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Do You Need Help
Making Rent Payments?

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Emergency Rental Assistance Program


Maine has $200 million in rent relief funds from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This program will provide rental and utility relief payments to help eligible renters maintain housing stability. Maine’s Community Action Agencies will review applications, check eligibility, and process payments for eligible expenses on behalf of households.


Eligibility


Tenant applicants must meet all these criteria to be considered for rent relief:

Income Limits

Your household income must meet certain income limits. Limits vary by location and household size. Click here to see if your income is within the program limits.


ReducedIncome

Financial Difficulty

You must have had your income reduced, had significant costs, or had other financial hardship because of COVID-19 OR qualified for unemployment benefits between March 13, 2020 and the date of your application.

HousingInstability

Housing Instability

You must show you are at risk for becoming homeless OR that you might lose your housing. This could include borrowing money to pay housing costs, having past-due rent or utility bills, or eviction notices..


Application


OnlineIcon

Apply Online

To apply online select the county you currently live in below and we will direct you to the correct agency. 

Current County:

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Paper Application
Download an application here. You can submit the application by email or mail to your local Community Action Agency. If you need a paper application, please call MaineHousing at 1-800-452-4668 and we will send you one.


Frequently Asked Questions



Items followed by an asterisk (*) have been recently updated.


Tenant FAQs

How do I apply?

You can apply beginning on Monday, March 1 at 12 pm. You can apply on this page by scrolling up to where it says "Application."

To apply online: Click the dropdown menu and select your county. Fill out your application as prompted. 

To apply by paper application: You can download the application above and print it. Mail your completed application and copies of the documents you need to apply to your local CAA. You can also call MaineHousing at 1-(800) 452-4668 and we can mail you a paper copy.

Who is eligible for rent relief?

Tenant applicants must meet all these 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 see Income Limits

  • You must have had your income reduced, had significant costs, or had other financial hardship because of COVID-19 OR qualified for unemployment benefits between March 13, 2020 and the date of your application.

  • You must show you are at risk for becoming homeless or that you might lose your housing. This may include borrowing money to pay for housing costs or being behind in rent or utilities. It could also include getting an eviction notice or threats for eviction.

I live in subsidized housing. Can I apply? *

Yes. Even if you have a Housing Choice Voucher, are on Section 8, or live in public housing or a USDA Rural Development property you can apply for your part of the rent. Before you apply, please make sure you have told the program administrator so they can make any changes to your rent if needed.

What will the rent relief fund cover? *

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program can pay for rent and some utilities owed back to March 13, 2020. The program will also cover up to three months of upcoming rent at one time. Utilities include electricity, water, sewer, trash, and heat. The program can also cover late fees for rent as long as the late fees are legal and included in your lease. The program can also cover expenses such as internet. It can also cover moving expenses such as application or screening fees and security deposits if you moved because of COVID-19. You may apply for help with paying for utilities even if you do not need help paying for rent. However you do need to apply for help with rent to apply for help paying internet costs.

How much rent will this program cover for me?

There is no monthly cap on eligible rent relief. The monthly amount is determined by the rent payment agreed to in your lease. You may apply for back rent owed back to March 13, 2020, as well as up to 3 months of upcoming rent at one time. For example, you can apply in March 2021 and the application could cover April, May, and June 2021 rent AND any back rent you owe. This program can cover up to a total of 15 months of your rent..

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

No. You may apply for rent relief (and/or utility payment relief) to cover past AND/OR upcoming rent payments. You will be able to apply for rent back to March 13, 2020 if needed and up to 3 months of upcoming rent at one time.

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 15 months in past due and current rent. When the first 3 months are up, you will be contacted (by phone if you sent a paper application or by email if you applied online) to ask if you still need help. You will need to give income information again if you gave only one month of income information the first time. You will also need to show you still are at risk for homelessness or might lose your housing. Then you may be able to get up to three more months of help with rent/utility payments.

Do I have to be on unemployment to qualify? 

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

I had to reduce my hours/have increased costs because of childcare issues related to COVID-19. Can I apply? 

Yes.

I live in a mobile home and rent the land I’m on. Can I apply for this program?

Yes. This program will cover lot rent and/or the mobile home rent. Park fees will not be covered.

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 and current amounts due by providing a recent statement from the utility company/companies. 

What information do I need to apply? 

In addition to the information below, we encourage tenants and landlords to talk to each other about participating in the program because both will need to provide information when applying.

INCOME VERIFICATION:
You will need to provide your 2020 annual household income OR your current monthly household income.

2020 Annual Income Option Items:

Current Monthly Income Option Items:

 

  • Your household’s annual income for 2020.
  • 2020 IRS Form 1040s for all household members 18 years or older OR
  • Wage statements, pay stubs, IRS Form W-2, IRS Form 1099 and Schedule C if self-employed, interest statements, Form 1099 G or benefit statements from DOL ReME account if unemployed, and other income proof for all household members 18 years or older
  • Submit eligibility determination letter from government agency dated January 1, 2020 or later (such as TANF, HEAP, or SNAP.)

 

  • Your household’s monthly income as of the application date.
  • Submit your household's last months of wage statements, pay stubs, interest statements, unemployment benefit statements (available on DOL ReME account), and other income proof for all household members 18 years or older

Plan to provide as much of your income information as you can.

If you qualify using the 2020 Annual Income Option and need help from this program later you will not need to provide this information again.

If you qualify using the Current Monthly Income Option and need help from this program later you will need to provide your monthly household income again.

RESIDENCE & RENT PROOF 

You will need to provide your lease or a utility bill to prove your residence. You will also need to provide your lease or rent payment receipts as proof of how much rent you owe. If you can’t provide these documents we will reach out to your landlord to confirm your residence and how much you owe.

UTILITY ASSISTANCE

You will need to provide utility bill(s) or notice you need help with.

LANDLORD INFORMATION

Make sure you have the name, phone number, and email address for your landlord or property management company who will receive the payment, if approved.

You can notify your landlord that they will need to fill out a W-9 form and fill out a separate application. The Community Action Agency (CAA) will send them the application to fill out and sign. The rent payment cannot be made until your landlord provides the W-9 form and signed application to your local CAA. You do not need to worry about W-9 forms from utility companies.

Can I be evicted while waiting for these funds?

It is unlikely landlords will be successful in evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent during COVID-19 due to the federal eviction moratorium in effect until June 2021. Landlords can still file eviction cases in Maine courts. If you are facing eviction, or fear you might, please contact Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

How will my landlord get paid?

After you submit all of your documents and your landlord has submitted all their documents the CAA reviews and approves eligible applications. Then the payment will be sent to the landlord as soon as possible via check or direct deposit. You will be notified when your application is approved.

How do I apply?

Once the program has launched, you will be able to apply via:

  • Online (the most efficient way to apply).
  • Paper applications. We will update how you can get paper applications once the program is launched.

What is the deadline to apply?

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through September 2021. If there are additional federal funds for rent relief, we will update this page when we find out.

Will the program run out of money? 

Though we cannot guarantee, we expect that Maine has enough funds to help all those renters who qualify for assistance.  

What happens if my landlord won’t participate in the program? 

You can still apply. Even if your landlord won’t participate, include their contact information in your application. Once they get a notice that you applied they will have 10-14 days to fill out their documents and return them. If they do not fill out the documents or contact us, we will work with you and send you the payment.

If your landlord doesn’t participate and you cannot show a lease or rent receipt with your rent amount we will pay you up to 100% of Fair Market Rate (FMR). You can find the FMR for your area here.

What happens after I submit my application? 

If you apply online, after you submit your application you will be directed to a page with more information about what comes next. Once your CAA imports your application you will get an email that the application is being processed. You will also get an email when the application is approved for payment. Maine’s Community Action Agencies (CAAs) will run the program locally and be your primary point of contact for questions. Click here to find your local CAA. If you apply with a paper application, you will get an email if you included it in your application or a phone call. They will call you or email you when they get your application and when it is approved for payment.

What’s new to this round of rent relief?

The new Emergency Rental Assistance Program offers several advantages. 

  • This is a long-term program instead of month-to-month. This means requirements are consistent and applications will be streamlined.
  • This program can cover up to 15 months of your rent payments. It covers unpaid rent to March 13, 2020 plus three months into the future with one application. You also will have the option to confirm if you want to extend the benefits after the first three months.
  • This program may cover the cost of some utilities whether or not you need help paying your rent.
  • If you are at-risk of homelessness, you may also qualify for other services. More information will be provided about this soon.

I applied to the previous program before it was closed on December 30, 2020, but my application was not processed/my landlord wasn’t paid. What do I do?

If you have questions about applications or payments from the previous rent relief program, please call MaineHousing at 1-800-452-4668. 

Where can I get updates on this program?

Please fill out the form below to join our email list for Emergency Rental Assistance Program updates. We will share updates on this program via the email list, posting here, and on our social media platforms.

Who do I call if I have questions about this program? 

If you have general questions about the program, please call MaineHousing at 1-800-452-4668. If you have a specific question about your application,  please call your local CAA.

Can I be evicted while waiting for these funds? 

It is unlikely landlords will be successful in evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent during COVID-19, due to the federal eviction moratorium in effect through June 2021, although landlords can still file eviction cases in Maine courts. If you are facing eviction, or fear you might, please contact Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

I’m not a renter, I have a mortgage. Is there assistance available for me?

Unfortunately, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is only available to renters. If you have a MaineHousing loan, please contact your loan servicer and ask how to get help through a MaineHousing program. For mortgages through other lenders, we encourage you to contact your mortgage servicer (the agency that sends you your mortgage statements) and talk with them.

What if I don’t have income? Can I still apply? Do I still have to send some sort of documentation?*

If you do not have income, you may still apply for the program. You do not need to send any documents about it.

I borrowed money to pay rent/I paid my rent with a credit card. Can I get reimbursed through this program? *

No we can’t reimburse you. This program is only for rent that hasn’t been paid yet. However we consider needing to borrow money to pay rent as proof that we you need help for this program. You would need to meet other eligibility requirements as well.

Do I need to have lost my job or have my income reduced to apply? *

No. You just need to meet income requirements, have increased costs because of COVID-19, and have a hard time paying your rent or utilities.

What kind of increased costs because of COVID-19 meet the requirements? *

There are many options. This can include:

  • Higher or new utility bills because you’re home more
  • Higher or new internet costs because you have to telecommute or your child needs Internet for remote learning
  • Higher grocery bills
  • Medical bills because of COVID-19
  • Higher or new childcare costs
  • Higher or new household costs
If you’re not sure, you can call MaineHousing at 1-800-452-4668 and we can help.

 

How do I prove that I meet the “housing instability” requirement? *

All you need to do is show past due notices for utilities or rent. If you are caught up on rent but need help for the next few months you can sign a document saying you need help. We cannot pay future utility bills because we have to have the current statement to pay the utility company.

Can the program pay my future utility bills like it does for rent? *

No. We need the current statement or bill to pay your utility company.

What if I am just over the income limit for my area? Is there anything I can do? *

Maybe. We can take a look at certain bills or costs you have and subtract that from your income. This includes things like child support payments or medical/prescription bills. Call your local CAA if you have questions.

I don’t have a scanner and only have paper versions of the documents I need to apply. What do I do? *

You can take a photo with your cell phone and send them to your local CAA either through a link they send you or by email. You can also photocopy the documents and drop them off or send them to your local CAA in the mail.

I need help filling out the application. Can someone help me? *

Yes. You can call your local CAA  and they can do the application over the phone with you. You can also ask a family member or friend to help you fill it out online.

Is there anything my landlord needs to do that is different from the last program? *

Yes. If you do not have a lease or rental agreement, your our landlord will need to prove that they own the property. They can use a tax receipt or the property deed. If you have a property management company, they will need to prove they manage the property. Your landlord will get an email when your application is pulled from the system that provides them with this information.

I am renting to own. Can I apply?*

Yes. You can apply as long as no one in your household owns the unit or is on the current mortgage for the property. You will need to provide your lease or rental agreement.

I rent from my parents or another relative? Can I apply? *

You may apply only if you live in a separate unit from your landlord. This means that you have to have kitchen and bathroom facilities in your unit. We require a preexisting written lease and evidence of a history of consistent rent payments.

You are not eligible if you are related and paying rent informally. If you are not sure you can contact MaineHousing at 1-800-452-4668 and we can help.

I have a roommate and I need help paying rent but my roommate doesn’t. Can I apply?*

Yes. You can apply for your portion of the rent. You do not need to include your roommates' income on the application. If you are eligible, your landlord will be paid your portion of the rent. If you pay your landlord, your landlord will need to provide certain documents. They will get that information in an email once you apply. If you pay rent to your roommate, you need to send payment history documentation.

What if I am denied? Can I appeal the decision? *

Yes. If you want to appeal the decision, you may call the CAA who denied your application and tell them you want to appeal. A different person at the CAA will review your application. If they make the same decision, you may appeal through MaineHousing calling us at 1-800-452-4668.


Landlord FAQs

Where will the Emergency Rental Assistance Program money come from?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is funded by the Federal Government. The program is administered by MaineHousing (Maine State Housing Authority). It will be managed locally by Maine’s Community Action Agencies.

When did this program open? 

We began accepting applications on Monday, March 1 at 12 pm.

What do I need to do if I have tenants applying?*

You will be notified of the need to fill out and sign a short, standardized application. You can see a sample agreement here. You will also need to provide a W-9 if you have not participated in previous rent relief programs. You will also need to provide the lease or rental agreement between you and the tenant applying for the program. If you do not have a lease or rental agreement, you will need to send proof that you own the property (like a deed or tax bill). If your tenant submits an application, your local CAA will send you an email or call you and let you know how to submit the documents. You must provide your tenant with copies of your signed program documents. 

You need to reply to the CAA within a certain number of days: 10 days if they call or email you, or 14 days if they contact you by mail. If you do not reply in that timeframe your tenant will get the program funds instead. 

Can I apply for rent relief on behalf of my tenants?

You may help tenants complete their application. You may also start the process by submitting a landlord application with tenant information. From there your local Community Action Agency will contact your tenant.

Is there a limit to how many tenants I have utilizing the program? 

No.

If a tenant does not qualify for the funding can they be evicted?

Landlords can still file for eviction in Maine courts, however there is a federal eviction moratorium through June 2021, which allows tenant to block the eviction.

How will I get paid?

Depending on what information was provided on the application and agreement, you will receive funds via Direct Deposit or check.

My tenant applied previously, but I did not receive funds. What do I do?

If you have questions about landlord payments through the previous rent relief program, please call MaineHousing at 1-800-452-4668.

What if I am paid for the upcoming few months and my tenant moves out? Do I have to repay the program?*

Yes. You must repay the program for any month your tenant did not occupy the unit.

What if I decide I don’t want to participate? *

We hope that landlords want to participate in the program but we cannot require that you do. However, your tenant may apply for this program without you and get the funds. If you do not want to participate, please let the CAA know when they contact you.

What if my tenant refuses to participate? Can I still apply on their behalf?*

We hope that tenants participate but we cannot make them apply. You may not apply on their behalf.

Can I raise the rent for tenants applying for this program?*

You may raise the rent in 2021 only if the increase is included an existing signed lease or rental agreement.

Can my tenant appeal the decision if their application is denied?*

Yes. If your tenant wants to appeal the decision, they may call the CAA and tell them they want to appeal. A different person at the CAA will review their application. If the CAA makes the same decision, your tenant may appeal through MaineHousing calling us at 1-800-452-4668.

Can I appeal the CAA’s decision on my tenant’s behalf?*

No. However, you may initiate an appeal on your own behalf.

My tenant applied for this program and then moved. They still owe me back/unpaid rent. What do I do?*

Fill out the paperwork as requested. We will pay back/unpaid rent as long as the tenant was living in your unit when they applied AND they are eligible for the program. .



If you are worried that someone you know has applied for this program and doesn’t really need help, you can contact the Maine State Auditor’s Fraud Hotline to make a report. MaineHousing also reserves the right to randomly select applications and request supporting documentation to check for program eligibility.


Email Updates


Please fill out the form below to join our email list for Emergency Rental Assistance Program updates.



MaineHousing does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, marital status or receipt of public assistance in the admission or access to or treatment in its programs and activities. In employment, MaineHousing does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or genetic information. MaineHousing will provide appropriate communication auxiliary aids and services upon sufficient notice. MaineHousing will also provide this document in alternative formats upon sufficient notice. MaineHousing has designated the following person responsible for coordinating compliance with applicable federal and state nondiscrimination requirements and addressing grievances: Lauren Bustard, Maine State Housing Authority, 26 Edison Drive, Augusta, Maine 04330, Telephone Number 1-800-452-4668 (voice in state only), (207) 626-4600 (voice) or Maine Relay 711.