Rhode Island has received $200 million in rent relief funds from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program. This program will provide rental and utility relief payments to help eligible renters maintain housing stability.

This program is only for renters and their landlords.


 

The program is now accepting applications for rental and utility assistance.

UPDATE: 6-8-2021

Applicants: Check your spam folders!

For some applicants, emails from RentReliefRI program staff may end up in their ‘junk’ or ‘spam’ email folders. If you have applied for rental and/or utility assistance from RentReliefRI, please remember to check your junk/spam folders on a regular basis so you do not miss important emails.

If you need assistance with completing and submitting your application, there are partner agencies available to assist you. Click here for a complete listing.

UPDATE: 5-25-21

Eviction Notice or hearing scheduled?  

If you have an eviction hearing scheduled or have received a notice, please reach out to Rhode Island Legal Services (RILS) or the Center for Justice. Both organizations can assist you with completing your application and also represent you in court.

Rhode Island Legal Services: 401-274-2652
Center for Justice: 401-491-1101

Our Call Center staff is available for any questions or assistance you may need.

RentReliefRI Call Center: 1-855-608-8756

Hours of Operation: M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

You should have the following documents to apply for assistance:

If you are a Tenant:

  • Proof of residency (ex; bank statement, utility bill, driver’s license)
  • Proof of income (ex; wage statements, unemployment letter, 2020 tax return)
  • Signed copy of your lease agreement or documentation showing tenancy (a pattern of rent payment)
  • Documentation demonstrating your rental/utility arrearage (ex; past due utility bill, eviction notice, 5 day demand letter, communication from landlord)

*If you have received a notice from the court for an eviction proceeding against you, please have that documentation available.

**Even if you do not have these documents, please call 1-855-608-8756 or reach out to our partners here for help completing the application.

If you are a Property Manager/Landlord:

  • W9 Form
  • EIN or SSN Verification (ex; tax filing, social security card)
  • Rent arrearage documentation (ex; ledger, past due notice)
  • Proof of property ownership (ex; mortgage statement, real estate tax bill, water bill)
  • Tenant contact information (ex; cell phone, email address

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for Rent Relief RI?

Both landlords and tenants may initiate an application for the program. Information from both the tenant and landlord will be required to successfully complete an application.

Who is eligible for Rent Relief RI?

Tenant applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for rent relief:

  • Your household income must meet certain income limits. Limits vary by location and household size. Click here to view Income Limits.
  • You must have qualified for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, OR experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to COVID-19.
  • You must show you are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. This may include submitting past-due rent and utility bills or eviction notices when you apply.
What will Rent Relief RI cover?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program can pay for rent and some utilities owed back to April 1, 2020. The program will also cover the security deposit and up to three months of upcoming rent. Utilities include electricity, water, trash, and heat. You may apply for help with paying for utilities even if you do not need help paying for rent. Applicants are eligible for up to a total of 12 months of assistance. In some instances, an additional 3 months may be available.

How much rent will Rent Relief RI cover?

There is no monthly cap on eligible rent relief. The monthly amount is determined by the rent payment agreed to in your lease and documented arrearages.

Do I have to be behind on rent to benefit from the new rental assistance program?

No. You may apply for rent relief to cover past AND/OR upcoming rent payments. You may also apply for utility assistance for any past due payments. You will be able to apply for rent back to April 1, 2020 if needed and up to 3 months of upcoming rent at one time.

If I receive assistance for three months of future rent payments, will I still be able to get help paying my rent after the first three months the program covers?

Yes. You can get up to 12 months in past due and current rent. When the first 3 months are up, you will be asked to recertify and to demonstrate that you still need help and you will need to provide some income information again. If eligible, you may be approved for another three months of help with rent/utility payments.

Do I have to be on unemployment to qualify?

No. As long as you can show a COVID-related need and meet the income requirements you do not need to be on unemployment to qualify for this program.

Can I apply for funds to help with utilities, even if I don’t need rent relief?

Yes, renters may apply for help paying for utilities even if they do not need help paying for rent. You will need to show past amount(s) due by providing a recent statement from the utility company/companies.

What information do I need to apply?

You should gather the following documents so that you can have them ready when the portal opens and begins to accept applications:

If you are a Tenant:

  • Proof of residency (ex; bank statement, utility bill, driver’s license)
  • Proof of income (ex; wage statements, unemployment letter, 2020 tax return)
  • Signed copy of your lease agreement or documentation showing tenancy (a pattern of rent payment)
  • Documentation demonstrating your rental/utility arrearage (ex; past due utility bill, eviction notice, 5 day demand letter, communication from landlord)

 

If you are a Property Manager/Landlord:

  • W9 Form
  • EIN or SSN Verification (ex; tax filing, social security card)
  • Rent arrearage documentation (ex; ledger, past due notice, etc.)
  • Proof of property ownership (ex; mortgage statement, real estate tax bill, water/sewer bill)

*If you have received a notice from the court for an eviction proceeding against you, please have that documentation available.

**Even if you do not have these documents, please call 1-855-608-8756 or reach out to our partners here for help completing the application.

 

What should I do if I am facing eviction?

There is a federal eviction moratorium in effect until June 30, 2021. Click here for more information on what is covered by the moratorium and how to take advantage of its protections. If you are facing eviction, please contact RI Legal Services or the Center for Justice.

How will my landlord get paid?

Once approved, payment will be sent to landlords as soon as possible via direct deposit.

How do I apply?

Applicants can apply via the online portal above. 

What is the deadline to apply?

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through September 2022. If there are additional federal funds for rent relief, we will update this page when we learn more.

Am I eligible for assistance from the Rent Relief RI program if I also received assistance from other rental assistance programs?

Receiving assistance from other programs neither qualifies nor disqualifies you from receiving assistance from Rent Relief RI. However, you cannot receive assistance for any costs that have already been paid through other rental assistance programs.
You will need to create an account, apply for the program, and also meet the eligibility criteria established for Rent Relief RI.

 

To receive updates on the program please fill out this form:

About RentReliefRI

RentReliefRI is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number ERA0013 awarded to the State of Rhode Island by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Newly passed legislation in Rhode Island now makes it illegal to discriminate against a potential tenant based on their source of income. This includes discriminating against tenants because they receive a housing choice voucher. This discrimination may include advertisements that say “No Section 8 allowed” or telling a potential tenant a unit is no longer available after learning they have a voucher. To learn more, please click here.