Keep up with what’s happening in the Texas rental housing industry

Texas Rent Relief Program changes make applying quicker and easier

Synopsis

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has made a number of changes to the Texas Rent Relief program to simplify the application process for rental property owners and residents. The Texas Apartment Association will host a free webinar May 12 with additional information.


Key takeaways 

  • Effective April 21, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has simplified the Texas Rent Relief Program (TRR) application and certification process for both property owners and renters.  
  • Review a detailed summary of the changes.
  • TAA has formed a task force to gather feedback on the program and share concerns with TDHCA.
  • Funds are still available in this program, and those in need are urged to apply today. 
  • The Texas Apartment Association will host a free webinar May 12 from 2-3 p.m. to review program changes and criteria. Reserve your spot now.
  • TDHCA encourages rental property owners to postpone evictions for renters who are in the process of applying for TRR funds. Property owners can not receive assistance for any renters who have vacated the premises. 

While the Texas Rent Relief program offers a great opportunity for renters who have been impacted by the pandemic to catch up on arrears, there is no question that the program has gotten off to a rough  start.

TAA has formed a task force to gather input on problems with the program and recently met with TDHCA Executive Director Bobby Bobby Wilkinson and Deputy Director Brooke Boston to discuss some of the most frustrating problems that members have encountered with the application process, customer service and payments.   

TDHCA and agency contractors are looking at what improvements can be made in response to the issues TAA has raised.   

In the meantime, the agency has significantly increased staffing and application review, as well as payment processing, has made significant progress in recent weeks.  TDHCA has also launched a new dashboard to track program progress.  

As of April 29, TDHCA has paid out more than 40 million in assistance for more than 5,700 households.  An additional 14 million in funding for approximately 2,000 households has been approved and is awaiting payment processing.  

The agency is prioritizing applications for those who are participating in the Texas Eviction Diversion Program and applications which are older than 31 days old, and has set a goal of processing new applications within two weeks from submission.

Responding to feedback from applicants and partners, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has streamlined the Texas Rent Relief (TRR) program application and policies to make the process easier and send payments out faster.  

The new changes, effective April 21, are reflected in the materials and online application available at https://texasrentrelief.com/.  

Review a detailed summary of the changes.

TAA webinar on updates to Texas Rent Relief Program
The Texas Apartment Association will host a free webinar for members on Wednesday, May 12 from 2-3 p.m. Central to review changes to the Texas Rent Relief Program and offer tips for working through the process. The program will be presented by experts from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Reserve your spot today.

Funds still available
Funds are still available, and TDHCA encourages eligible landlords and households to apply with the simplified application. If you have questions or need assistance with your application, please contact TDHCA toll-free at 833/9TX-RENT (833/989-7368) Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., or email info@texasrentrelief.com

TDHCA encourages landlords to postpone evictions 
TDHCA also strongly urges landlords to postpone pursuing evictions and allow time for a tenantTexas Rent Relief application to be submitted and approved. The only way to receive assistance is if the tenant continues to reside in the unit listed on the application; once a household has vacated the unit, assistance will NOT be provided to landlords.

Important changes for landlords and utility providers 

  • Landlords can self-certify to show ownership and relationship between landlord and a management company instead of uploading documents. 
  • Utility providers that receive a duplicate assistance payment have 30 business days, instead of 10, to repay TRR. 

Important changes for tenants 

  • Tenants living in public housing, receiving tenant-based or project-based voucher assistance (like Housing Choice Vouchers) are now eligible to receive TRR assistance for the tenant-paid portion of their rent and utilities. 
  • A new statewide monthly rent limit of $4,600 has been established to replace previous limits calculated from county and unit size.
  • Tenants facing eviction are now fast-tracked for application review and can self-certify to show their income. If you are facing eviction and have a court docket number, call TDHCA at 833/989-7368 to update your pending application and be fast-tracked.  
  • Tenants can self-certify to show unemployment qualification instead of uploading documents, and certification from tenants and landlords can be used to certify past-due rent amounts. 
  • Tenants can meet the income requirement by simply uploading a benefit letter from the following programs: Head Start, LIHEAP/CEAP, SNAP, WIC, SSI, TANF, Tribal TANF and VA Disability Pension, Survivor Pension, Enhanced Survivor Benefits or Section 306 disability pension. If one of the above is supplied, the tenant does not have to provide any other income documentation.

More from May 2021 Member Newsletter

Log in to view members only content.

×