COVID-19 Rent Relief
UPDATE: On January 6, 2023 at 5pm CST, THDA's COVID-19 Rent Relief portal closed to NEW applications. To access your existing application, use the button below.
* Clicking the button above will launch the application portal (presented by Neighborly) in a new window, outside of the THDA website. All email communication from this portal will come from Neighborly or Horne, LLP.
You can follow up on your application by calling the THDA Rent Relief call center (844-500-1112) and speaking with a program representative, or by emailing Covidrentrelief@thda.org.
How do I access the application in another language?
- Begin by navigating to the program sign in page https://hornellp-se.neighborlysoftware.com/COVID-19RentRelief-tennessee/Participant
- Once on the sign in page, enter your account’s email and password by clicking on the “Sign In” tab. Click the sign in bottom below the email and password boxes.
- After signing in, click on the icon in the upper right-hand corner to access the application profile.
- After selecting the icon in the top right hand corner of the page, a dropdown will appear. Click the “My Profile” option from the dropdown.
- After selecting the “My Profile” in the previous dropdown your general profile settings will appear. Click the preferred language and select your preferred language.
- After selecting your preferred language click the “Save” button.
For instructions with screenshots, click here.
What is the purpose of the COVID-19 Rent Relief program?
The COVID-19 Rent Relief program was developed in an effort to support renters who are or have been struggling to pay rent, utilities, or other home energy costs due to loss of wages/income as a result of the pandemic. Funding will be available to households for payment of current and/or delinquent (past due) expenses. In addition, eligible future rent may also be covered for eligible households.
THDA will provide assistance to eligible applicants in all areas of Tennessee with the exception of Knox County who received direct funding from the US Treasury to fund separate rent relief programs in their area.
How do I reach the COVID-19 Rent Relief call center?
Dial 844-500-1112. Call center hours are from 7:00am – 8:00pm central (8:00am – 9:00pm eastern) Monday through Saturday.
If I live in Knox county, how do I apply for funds?
Tenants or landlords with properties in these counties will need to contact the local government for further information on local rent relief programs.
Contact information, if available, is listed below.
Knox County: https://knoxhousingassistance.org/
Who can initiate an application?
A landlord or tenant may initiate an application, however both the landlord and tenant must participate in the process.
How can I submit an application?
The application can be initiated through the online application portal above, or by calling the THDA Rent Relief call center (844-500-1112) and speaking with a program representative, by or reaching out to one of our nonprofit agencies listed here.
How is my information being secured through the application portal?
Neighborly Software uses industry best practices to secure information submitted in the application portal. Those features include, but are not limited to, specific password protocols and data encryption.
Is there a deadline for when I have to apply for this assistance?
Because funding for this program is limited, THDA encourages all interested applicants to apply as soon as possible.
THDA prioritized first review of applications submitted through March 15, 2021 by either (1) households with an income less than 50% of Area Median Income or (2) households that had an individual who has been unemployed as a result of COVID-19 for the 90 day period immediately prior to the application date.
Are utilities covered under this program?
Yes, but only past due electricity, gas, water, sewer, and trash collection are eligible expenses under this program. A tenant can receive up to 15 months in past due utility assistance without needing rent assistance. Future utility payments are not covered, only arrearages are. Internet and cable television costs are also not covered.
Is there any other kind of assistance or help I can get from this program?
THDA is working to determine what/if other eligible housing stabilization services may be available and will post on our COVID-19 Rent Relief web page when available.
Does this program cover my late fees?
Yes. Late fees on past due rental or utility expenses as well as attorney’s fees or court fees from an eviction proceeding that a landlord has charged you are eligible for assistance under the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program.
Who can help me answer questions about my application or assist me with submitting one?
You can reach out to one of our nonprofit partners to access application assistance, counseling, or housing stability services.
Who is eligible for this rent relief assistance?
Renters who have experienced economic hardship on or after March 13, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and who meet additional eligibility requirements will qualify for this assistance.
If I already receive assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher (“Section 8”) or other subsidized/income-based housing, am I still eligible for assistance through this program?
Yes. Households receiving other federal housing assistance are eligible to receive funds from THDA’s COVID-19 Rent Relief program, however overlapping costs already covered by other federal sources are not eligible.
If yes, do I have to report this assistance as income?
Housing Choice Voucher (HCV/Section 8) program participants do NOT have to report assistance from the COVID-19 Rent Relief program as income. If households receive federal assistance other than the HCV/Section 8 program, the administrators of those programs will determine if this assistance should be reported as income.
Are there income limits that must be met for applicants to be eligible?
Yes. Tenant households must have a total income equal to or less than 80% of the area median income. Click here to see the income limits for your county.
How do I know if I meet income eligibility criteria?
During the prescreening and application process, tenants will provide documentation to assist THDA in calculating and verifying their current income and overall income eligibility. Applicants whose household income has been verified to be at or below 80 percent of the area median income in connection with another local, state, or federal government assistance program including but not limited to Section 8, Low Income Public Housing, TANF, SNAP, WIC, Head Start, or HEAP, may be determined to be categorically eligible.
Am I eligible to apply for COVID-19 Rent Relief even if I’ve received funds from other sources?
Yes, however, the COVID-19 Rent Relief program is designed to provide relief for specific costs needed to prevent or avoid eviction or loss of home utilities and energy sources and will not cover expenses that have already been paid or will be paid by sources of assistance.
Are homeowners who participate in THDA’s Homeownership option of the Voucher program eligible for assistance?
No, this assistance is only available to tenants.
Are mobile home owners or renters eligible for assistance?
Yes, mobile home owners who rent a lot (or rent a mobile home and a lot) who have experienced an economic hardship beginning on or after March 13, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and who meet additional eligibility requirements will qualify for this assistance.
Is a renter subject to a “rent-to-own” agreement with a landlord eligible for assistance?
A renter under a “rent-to-own” agreement, under which they have an option (or obligation) to purchase the property they rent at the end of the lease term, will qualify for this assistance as long as they can meet the following three requirements:
1. Has experienced an economic hardship beginning on or after March 13, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
2. Provides documentation to confirm a member of his or her household is:
-not a signor or co-signor to the mortgage on the property;
-does not hold the deed or title to the property;
-has not exercised the option to purchase; and
-meets additional applicable eligibility requirements.
What documentation do I need?
The specific documentation needed from the tenant and landlord will be determined during the application process, however individuals may get a general idea of what may be required by each party from the lists below.
Valid government issued ID for applicant(s) noted on lease. Documentation may include but is not limited to; a state issued driver’s license or ID Card, passport, U.S. visa, green card, other generally recognized identification or certification from other federal or state assistance programs.
Rent or lease agreement, two month’s rent receipts or other documentation of payment of rent. (This documentation may come from the tenant or landlord)
Affidavit statement of Covid related hardship supported by documentation or self-attestation; Statement or evidence of housing instability or risk of homelessness documented by housing cost exceeding 30% of household income, notice of eviction, evidence of past due rent payments or past due utility bills, or documentation of current residency in Low Income Public Housing.
Most recent utility statement for each utility in the application (if applying for utility assistance) including current period unpaid charges, past due charges and any applicable late fees.
Income documentation (specific document(s) determined at time of application). Income may be verified by self-attestation when documentation is not immediately available.
If applicant is an emancipated minor, copy of a court ordered Declaration of Emancipation or Marriage Certificate
Valid government issued ID which may include a state issued driver’s license, passport, U.S. visa, green card (applicable if landlord is an individual)
Verification of rent arrearages and or prospective monthly rent (copy of rent ledger, court filings or other verifiable documentation)
Corporate resolution listing the individual authorized to execute documents (Incorporated entities only)
Completed IRS Form W9 (This could require submission or may be satisfied via a hyperlink as determined at the time of application)
Tenant Certification Form (This could require submission or may be satisfied via a hyperlink) This will be determined at the time of application
Authorized Representative Proof (if applying on behalf of a rental property owner or condominium as the property manager, rental agent or asset manager)
When Bulk Payments are approved;
i. CVRR – PHA or Landlord Application Submission
ii. CVRR – Tenant Approval for Landlord to Submit Tenant (for each applicable tenant household)
What if I can’t get the documentation required?
Many of the eligibility requirements can be satisfied by a statement of self –attestation though some documentation may still be required to determine eligibility for the assistance. In most cases there are multiple options available to satisfy these requirements. For specific questions, you may contact the Call Center at 844-500-1112 to speak to a representative who can guide you through this process
How often can I receive assistance through this program?
A household is eligible for up to 15 months of cumulative assistance through this program. Tenants that owe 15 months or less in back rent will receive an additional 3 months of future rent assistance to ensure housing stability for their household, subject to the availability of funds. If a tenant is only applying for future rent assistance, they will be required to recertify every 3 months.
If a tenant is behind and a landlord has proof of the debt, do they still need a delinquent tenant to sign off on the application for rent relief?
Yes, the tenant family will be required to qualify and document income information.
Can a landlord apply on behalf of their tenant?
A landlord or tenant may initiate the application.
Does the payment go to the tenant or the landlord?
Payments will be made directly to landlords and utility companies on behalf of the tenant, but in certain instances, rental payments may be made directly to the tenant if the landlord is unwilling or unable to participate.
If the payment does not come directly to me (the tenant), do I receive something in the mail, or have a way to verify online that my landlord received the money that was paid on my behalf?
A tenant household will be able to verify payments made on their behalf through the online portal.
How long will the wait be from when I submit my application to getting funded?
At this time we expect payments to landlords and utility companies to be processed and paid in approximately 30 days from the date we receive a complete application from both the tenant and landlord including all required documentation. However, this may vary if either party fails to submit a complete application or any of the required documentation, including payment remittance information for the landlord and each utility vendor.
How do I check the status of my application?
Once the application is complete, an applicant may monitor the status of their application through the portal dashboard or by calling 844-500-1112 and speaking with a call center representative. An applicant will be notified by a program liaison if required documentation is missing from an application.
What if my status is ineligible?
Ineligible applicants will be provided an opportunity to appeal the decision. Such applicants should follow the process outlined in the application denial letter.
What happens if the landlord refuses to take direct payment?
THDA can pay rental assistance funds from this program directly to a tenant after the appropriate attempts have been made to reach the landlord.
Will I be taxed on the funds I receive?
No, the funds provided are not considered income to the tenant and will not be taxed. The payment will not affect income for purposes of determining eligibility for other Federal Government assistance or benefits.
I received a rent relief or utility payment that I am not owed because it is for a tenant that does not live in my property, is an over payment, or the tenant no longer resides at the residence. How do I return funds to THDA?
To return necessary funds to THDA, please download and complete the Rent Relief Return of Funds Form and mail this form with payment to the address below.
Checks should be made payable to THDA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program
Mail all forms and returned payments to:
THDA COVID-19 Returned Funds
8 Cadillac Drive, Suite 160
Brentwood, TN 37027.
What if I am behind more than the rent relief can pay on my behalf?
Tenants should still apply even if there is concern that the rent relief funding will not pay all of your past due debt. By applying, an eligible tenant may qualify for the maximum number of months (15) in rental and/or utility payments. These funds could provide you enough assistance to avoid eviction and allow you to work out a payment plan with your landlord or seek other rent relief assistance.
My landlord has already evicted me and I have moved out. Can I use this money to pay the deposit and first month’s rent on a new rental unit?
Yes. You must retain a copy of the new lease and the receipt for the funds used to secure the new rental. This support will be requested when you apply for future rent assistance through the CVRR. Eligible tenants can receive up to 3 months of future rental assistance at a time.
What if I’m not behind on my rent payment now, but I don’t have any more savings and will get behind. Is this program for me?
Yes, if you are eligible based on income, income loss or eligibility for unemployment and you have experienced an economic hardship as a result of COVID-19, you can apply for future rent payments up to 3 months. Every three months, you may be able to recertify and receive additional assistance until you reach the maximum number of payments, or until funding is exhausted, whichever comes first.
I’m REALLY behind on rent. How much can you catch me up?
The maximum combined rent and utility assistance that can be paid is 15 months, unless the household is eligible for the additional 3 months of future rent payments. In addition, this assistance can only be applied to pay back rent or utility expense that occurred on or after March 13, 2020.
For general program questions, email: COVIDRentRelief@thda.org
To reach us by phone, call 844-500-1112. Call center hours are 7am to 8 pm CST.
Any suspected fraud in connection with COVID-19 Rent Relief Program should be reported to THDA for immediate review. THDA reserves the right to decline funding or participation if it is determined that fraud has occurred.
Report Fraud To:
- Tennessee Housing Development Agency via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- U.S. Department of Treasury: https://home.treasury.gov/services/report-fraud-waste-and-abuse
- Office of Inspector General: https://oig.treasury.gov/fraud-alerts