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Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program

Austin renters who have experienced an income loss due to COVID-19 are encouraged to apply for the next random selection for the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program

The RENT program provides direct rental support for up to three months for income-eligible Austinites who can demonstrate a COVID-19-related income loss.

Random selection drawings will be conducted periodically over the coming months through the end of the calendar year, or until the $12.9 million is expended.  All applications, regardless of when they are submitted, will be given equal chance in the selection process.

More eviction information, help with paying utilities and related housing services are available on the Housing Resources webpage.

The RENT Application Portal is available in the following languages:

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RENT Assistance Program Eligibility

You are eligible for the RENT Assistance Program if you:

  • Live within Austin’s full purpose jurisdiction and make 80% or less of the Median Family Income (MFI) - see chart:
  • Are currently on a lease or contractually bound rental relationship and are not already a recipient of federal rental assistance programs
  • Have documentation showing that you have experienced a COVID-19-related income loss (e.g. paystubs, unemployment notice, etc.).
  •  
RENT Assistance Program Basics

Eligible Austin renters apply through the online RENT Application Portal (applications open Wednesday August 19, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (CST)).  Applicants are randomly selected for further qualification review.  If your application is qualified, the rent payment will be issued directly to your landlord in the full amount of your contracted rent.

1 Month of Paid Rent: If your income is between 30% and 80% of the Median Family Income (see table below), eligible and qualified applicants could receive full monthly rent payment for one month.

Up to 3 Months of Paid Rent: If your income is between 0% and 30% of the Median Family Income (see table below), eligible and qualified applicants could receive full monthly rent payment for three months (either overdue rent or future rent.)

RENT Assistance Program Benefits

The RENT Assistance Program provides FULL contracted rent payment.

Your current income plays a role in determining whether you can receive rent payment for either 1 month or up to 3 months with the RENT program.

3 Months of RENT:  If your income is between 0% and 30% of the Median Family Income (see table below), eligible and qualified applicants could receive full monthly rent payment for three months.

EXAMPLE: The head of a 4-person household in Austin, TX was laid off because their employer downsized in June due to the COVID-19 crisis.  Other sources of income generated in the household produce a gross monthly income of $1,900. The household has a lease with a monthly rent amount of $1,100 (the home is not a federally subsidized rental unit, nor do they have a HousingChoice Voucher.)  The next rent payment is due in September, although the household has not paid July or August rent either.  The household applies for the RENT Assistance Program in September 2020 and is randomly selected for qualification review.  Once qualified, the full rent amount is paid for 3 months (July, August and September*) directly to the landlord on behalf of the household. 

*Note: 3 months of rent payment can be applied to future rent as well.  If the qualified applicant self-certifies in advance of each month going forward that they are still unable to pay their rent, they could receive future rent.

1 Month of RENT:  If your income is between 30% and 80% of the Median Family Income (see table below), eligible and qualified applicants could receive full monthly rent payment for one month.

EXAMPLE: A person in Austin, TX now works a reduced schedule at a local business due to reductions in customers due to COVID-19.  They are now earning $2,400 per month.  Since May, due to the reduction in income, they have only been able to pay for living expenses with savings (like food, medications, and other necessities), but they are unable to pay the $900 monthly rent (the home is not a federally subsidized rental unit, nor do they have a HousingChoice Voucher.) The next rent payment as written in the lease is due in September.  The person applies for the RENT Assistance Program in September 2020 and is randomly selected for qualification review.  Once qualified, the full rent amount is paid for September directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant.

RENT Assistance Program Application Process

Go to the RENT Application Portal (applications open Wednesday August 19, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (CST)) for instructions, how-to-apply video, frequently asked questions, and application assistance available in multiple languages.  Applications will remain open 24/7 during the program.  The program will run from August until January 2021, or until funds are expended.

Application Process - what you can expect:

  1. Renter has COVID-19 income reduction, difficulty paying rent
  2. Renter gathers all necessary documents for RENT application
  3. Renter applies for RENT application
  4. Renter selected through random selection (If an applicant is not selected, the applicant is automatically placed into the next cycle.)
  5. Renter’s eligibility determined
  6. Landlord’s eligibility determined
  7. City of Austin RENT Assistance Program sends funds to Landlord (either 1 month or up to 3 months)

Promote the RENT Assistance Program 

For community organizations who would like to help promote the RENT program in their communities, the RENT Program Marketing Kit, Community Partner Webinar Recording and Presentation deck are available for download here. Community partners can submit a request for printed RENT Marketing Kit materials to promote the RENT Assistance Program to community members impacted by COVID-19.

The RENT Marketing Kit includes flyers, social media graphics and printable promotional materials available in the following languages:

Español  |  Tiếng Việt  |  中文 (简体)  |  中文 (繁體)  |  한국어 |  Burmese  |  अरबी   |اُردُو

View the recorded RENT Launch Press Conference (English and Spanish)

Eviction Info and Help

Information on Eviction Moratoriums

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Steve Adler issued Order No. 20200930-20 that prohibits landlords from issuing notices to vacate except in certain circumstances, locking out tenants, and removing property. This ordinance expires the 61st day after December 31, 2020.

In addition, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that all eviction filings must include a U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) form where tenants swear that they earn less than $99,000 a year (for individuals), would be homeless if evicted, and have tried to pay rent.

The CDC issued an eviction halt that took effect Sept. 4, and tenants who sign the CDC form cannot be evicted through the end of 2020.

Contact the RENT Assistance Program

Go to the RENT Application Portal (applications open Wednesday August 19, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (CST)) for instructions, how-to video, frequently asked questions and application assistance.

Email RENT at AustinRENT@cvrassociates.com or call (512) 488-1397, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (CST), Monday through Friday during the application period. Individuals needing hearing or speech accessibility using TDD or TTY technology may call Texas Relay Services by dialing 7-1-1 for assistance.

RENT Program Progress Dashboard

The RENT Program Progress Dashboard provides information about households assisted by the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Program. The dashboard provides aggregate data on the distribution of rent assistance to households served including the total amount and median amount of rent assistance, median family incomes, household size, number of children, geographic distribution of assisted households, and the race/ethnicity, sex, veteran status, occupations and disability status of the head of household.

The RENT Council District Dashboard summarizes the total number of households assisted and the amount of rent assistance provided for each Council District.

To receive email information with the City’s housing affordability programs, subscribe to the HousingMatters newsletter here.