The City of Austin received funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in early 2021. The RENT Assistance Program provides $25 million of direct rent support for income-eligible Austin renters who are financially impacted by COVID-19.

  • The RENT Application Portal opened Monday, March 15, 2021 and remain open through December 2021, or until funds are spent.
  • . Renters are not required to be U.S. citizens or legal residents to apply. Renters who received rent support from the 2020 RENT program can apply using the same account; this program can provide funding for the months that have unpaid rent.
  • The RENT Assistance Program can help renters financially impacted by the pandemic pay rent as far back as April 2020 until December 2021.
  • Significant policy changes from the federal government include the following:
  • Timing for landlord response has been reduced (which allows payments to be made directly to the renter when landlords are unresponsive);
  • More flexibility in allowable forms of documentation;
  • Allowing for self-certification;
  • Categorical eligibility for households approved to receive benefits from other government assistance programs with the same or lower-income limitations; and
  • Eligibility for households receiving federal subsidies.
  • Significant policy changes in the City of Austin’s RENT program beginning in March 2021:
  • Tenants and landlords can apply;
  • Households may be eligible to receive up to 15 months of rent assistance;
  • RENT funds can cover fees on the lease agreement, including internet services, utilities included with the rent, and fees for garage use, storage, service animals, and pets; and
  • Through collaboration with Austin Energy, the RENT program will provide approved application information to Austin Energy for Austin Energy customers in need of utility assistance. This will eliminate having to separately apply for utility assistance if the RENT program determines the applicant is eligible.