RentReliefRI is a rental assistance program for eligible Rhode Island renters struggling to pay their rent or utilities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also helps landlords as it ensures you are able to meet your financial obligations.
The federally-funded RentReliefRI program closed to new applications on June 1, 2022. Applications currently under review will still be processed and may be eligible for past due rent and utilities, current rent and three (3) months of forward-facing rent.
Landlord Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for Rent Relief RI?
Tenant applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for rent relief:
- Household income must meet certain income limits. Limits vary by location and household size.
- 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.
- At risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. This may include submitting past-due rent and utility bills or eviction notices when you apply.
- Submitted a completed application prior to 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022.
A tenant has applied to RentReliefRI already but has not been approved. Does that mean they will not be able to receive assistance when the program closed on June 1, 2022?
If the tenant has submitted an application prior to the closing date, the application will remain under review, and if they are found eligible for assistance, may be eligible for help with past due rent and utilities, current month’s rent and three (3) months of forward-facing rent. After the forward-facing rent is paid, there will be no further financial assistance available from the RentReliefRI program.
Are tenants able to recertify for additional assistance once the program has closed to new applications?
RentReliefRI closed to new applications (including recertification) on June 1, 2022. Please see the following information regarding eligibility to receive additional assistance:
- If a tenant was able to recertify in May 2022, they may be eligible to receive additional assistance.
- If a tenant did not recertify prior to the closing deadline, they are not be eligible to receive assistance as the program closed to new applications on June 1, 2022.
What are the income limits?
Eligible households must be at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), which translates to approximately $69,200 annual income for a family of four in most parts of the State. Click here to see the Income Limits.
What costs are covered?
ReRentReliefRI can pay for rent and some utilities owed back to April 1, 2020. The program will also cover up to three months of upcoming rent.
How much rent will RentReliefRI cover?
There is no monthly cap on eligible rent relief. The monthly amount is determined by the rent payment agreed to in the lease and documented arrearages.
How do landlords get paid?
Once approved, payment will be sent to landlords as soon as possible via direct deposit.
How will landlords know when a tenant applies for assistance form the program?
Once your tenant has completed all requirements for their section of the application, the landlord will be contacted to verify and complete the landlord section of the application.
If a tenant refuses to apply for the program, is there any way for the landlord to still process a request for rental assistance?
Unfortunately, if a tenant is not willing to participate, we are not able to offer assistance. The program requires that the tenant attest to such items as income, COVID hardship, attestation that benefits are not being duplicated, etc. They are also required to provide backup documentation for that information. Without the tenant providing this information and attesting to the truthfulness of their situation, we are not able to provide assistance.
Landlord Frequently Asked Questions: Affordable Housing Developments
If a household receives a rental subsidy such as a Section 8 voucher, are they still eligible for rental assistance from RentReliefRI?
Households that receive housing subsidies such as a Section 8 voucher are eligible to receive assistance under this program as long as any change in household income has been reported and an interim or annual recertification conducted. If eligible, the program will only cover their portion of the rent.
In order to be found eligible, applications for rent and utilities assistance must have been submitted by 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022. If approved, households may receive assistance for past rent, current rent, and three (3) months of forward-facing rent.
A potential tenant has received a preapproval letter for a security deposit and up to three months of forward-facing rent and has inquired about a unit. Will they be able to receive assistance after RentReliefRI ends on June 1, 2022?
If the tenant has received a pre-approval letter for forward-facing assistance with rent and/or security deposit, have secured a unit and have updated the information in their online application by 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022, they will still be able to receive three (3) months of rental assistance.
Are we able to offer RentReliefRI assistance to individuals who are not our tenants, but come to our agency seeking rental assistance?
The RentReliefRI program is closed to new applications.
However, please inform individuals that they may contact United Way 2-1-1, a Rhode Island, 24/7 social and human services helpline that offers free and confidential referrals to programs and services throughout the state (dial 2-1-1 for immediate assistance from a specialist or visit their website for more information). Those experiencing homelessness may call the Rhode Island Coordinated Entry hotline at (401) 277-4316.
Free legal aid is available to assist low-income tenants with referrals, legal information, and legal representation for evictions statewide. Renters can reach out to RI Legal Services and/or The Center for Justice for assistance. RI Legal Services: 401-274-2652 // The Center for Justice: 401-491-1101.
If a tenant is on a payment plan for their arrearages are they still able to apply for assistance under this program?
Yes. However, they must submit a completed application prior to 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2022.
If a tenant has received a non-compliance letter from our attorney are they eligible for rental assistance from RentReliefRI?
Yes, as long as the non-compliance is only related to non-payment of rent and they submitted a completed application for assistance by 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2022.
Does the program provide financial assistance to cover the rental arrearages for former tenants who have since moved?
At this time, assistance can only be used to keep people housed. If individuals are no longer in the unit, then the RentReliefRI program can not cover those costs.
Does the program provide assistance for units under the low income housing tax credit program that remained vacant and could not be rented out due to COVID-related restrictions?
RentReliefRI does not offer assistance for vacant units.
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.