Iowa – Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

If you are about to be evicted and need legal help, there is a potential that Iowa Legal Aid will be able to help you without charging you any costs.

HOUSING RECOVERY SUPPORT LINE

Have a question about the Rent and Utility Program app or the program itself? Contact the Housing Recovery Support Team.
515.348.8813 or 855.300.5885

Households Eligible

  • Households that rent their living space and earn no more than 80 percent of the area’s median income
  • It’s possible that unemployment benefits could be awarded to more than one member of the family. As a direct or indirect consequence of the coronavirus outbreak, OR has either seen a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or been put in a position where they are having trouble making ends meet financially.
  • A household may be in danger of suffering homelessness or housing instability if they have received a notification that their rent or utilities are past due, or if they have received an eviction notice.

Households That Do Not Qualify For the Program

  • households that rent their living space and have an income that is larger than 80 percent of the area’s median income
  • Renter households that have not experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other forms of financial hardship as a direct or indirect result of the coronavirus outbreak are not considered to have incurred significant costs or experienced other forms of financial hardship as a result of the outbreak.
  • Households that are unable to provide all of the required documentation in order to be considered.
  • Agreements between renter families for the use of a sublet or sublease.
  • Homes that are owned by their residents.

APPLICATION STEPS

FIRST STEP: Review the required papers and frequently asked questions.

Have digital copies of documents such as evidence of identification and documents proving eligibility for income (required for each adult household member aged 18 and up), signed a lease and/or utility bill, and other documents of this nature.

SECOND STEP: Implement

Complete the application form.

THIRD STEP: Let your landlord know.

Landlords are required to finish filling out a portion of your application before it can be considered for approval.

Application

Applicants for financial assistance, both renters and landlords, are urged to apply.
Have you already submitted your application? To check the status of your application, please log in.

With new technology, the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program have modernized its application system. Please contact us at 1-855-300-5885 if you have any questions or need assistance. For questions and how-to videos, log in to the system and use the “Help” menu in the upper right corner.

The Application’s User Manual

APPLY

Application Evaluation:

Complete applications with a household member who has been unemployed for 90 days or more at the time of application, or households with an annual income at or below 50% of the Area Median Income, will be prioritized and reviewed first. This is done to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of receiving aid. A landlord verification from the applicant’s landlord is required before an application for rental assistance may be considered complete and eligible for examination. This link will take you to the comprehensive priority policy.

Payment Schedule:

Evictions and utility disconnections should be halted until the application evaluation is completed and payments can be processed, and landlords and utility providers are strongly encouraged to cooperate with this request.

Linn County applicants include:

Linn County residents in need of rent and utility assistance can apply to the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program beginning Monday, January 3, 2022. (IRUAP).

Renters can only get assistance from the IRUAP and Linn County programs for a total of 12 months. No IRUAP assistance may be combined with any other help previously provided via Linn County’s emergency rental assistance program.

LANDLORDS’ INFORMATION

The Iowa Rent and Utility Aid Program mainly rely on landlords to connect renters in need with the aid made available via the program. Landlords play an important role in this process. Find out more.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR UTILITY PROVIDERS

Utility suppliers in Iowa must participate in the program to facilitate information exchange and offer renters with the relief they so sorely need. Find out more here.

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is it true that if I apply, I will receive assistance?

No, filing an application does not ensure that you will receive assistance. Applications are reviewed in the order that they are received. Only applications that are entirely completed and include all essential paperwork in a clear, legible way will be considered.

Applicants who get a notification of an incomplete application and instructions to complete the missing information must successfully complete the missing information in order for their application to be advanced. Applications that are incomplete will not be considered for funding. Applicants who do not supply all required information or who are deemed ineligible for the program owing to its requirements will be disqualified.

Landlords must also complete the relevant certification and agree to the terms of assistance. If a landlord fails to submit the necessary certification and agree to the terms of assistance within 14 days of a tenant’s application, eligible applicants may risk a delay in receiving assistance.

Is it possible for all Iowa renters, regardless of location, to apply for assistance through the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program?

No. Polk County and Des Moines residents are no longer eligible for the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program. More information regarding the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which may be of assistance to Polk County and Des Moines residents, can be found here.

To be eligible for this program, I must have been affected by COVID-19.

Yes. You must demonstrate economic or financial hardship caused directly or indirectly by COVID-19.

Can I still get aid with delinquent utility bills if I don’t need help with rent?

Yes. You can continue to apply for utility assistance exclusively.

Is it still possible to apply for rent aid if I don’t need help with utilities?

Yes. You are only permitted to apply for rent assistance.

Are renters who get unemployment benefits-eligible?

You can still participate in the program if you are receiving unemployment benefits. You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if one or more members of your household are eligible, as long as you meet all other program eligibility requirements.

Is it possible to spend the money on something other than rent and utilities?

No, monies are only available to help with rent and utilities.

Is it possible to use the relief to pay off rent and/or utility bills?

Yes. Initially, the monies will be used to pay off past-due rent and utility expenses. Prior to March 13, 2020, funds cannot be utilized to pay past-due rent or utility bills.

If I qualify, how long will I be able to receive assistance?

The program offers financial assistance for up to 12 months. All past-due rent and utilities expenses will be available after March 13, 2020. Rent and utility subsidies are not transferable to future payments. Funding under the program will be available until at least September 30, 2022, unless all available funds are expended before that date.

Is there a deadline for submitting my application?

No, there is no set deadline for submitting applications. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are depleted or the Iowa Finance Authority declares a halt to application submissions.

How will I be compensated if I am authorized?

Payments will be sent directly to landlords and utility companies and credited to the tenant’s unpaid rent or utility bills.

I own real estate. Can I get assistance with my mortgage or utility bills?

No, federal restrictions limit assistance to qualified households that are responsible for paying rent on a residential unit.

My house is being purchased under contract. Is it feasible to seek assistance with contract payments or power bills?

No, the program only assists qualifying households who are required to pay rent on a residential dwelling.

Am I qualified if I have a rent-to-own agreement?

A tenant who rents a home under a “rent-to-own” agreement, in which the renter has the option (or obligation) to purchase the property at the end of the lease period, may be eligible for assistance if a member of their household:

  • Is not a signor or co-signor on the property’s mortgage;
  • Does not have the property’s deed or title; and
  • Has not executed the purchase option.

Is it gross or net income if we are considered rent-burdened (spending more than 50% of our family income on rent)?

Your income is calculated using your adjusted gross income.

Is it feasible to get assistance with a second or vacation home?

No, the assisted rental property must be the applicant’s primary residence.

Will I be held responsible for any payments that are later discovered to be overpayment or fraudulent requests?

Yes, if an overpayment, deception, or fraud is detected, the Iowa Finance Authority will seek compensation.

How are the months of support determined during the application request and approval process?

Applicants for rent must specify the months during which assistance is required.

In the case of utilities, applicants must specify which months their debt is due. To establish these months, you may need to contact your utility provider or review previous bills. Months should be selected using the applicant’s own documentation or best guess. Unless the utility bill upload demonstrates that the balance owed is for the most recent billing cycle’s usage and costs, the applicant should choose months other than the current month. Reviewers might add months to the application or contact the applicant or utility for more information to confirm the month requests are accurate.

If accepted, the months of rent and utility assistance will be put together to determine the total number of months covered. Rent and utility assistance for the same month will be combined to count as one month. If an applicant’s maximum time of utility arrears and rental assistance has expired, they will be unable to reapply.

Is it possible to appeal the decision?

Yes. If you believe your application was incorrectly denied due to an error made by the agency or a failure to respond or provide documentation, you can file an appeal using the Rent Relief site. You should go to the “Appeals” section of the RentRelief portal for more information. We will not accept contributions that are older than 30 days.

Who should I contact about the likelihood of fraud?

Please forward any information you have about potential fraudulent conduct to iowahousingrecovery@iowafinance.com.

Questions and Answers About the Required Documentation

Is it essential to offer identity verification?

Yes, a photocopy of the principal tenant applicant’s driver’s license or other government-issued identification is required.

What form of proof of eligibility and household income must we provide?

This page has a detailed discussion of the many types of documentation required, including permissible household income.

Rental Assistance Frequently Asked Questions

What types of rental properties are eligible for financial aid?

The following types of rental properties are eligible for assistance if a qualified tenant household rents a property from a landlord: (A current lease must be in place.)

  • Renting a residence
  • A single-family home rental
  • A prefabricated home rental
  • Lot rent for prefabricated homes

Please take note that tenancy agreements that involve subletting or subleasing are ineligible for eviction prevention assistance under the terms of the program.

Why are future rental assistance months ineligible?

Applicants may only request assistance with past-due rent, which must be accompanied by a past-due notice. This is done to ensure that resources are directed toward the most pressing needs of Iowans.

Can I still be evicted if I get rental assistance through this program?

Before receiving a rental payment, a landlord must declare that they will not evict the household for nonpayment of rent and utility assistance received in previous months.

The Not to Evict Certification will expire at the end of the month in which the tenant receives rental assistance under the program.

Is it feasible to include late fees for rented items?

While late fees will not be included in the assistance provided, the landlord must forgive all late fees and other penalties accrued to date in order to participate in the program.

Can I apply for rental assistance if I share a room with roommates?

Yes, if you live with one or more roommates, you can apply for rental assistance, but you can only get money to help with the portion of the rent that you are directly responsible for.

I applied for and received assistance through the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program; are I still eligible to apply?

Yes, you are eligible to apply even if you have previously applied for and received assistance through the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program or the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program.

Is it required for me to notify my landlord that I’ve applied for help?

Tenants are strongly advised to contact their landlord as soon as they realize they will be unable to pay any or all of their rent, as well as to notify their landlord that they have filed for the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program. Before your application for rental assistance may be approved, your landlord must complete the required certification and agree to the terms of assistance; therefore, it is in your best interest to tell your landlord of your application submission.

Can a landlord apply for rental assistance on behalf of his or her qualified tenants?

No, the tenant must submit his or her own application.

Can the program assist me with my security deposit and first/last month’s rent so that I can move into a new apartment?

No, the program does not cover security deposits or the first and last months’ rent, which may be required by a landlord when signing a new lease. The program is intended to assist Iowans who are experiencing a COVID-19-related income loss in remaining in their current rental housing by preventing evictions under existing leases.

If I receive a monthly government subsidy (e.g., Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, Project-Based Section 8, USDA Rural Development), are I eligible to apply?

Yes. Tenant families receiving a monthly federal subsidy (such as Housing Choice Vouchers, Public Housing, Project-Based Section 8, or USDA Rural Development) are eligible to apply and must present a Tenant Income Certification (TIC) issued on or after April 1, 2020. Acceptable forms are HUD-50058, HUD-50059, and RD 3560-8.

What should I do if I’m worried about being evicted before receiving help from this program?

Iowa Legal Aid provides free legal services to qualified Iowans. You should call them as soon as possible to discuss your specific situation. The federal CDC has extended the prohibition on rent evictions until June 30, 2021. Here’s where you can learn more: What to Expect from the 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak | Iowa Legal Aid

Can I apply if I haven’t yet been served with an eviction notice?

Although an eviction notice is not required, it can be used to demonstrate that your family is at risk of being homeless or experiencing housing instability. A notice of past-due rent or utility bills is also acceptable proof.

What is the maximum amount of rental help you can provide?

A renter who qualifies for rental assistance may receive assistance for up to 12 months. The quantity of money that can be spent is unlimited. The amount of assistance provided will be decided by the tenant’s rent as specified in their lease, including any past-due rent.

According to an email I received, my landlord applied for the program. Is there anything else I should do?

Yes. If you received this email, your landlord has registered your address in the application site and completed the essential landlord verification information. To submit and review the application, you must first log into the portal and complete the parts pertinent to the applicant.

How should I fill out the family income application if I have roommates?

If there is a single lease, all adult household members living at the rental property address should be included in assessing household income. All persons living at the address should be evaluated for income eligibility under the program, whether or not their names appear on the lease.

If roommates have separate leases, they should not be considered part of the principal applicant’s household. If the principal applicant is listed as a dependent on a parent’s or anyone else’s income tax return, they are considered part of a larger household and must provide proof of the whole family’s income, ideally via a filed IRS Form 1040 for the calendar year 2020.

FAQs concerning utilities

I’ve had an increasing balance of arrears with my utility provider for several months, and I’ve been unable to make the payments. So, how should I proceed?

Before applying, please contact your utility provider and try to work out a payment plan for the amount owed. Several providers frequently provide and encourage customers to use this option. In many cases, making and keeping to a payment plan is the best approach to avoid utility service disconnection and maintain good standing.

What types of utilities are included in the program?

The utilities listed below are eligible:

  • Electricity
  • Natural gas is a form of fuel that is utilized in automobiles.
  • Which Is Better: Propane or Fuel Oil?
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Collection of Garbage

Is it feasible that I will receive utility assistance in the future?

Utility bills that are outstanding to utility providers at the time of application are eligible for assistance. This calculation includes utility providers who must be paid before services can be continued (for example, propane dealers).

Is it still possible to apply if I got assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and/or the Low Income Home Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)?

Yes. However, you should only apply for assistance if you have outstanding debts that have not been paid off by another government program. If you have received assistance since filing your application, please contact the Housing Recovery Support Team.

My utility company recently handed me a notice to disconnect. Is there still time for me to apply?

You are indeed qualified to apply. It is strongly advised that applicants notify their utility providers that they have requested assistance from this program. A pending application does not guarantee that assistance will be provided or utility disconnections will be halted.

I applied for and received assistance through the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program; am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, you are eligible to apply even if you previously applied for and received assistance through the old Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program.

Is it required that the electricity bill be in the applicant’s name?

No, before the utility bill can be uploaded to the app, the utility account number and account holder must be visible. If the utility account holder is not the applicant or a household member named on the application, the case manager may call the applicant to discuss this aspect of the application. The entire household must pay the utility bill.

Is it possible to add a new bill from a different provider or submit an updated utility bill from my original application submission?

Your application can be processed and updated, including the initial utility request type (such as electricity). Contact the Housing Recovery Support Team to make changes to the bill. If the review period lasts longer than the billing cycle specified on the original upload, a case manager may contact you to request an adjusted bill. If you need to make a new request for a different utility service provider bill, you must submit a new application.

The application only requests a single type of service. My company offers a wide range of services (for example, both water and electricity). So, what should I do next?

Fill up the appropriate field after selecting one of the service types for the provider. Do not send that provider separate requests for each utility type. If you do, your total payment will be classified as one of the service types if you are accepted.

How can I prepare for the application’s completion?

Applicants should ensure that they have all of the necessary paperwork, such as a full utility bill or other propane-related documentation that verifies the account and financial request.

In our home, we use propane or fuel oil and do not receive the same type of bill that a utility would. What information should my application contain?

Any evidence indicating that you are a propane customer of the provider you select in the application should be submitted. The name, address, and account number, if any, of the account holder should all be given.

Our household’s natural gas bill has climbed dramatically as a result of the effects of this winter’s cold snap on natural gas prices. Is it possible for me to seek assistance through this program?

You may be eligible if your household meets the eligibility standards and has outstanding utility bills. The purpose of this program is to assist low-income families who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. All of the eligibility conditions are detailed on our website. To insure that service is maintained, you should explore your choices with your utility provider for a payment plan or other needs. Even if you pay your complete payment at this higher rate, this program is focused on amounts owed and cannot compensate an applicant for invoices already paid before they applied.

Will my energy company be aware of my involvement in the program?

No, applicants should notify their utility company that they have requested assistance. Utility companies can contact the Housing Recovery Support Team to confirm application submission. If you and your utility need assistance confirming your application submission, contact the Housing Recovery Support Team.

Application Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be contacted with questions or requests for further information during the review process?

The application evaluation team may request further information or documents. Applicants should regularly check their email accounts and junk mail to ensure that notifications from the application portal are not marked as spam. According to these notices, applicants will be instructed to log into their applications and provide the required information or evidence. Applicants will be given a timeframe to respond to these requests.

Due to technological challenges, I’m having difficulty with the online application. So, how should I proceed?

Call the application support team and describe your technical issues (855-300-5885 or 515-348-8813). You should use the most recent, up-to-date version of your internet browser as well as a reliable internet connection.

What is the most effective way to check the status of my application?

Those who already have accounts and applications can check their status and submit new ones through this platform. Log in with the same email address and password you used when you applied.

How do I request more rental assistance for a new month if I previously requested rental assistance?

If you’re requesting for further assistance for a new month with the same landlord, log in to your first application, access the cases page, and select recertify (current landlord).

If you’re asking for rental assistance for a new month with a new landlord, log in to your prior application, access the cases tab, and click create a new case (new landlord).

When will my landlord receive the monies if my payment application is approved?

It could take four to seven business days.

Why is there a three-day hold on ACH payments?

The method is compatible with our existing global Payment Processing methods.

MARKETING RESOURCES

A program flyer that can be emailed or printed and sent to renters in need of assistance is presented below.

Brochure – English

Flyer – Espaol

Flyer – French

Flyer – Swahili

EMPLOYMENT RESOURCES

The state of Iowa offers a variety of initiatives to assist Iowans with re-entering the labor field. Among the resources offered are resume writing assistance, training programs, and real-time job postings, including temporary opportunities available for COVID-19 impacted workers.

If you need assistance with your job search, please go through the job ads and resources listed below and contact an IowaWORKS Center in your area.

Employees who have been affected by the COVID-19 closures may be able to obtain temporary jobs.

Investigate Job Postings

Questions and Answers for Renters and Homeowners

Education and Instruction

The federal award numbers ERA0184 and ERA0440 issued by the United States Department of the Treasury support this project in whole or in part.

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