Money for Rent in Vermont During the COVID-19 Crisis

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Video: Virtual Town Hall about eviction, rent assistance and mortgage assistanceWatch it on Facebook. On September 24, Vermont Legal Aid attorney Jean Murray talked about the Vermont eviction moratorium compared to the CDC’s moratorium, the funding available for tenants for help with back rent and moving to a new rental unit, and the funding available for homeowners for mortgage and property tax help.

Free mediation available for landlords and tenants
Sometimes issues other than money get in the way of landlord/tenant relationships — especially when things can't be resolved in court. Vermont Legal Aid and Vermont Landlord Association have set up a free mediation program to help address these problems. During “mediation,” a neutral third person called a “mediator” helps people discuss and try to resolve disputes. Mediators are available to help landlords and tenants solve issues and keep Vermonters in their rental units. Apply by early December for this temporary, free program.


Updated 10/16/2020 1 p.m.

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, there are two new ways to get money for rent in Vermont.

  • The Rental Housing Stabilization Program (RHSP) to pay past-due rent
  • The RHSP’s “Money to Move Program” to move into a new rental unit

Both programs are run by the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA). For tenants, both programs include some protections against raising rent and eviction.

The programs have different applications. Tenants and landlords need to apply at approximately the same time or apply together for these programs. You can apply to both programs if you need to.

The deadline to apply is December 11, 2020.

Read more about the programs below.

Rental Housing Stabilization Program (RHSP) offers help with past-due rent

For help with past-due rent, Vermonters should apply for the Rental Housing Stabilization Program through the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA). VSHA is accepting applications from landlords and tenants, and paying landlords directly to bring the tenant’s rent account current.

The deadline to apply is December 11, 2020.

The program pays up to the VSHA payment standards. If the landlord wants payment, the landlord must agree to waive rent amounts in excess of the payment standard for all the months paid for. 

When the landlord accepts the money, they have to promise to: 

  • drop any eviction 
  • not start a new eviction for the same number of months (up to six months) in the future as the money pays for
  • not raise the rent before January 1, 2021, or the end of your lease term — whichever is later, and 
  • make sure the unit is up to code in 30 days.

Important: VSHA has to have applications from both the landlord and the tenant. You should talk to your landlord and agree on the amount you owe. Make sure that amount is on both applications.

Apply for this rent help on the VSHA website

If you need help with your landlord, an eviction, or applying for the rent help, contact us at Vermont Legal Aid.

RHSP Back-Rent Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

See the VSHA website for a list of questions and answers.

 

The RHSP’s Money to Move Program offers help with moving into a new rental unit

If you have found a landlord with a rental unit for you to move into, you may be eligible to get help from RHSP’s “Money to Move Program.” The program can cover the money needed to move in. (For example: First and last month’s rent plus security deposit.) It may cover rent payments through the end of the year.

The deadline to apply is December 11, 2020.

Are you in one of these situations?

  1. Currently staying in a tent, a car or in a place not meant for human habitation
  2. Currently staying in a shelter
  3. Currently staying in a motel/hotel paid for by the state

If you are a Vermonter in one of the three situations above, you can find help through Coordinated Entry. To find the Coordinated Entry location for you, call 2-1-1 or check this list.

When you find a landlord willing to rent to you and the new rental is not entirely paid for by the coordinated entry program, you may be eligible for the RHSP’s Money to Move Program. Ask a Coordinated Entry worker to learn more.

Do you need to move because you are in one of these situations (or a similar situation)?

  1. You can no longer afford where you live (including costs of utilities/transportation)
  2. The unit needs repairs that aren’t being made
  3. You are suffering harassment where you live
  4. You are living on a friend’s couch
  5. You need to live closer to work, family or school
  6. The size of the unit is too big or too small for you household

If you are a Vermonter in a situation like one of the six above, and you cannot stay in your current housing, you may be eligible for help. The Money to Move Program could help you move into a new rental unit.

You must have a landlord willing to rent to you. You must wait to apply until you have found a place to move to. You and your new landlord will fill out an application together. If approved, the money would be sent directly to the landlord.

Use the application on the VSHA website.

If you need help with your landlord, an eviction, or applying for the rent help, contact us at Vermont Legal Aid.

RHSP’s Money to Move Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

See the VSHA website for a list of frequently asked questions about this program.

 

 

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Updated: Oct 27, 2020