments.

7

Participating Landlords agree to provide BakerRipley with the following information to facilitate payment:

  1. a signed W-9 Form
  2. Bank Routing and Account Information for the processing of Direct ACH Payments to the Landlord
  3. an electronic copy of a government-issued photo ID for the authorized landlord representative signing the Participating Landlord Agreement (driver’s license, identity card, passport, Department of Defense ID, other).
8

Participating Landlords agree that BakerRipley may require Participating Landlords to provide the following documents:

  1. tenant lists and rental rolls
  2. statements of payments to tenant accounts
  3. records confirming the waiver/removal of fees and interest for any Qualified Tenant, and
  4. any payment plan between the Landlord and Qualified Tenant for any shortfall in rent above the $1,056.00 per month rent paid by the Program.
9

Participating Landlords agree to cooperate with and assist BakerRipley as needed in the collection of any records and documents necessary for BakerRipley to confirm tenant eligibility according to the Rental Assistance Program guidelines.

10

Participating Landlords should understand that only Qualified Tenants who meet the eligibility requirements described below can receive assistance through the BakerRipley Rental Assistance Program.

Tenant Eligibility Requirements

1

Tenant must electronically sign and submit the BakerRipley Application for Rental Assistance.

2

Tenant must submit a clear electronic image/copy of a photo ID OR a utility bill in your name (gas, water, electric) to attach to their application.

3

Tenant must be in good standing without any current defaults (monetary or nonmonetary) other than the payment of rent for April 2020 and/or May 2020.

4

Tenant must affirm that their inability to pay rent for April 2020 and/or May 2020 is due to financial hardship resulting from the economic impact of COVID-19 as indicated by a loss or reduction of employment, or a loss of income if self-employed.

5

Tenant must affirm that they are income-eligible by either

  • affirming they are eligible and receiving benefits through ANY of the following programs
    • Medicaid
    • Public Housing Assistance (Houston Housing Authority)
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
    • Head Start or Early Head Start
    • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
    • Women, Infant, and Children Program (WIC)
    • Federal Pell Grant
    • VA Pension or Disability
    • Tribal Assistance
    • Harris Health Gold Card

  • affirming that their income was below 80% of the average median income in the Houston region before March 2020 (i.e., prior to economic impact of COVID-19), based on amounts provided in the chart below:

    For Households with more than 8 persons, add $4,480 for each additional person.

Tenants

Does the address on my photo ID need to match the address on my application?

No. The purpose of the photo ID is to verify your identity; while the address does not have to match what is on the application, you must currently continue to reside at the rental location. When a photo ID is not available, you can submit a copy of a utility bill (electricity, gas, water, cable, telephone) with your name and current address on it as proof of address.

I have multiple adults living in my household. Who should submit the application?

Any adult that is listed on the lease is able to submit the application for rental assistance. ONLY ONE APPLICATION per rental unit should be submitted.

I am experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, but prior to COVID-19, my household income was above the income guidelines (80% AMI). Am I eligible to participate in this program?

No, you are not eligible to participate. This program is designed to provide relief to tenants who were low-to-moderate income prior to COVID-19 and who were financially impacted  by COVID-19.

I am a low-income resident experiencing challenges with paying my April and/or May rent. However, I have not experienced loss of employment or reduced income/revenues due to COVID-19. Am I eligible to participate in this program?

No, you are not eligible to participate. This program is designed to provide relief to tenants who have experienced financial impact due to COVID-19.

My lease is expired and I am now on a month-to-month plan with my landlord. Will I need to submit a current lease in order to quality for rental assistance?

No, the end date of the lease does not matter. You will not be asked to submit a copy of your lease. You can apply for assistance for any unpaid rent that is still due for April and/or May as long as you meet all other program requirements.

Will I receive a 1099 from BakerRipley?

No, a tenant will not receive a 1099. IRS rules will require BakerRipley to issue a 1099 in certain conditions. In those situations, the 1099 will be issued to the Landlord.

What documentation will I have to provide to demonstrate my income is below the income guidelines?

At the time of application, no income documentation is required to be submitted. You will provide self-certification that you meet the income guidelines and other program requirements. If needed, BakerRipley does reserve the right to request information supporting your self-certifications.

Can I live anywhere in Harris County or in the region to be eligible?

Only Landlords and their Tenants whose rental property is located within the City of Houston’s city limits are eligible for rental assistance under this program.

What proof of eligibility must I submit?

Tenants will be asked to self-certify their eligibility.

They will also be required to submit:

  • an electronic copy of a photo identification
  • OR a Utility Bill with their name and the address of the rental property.

What does it mean to be in good standing without any current defaults?

A Tenant’s only issue with their landlord should be the balance owed for April and/or May rents. If the Tenant is not on good terms with their landlords for other lease terms, the Tenant is not eligible for funding and the Landlord is not required to waive those other defaults.

What do I provide as proof of my eligibility?

Tenant will be asked to certify and attest that:

  1. tenant’s inability to pay is due to financial hardship resulting from the economic impact of COVID-19
  2. tenant does not have sufficient income or other resources to pay rent
  3. tenant is eligible and receiving benefits through other social service programs such as

    Medicaid; Public Housing Assistance (Houston Housing Authority); Harris Health Gold Card;Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Temporary Assistance for NeedyFamilies (TANF); Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Head Start or Early Head Start;National School Lunch Program (NSLP); Women, Infant, and Children Program (WIC); Federal Pell Grant; VA Pension or Disability;

    OR

    affirming that their income was below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) in the Houston region before March 2020 (i.e., prior to economic impact of COVID-19), based on amounts provided in this chart

For Households with more than 8 persons, add $4,480 for each additional person.

What if my landlord refuses to enroll into the program?

Since payments are made directly to your Landlord, the program requires that the landlord enroll as a Participant Landlord. If your landlord refuses to enroll in the program, please call United Way 2-1-1 to see if there are other resources to help you.

Can payment be made to me (tenant) directly?

No. Per program guidelines, rent payments will be payable directly to the Participating Landlord.

I already paid for April and/or May 2020 rent and I am still struggling in other financial areas. May I be reimbursed for rent payments I already made?

No. This program is designed to provide relief to tenants that have rent balances still outstanding for April and/or May 2020.

There may be other programs that can help. Please call United Way 2-1-1 to see if there are other resources to help you.

How much rental assistance will I receive through this program?

The maximum rental assistance is $1,056.00 for April and/orMay.  Tenants should not ask for a rental assistance amount greater than the amount that is due. Landlords are required to return funds that are not needed for April and/or May.

Is there a paper application I can mail or do you have a paper application for tenants that do not have a computer or access to the internet?

No. All Landlord and Tenant information and enrollment must be submitted on this website. If you have limited or no access to a computer or internet, please look for resources (such as asking your Landlord or family members to assist with giving you access.) If you have no immediate resources who may provide you with computer or internet access, please call 2-1-1.

Is the website available in other languages?

Yes. on the website, look for the translation button and click the desired language.

Once I submit my application, am I guaranteed funding for my rent that is due?

There is great demand and urgency for rental assistance. Tenants will apply and will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will be accepting online applications for this program until funding runs out.

What if I need help for June or July or future months in 2020?

At this time, the funding is only for rent due for April and/or May 2020 rent.

I don’t have a United States government agency photo ID. What else can I submit?

Any photo ID is accepted. In addition, we can accept a utility bill with the applicant’s name and address.

Do you have to be a U.S citizen to apply?

There are no citizenship requirements for this program.

The criteria are

  1. you are a tenant in Good Standing living in the City of Houston,
  2. you are currently eligible and receiving benefits from any of the social service programs listed on the website
    OR you are below the 80% AMI (prior to March)
  3. you complete the online application and submit a photo ID or utility bill.

How long does it take to find out if I am eligible and receive the rental assistance?

Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation that it has been submitted.

Within 5 days, you will receive notification of the amount of rental assistance that you have been approved to receive and that amount will be paid to your Landlord.

Will rental assistance payments also cover late fees and other fees incurred?

No. A Tenant must be in good standing with their Landlord in order to receive this assistance. Your landlord must agree to waive any late fees or penalties for April and/or May 2020. Tenants are ineligible for this assistance if they have late fees, interest, or other issues with their Landlord which are other than unpaid rent balances for April or May.

Landlords

What is the process you are following to verify that my property is within the City of Houston?

We are using the Harris County Appraisal District website and under the section for Jurisdictions and Exemptions, we verify that code 061 is present which denotes that the property is in the City of Houston.

Will I receive a 1099 from BakerRipley?

Yes, IRS rules will require BakerRipley to issue a 1099 in certain conditions. In those situations, the 1099 will be issued to the Landlord.

Will I be responsible for reimbursing BakerRipley for any payment that is determined to be an overpayment or fraudulent request?

Yes. If there is an overpayment or misrepresentation and/or Fraud by the Tenant, BakerRipley will ask the Landlord to return the funds. If the Tenant is no longer leasing with the Landlord at the time of fraud determination, we will seek other actions against the Tenant.

Will landlords be required to provide evidence that they are compliant with the payment plan and/or waived late fees requirements?

Landlord will not need to provide verification at the time of enrollment but BakerRipley reserves the right to request, as needed, any documentation to verify compliance with the Landlord Agreement.

I submitted my request to be a Participation Landlord more than 24 hours ago. Why is my property not listed in the Participation Directory?

Upon submission of your request, BakerRipley needs to verify that the property listed is within the City of Houston. Once the verification is complete, your property will be listed in the Landlord Participation Directory. Check the website often. The verification could be instant or can take up to 2 days depending on the amount of requests received. We are working through all of the Landlord submissions with a goal that all qualified landlords are listed on the website prior to Wednesday May 13th. If there is an issue with the verification which prevents us from enrolling the landlord, a BakerRipley program team member will email you with an explanation of the issue.

Will this program be extended beyond May?

At this time, funding is only available for rent due for April and/or May.

Can I apply the funds I receive for my tenant’s unpaid March or February balance?

No, only Tenants who are current for March and in Good Standing are eligible. The Rental assistance is for outstanding rent balances for April and/or May  only.

As a Landlord, I own rental properties both inside the City of Houston and outside the City limits.  Are my properties that are outside the City limits eligible for the program?

No. Only the Landlord Properties that are physically inside the    City of Houston are eligible.

What do I need to do to enroll as a Participating Landlord?

Landlords will need to enroll on this website, www.houstonrentassistance.org.

They will need to have an authorized representative complete all information and submit a copy of a government issued ID.

The Landlord will need to

  1. agree to the terms and sign the Landlord Agreement
  2. enter all pertinent owner and property information
  3. inform their Tenants that they are now a Participating Landlord
    Tenants can’t apply if the Landlord doesn’t become a Participating Landlord

Will my Tenant receive the payment?

No. Per program guidelines, rent payments will be payable directly, by ACH deposit, to the Participating Landlord.

Participating Landlords will be asked to enter bank information and complete a W-9 form. Payments will be made to the Landlord by the program on behalf of the eligible Tenant.

Is there a paper Landlord enrollment application or a number I can call to enroll?

No. All Landlord information and submission must  be entered on this website, www.houstonrentassistance.org.

When will I be notified and when will I be paid?

Participating Landlords are not guaranteed payment.

Participating Landlords will be paid ONLY if

  1. the Tenant completes the application,
  2. the Tenant is deemed eligible, and
  3. if funding is still available.

Tenants must do their part! It is critical that you share your enrollment with your tenants.

The Landlord will receive a ‘Pledge’ notification every time a Tenant is deemed eligible for funding.  The ‘Pledge’ notification will include the name and information of the Tenant and the amount of rental assistance that will be provided. Once the ‘Pledge’ notification is received, the Landlord will receive an ACH payment within a few days.

Landlord can expect the rental payment within one week of receiving the confirmation from BakerRipley of a ‘Pledge’ to pay for an approved Tenant.