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.

NoteRentReliefRI assistance does not need to be reimbursed or paid back.


 

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

UPDATE: 07-06-21

Internet Access

As of Wednesday, June 30, 2021 we are now offering a $50/per month stipend for internet access.

This will be provided automatically to tenants who are approved for assistance going forward (the check will go to the tenant). For applicants who have already received assistance prior to June 30, 2021, they can reach out to the RentReliefRI Call Center (855-608-8756) to request the internet stipend.

UPDATE: 06-08-21

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.

 

Please fill out and submit the Self-Attestation Form with your application for rental and/or utility assistance.
The Self-Attestation Form may be used in instances where other documentation is not available.

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.

Need application assistance or legal services?

Click here for a listing of partner agencies offering those services.

For the quickest processing of your application, you should have the following documents ready:

If you are a Tenant:

  • Documentation demonstrating that you live in Rhode Island (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)
  • Self-attestation form

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

If you are a Property Manager/Landlord:

  • W9 Form
  • 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)

**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.

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.
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.

Download the self-attestation form here. 

Does assistance from the RentReliefRI program count as “income”?

No, assistance provided to a household from the RentReliefRI program is not counted as “income” and will not be counted as a resource for determining eligibility of the household or any member of the household for benefits or assistance under any federal, state or local assistance funded from federal funds.  

Does RentReliefRI assistance need to be paid back?

RentReliefRI assistance is intended for rent-burdened tenants who are struggling to make their rental or utility payments due to or during the COVID-19 pandemic and does not need to be reimbursed or paid back.

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.

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 18 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.

What will Rent Relief RI cover?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program can pay for rent and some utilities owed back to April 1, 2020.

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. 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 18 months of assistance.

No repayment of the assistance is required and it does not count as income for tenants.
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?

Having the following documents ready will result in the quickest processing of your application:

If you are a Tenant:

  • Documentation demonstrating that you live in Rhode Island (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)
  • Self-attestation form

*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 you may still be able to qualify for assistance. Please call 1-855-608-8756 or reach out to our partners here for help completing the application.

 

I do not have some of the documentation asked for in the online application. What can I do?

Applicants who do not have some of the information requested in the RentReliefRI online application are able to submit a Self-Attestation Form with your application for rental and/or utility assistance.

The Self-Attestation Form can be filled out and uploaded into the application portal.

Click here to download the Self-Attestation Form >

What should I do if I am facing eviction?
If you are facing eviction, please contact RI Legal Services or the Center for Justice.
 
If you are applying for rental assistance from the RentReliefRI program, please note your eviction status as applicants in eviction proceedings are prioritized.

 

How will my landlord get paid?
Once an application is approved for rental assistance, funds will be distributed. For landlords that participate in the program, payment will be sent to them via direct deposit or check. In situations where the landlord(s) is not participating, the payment goes directly to the tenant.
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.

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.

How are applicants prioritized for RentReliefRI?

RIHousing is required to prioritize serving families that meet certain criteria by using a “prioritization” system.  Applications will be assigned to an auditor to begin working on based on their priority level.  The higher the level, the earlier the application will be assigned and therefore the potential to be paid out earlier than those with lower priority.  RIHousing is also permitted to establish other priorities, at its discretion. RIHousing is required to prioritize the following applicants:

Priority 1
Applicants with a risk of eviction AND that have an AMI at or below 50% AMI AND that have been unemployed 90 days or more will be given a priority level of 1.   Risk of eviction will be defined as having a notice to vacate, where a hearing has taken place and judgment to vacate has been issued, those that have received a court date notice or received notice of a utility disconnection or a 5-day demand letter.

Priority 2
Applicants with a risk of eviction AND an AMI at or below 50% will be given a priority level of 2.

Priority 3
Applicants with an AMI at or below 50% AND that have been unemployed 90 days or more will be given a priority level of 3.

Priority 4
Applicants with an AMI at or below 50% will be given a priority level of 4.

Priority 5
Applicants with an AMI between 50-80% will be given a priority level of 5.

 

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.