Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP) Tenant Application Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Am I eligible for RRP? RRP may be able to provide rental assistance for households who have experienced a negative financial impact due to the Coronavirus pandemic. You may qualify if any of the statements below apply to you:

  • One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to Covid-19, including, but not limited to, one of the following:

    • Loss of Income

      • A tenant has been laid off

      • A tenant’s place of employment has closed

      • A tenant has experienced a reduction in hours of work

      • A tenant must stay home to care for children due to closure of day care and/or school

      • A tenant must stay home to care for children due to distance learning

      • A tenant has lost or experienced a reduction in child or spousal support

      • A tenant has been unable to find employment due to COVID-19.

      • A tenant is unwilling or unable to participate in employment due to risk of illness from COVID-19

    • Increase in expenses

      • A tenant has an increase in childcare expenses

      • A tenant has an increase in medical expenses

      • A tenant has an increase in food costs

      • A tenant has an increase in utility costs

  • Your gross household income must be at or below 80% area median income (AMI) based on current month’s income. The determination of income includes any unemployment insurance received by a member of the household but does not include one-time payments such as a stimulus check.

  • Your monthly rent is 150% below Fair Market Rent (FMR)

 

Determine your eligibility here.

 

What expenses can be paid by RRP? Past due rent since April 1, 2020, current month’s rent and three (3) months’ prospective rent for eligible tenants. Any rent-related fees or expenses must be outlined in the lease agreement to be considered.

What if I live in student housing? Student housing is an eligible use for RRP funds as long as there is a lease in place between the student and a landlord. Having a cosigner does not affect the eligibility of an application for assistance.

What if I live with roommates, but I’m the only one who needs assistance? If multiple roommates live in the same household, but only one roommate needs RRP assistance, the tenant in need of assistance can apply for their portion of the rent. The applicant does not need to include their roommates' income on the application. In this situation, the applicant must submit the Roommate Certification form to self-certify that they are living with a non-family member. The applicant’s portion of the rent will be prorated and paid directly to the landlord, assuming the applicant meets other RRP eligibility requirements.

What if I live in subsidized housing? Tenants of federally subsidized housing, e.g. Low Income Housing Credit, Public Housing, or Indian Housing Block Grant-assisted properties are eligible for RRP, but only for the tenant’s portion of their rent. These households can receive assistance for rent arrears as well as the current month and three future months of rent, assuming they meet other RRP eligibility requirements. The applicant should submit their recertification as supporting documentation. In its absence, a completed, signed self-attestation form is acceptable.

What if I live in a motel or Airbnb? Residents of a hotel/motel/Airbnb for 3 days or more who meet RRP eligibility criteria and can provide supporting documentation of their stay/tenancy are eligible for assistance. In these circumstances, a billing statement can be used in lieu of a lease and ledger.

What if I pay rent for an RV/manufactured home lot? RRP assistance is available for tenants of an RV and/or the rented lot/space, assuming they meet other RRP eligibility requirements.

What if I’m in a rent-to-own agreement? Tenants who have purchase agreements or rent-to-own leases are eligible for assistance, assuming they meet other RRP eligibility requirements.

What if I am incarcerated? Incarcerated individuals are eligible for RRP assistance, assuming they meet other RRP eligibility requirements.

What if I need help paying my mortgage? RRP provides assistance to tenants and landlords only for rental payments.

What documents do I need to complete an application? The Virginia Rent Relief Program requires the least burdensome documentation possible, while adhering to programmatic, state and federal guidelines. To meet compliance criteria, an applicant must submit the following supporting documentation with their application:

  1. Lease Agreement, include all pages. If a traditional lease is not available, a signed attestation must be provided and include:

    1. tenant’s full name

    2. landlord’s full name

    3. tenant’s complete address

    4. monthly rent amount

    5. any monthly fees included in the rental payment (e.g., utilities, internet, etc.)

    6. the terms of the lease (i.e. what months and years does the agreement begin and end).

NOTE: Households living in a hotel/motel/AirBnB can use a billing statement in lieu of a lease and ledger.

  1. Lease Ledger or billing statement from landlord documenting total amount owed

  2. Virginia W-9 to be provided by landlord

  3. RRP Landlord and Tenant Household Agreement, and

  4. Income Eligibility Documentation, which will be specific to individual applicant scenarios. In accordance with the Department of the Treasury’s most recent guideline to reduce applicant documentation requirements, RRP has made a concerted effort to utilize all available program flexibilities to serve as sufficient documentation depending on the most common scenarios. They include: 

    • Scenario #1: 

      • An applicant who lives in a household of three or less and who qualifies for Fact-specific Proxy by residing in a designated, low-income zip code does not need to provide any income documentation.

    • Scenario #2: 

      • An applicant who lives in a household of three or less and who qualifies for Categorical Eligibility by having a household member participate in SNAP, TANF, LIHEAP, and/or WIC should submit a benefit letter with their application as income documentation.

    • Scenario #3:

      • An applicant who qualifies for Categorical Eligibility by residing in an income-based, subsidized housing program, such as public housing, should submit a recertification or complete a lease self-attestation. There is no household quantity restriction to participate. 

    • Scenario #4: 

      • An applicant who has access to traditional financial documentation should provide the most recent income documentation with their application.

    • Scenario #5:

      • An applicant who has not earned any income during the application period should complete and submit the Zero Income Certification form with their application.

    • Scenario #6:

      • An applicant who receives cash income should complete and submit the Cash Income Certification form with their application.

    • Scenario #7

      • An applicant who does not work for a third party employer should complete and submit the Self-Employed Certification form with their application.

 

As necessary, RRP may rely on an attestation from a caseworker or other professional with knowledge of a household’s circumstances to certify that an applicant’s household income qualifies for assistance. Guidance regarding alternative forms of documentation may be obtained by contacting the RRP Support Center at (703) 962-1884.

I haven’t earned any income in more than 6 months. What documentation is required? If an applicant or any adult household member does not have income, a Zero Income Certification must be completed. When a tenant applies through the RRP Support Center, a Zero Income Certification is included within the application.

What documentation is acceptable if I don’t use a bank and I’m only paid in cash? If an applicant or adult household member does not use a bank or other financial institution and/or is paid in cash, the Cash Income Certification form must be completed by the applicant. This is done by the applicant by downloading the Cash Income Certification form, completing it, logging into the Support Center website and attaching it to their application.

How do I apply? RRP offers applicants multiple ways in which a tenant may apply for rental assistance in an effort to reduce systemic barriers and promote equitable distribution of RRP rental assistance. It is important to note that landlords may also initiate applications through Virginia Housing. A tenant’s options for initiating an RRP application include:

  1. Online access: Applicants can complete an eligibility screening here before proceeding with the RRP online application.

  2. By Phone: Applicants with limited technological access may call the RRP Support Center at (703) 962-1884 for assistance, Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-5:30PM and a representative can complete the application on their behalf. If needed, translation services will be provided to the caller.

  3. Third Party: Applicants who prefer to have a Trusted Third Party complete their application may sign a Third Party Authorization form to grant the named person or organization permission to complete the application, and receive subsequent status updates, on behalf of a tenant.

How does my landlord submit the tenant’s ledger, their Virginia W-9, and sign the Landlord-Tenant Household Agreement? When a tenant creates their profile with the Support Center, they are given an application number and are asked for their landlord’s email address. If the landlord’s email is provided, the landlord will receive an email from the Support Center directly with a secure link allowing the landlord to provide the necessary information (i.e. the ledger, RRP Landlord-Tenant Household Agreement, and their Virginia W-9).

What if my landlord will not participate? DHCD strongly advises that tenants and landlords cooperate with one another and provide a landlord email within the application. This will ensure applications are processed in a timely manner and payments are received as quickly as possible.

If a landlord is not responsive and refuses to participate in the application process, tenants should keep the emailed documentation from the RRP Support Center that demonstrates their attempts to contact the landlord requesting assistance. Tenants are encouraged to contact their local Legal Aid office for specific guidance as DHCD is not authorized to provide legal advice.

How long will it take to process my application? When an application is submitted, a confirmation email is sent to the applicant and their landlord (if an email has been provided). If applicable, this email may also request supporting documentation. Once all documents are received, the application is reviewed for approval. During the application process, the tenant will provide their landlord’s contact information so the RRP Support Center can invite them to participate. The landlord will receive an email with the RRP Landlord and Tenant Household Agreement. Assuming the landlord is a willing participant, they should sign the and return the Landlord and Tenant Household Agreement, a  Virginia W-9 form and the tenant’s ledger, via email, to rrplandlord@deval.us with a subject line that includes the tenant’s last name and application number. Upon review and approval, the tenant and landlord (if email provided) will receive an email informing them of their application’s approval, including the months and amounts covered. Applications submitted through the RRP Support Center process payments by check, sent via the USPS. However, if a landlord refuses to cooperate with the tenant’s application for assistance, upon approval, the tenant will receive the RRP fund distribution. It is important to note that a landlord who refuses to participate in the Virginia Rent Relief program may not evict the tenant for nonpayment of rent.

How do I check the status of my application? The RRP Support Center will communicate the application status, including any requests for additional information, via email. Applicants may determine the status of their application review by logging into their online account here. If an applicant needs direct assistance, they should email rrp@dhcd.virginia.gov or call (703) 962-1884, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm.

How will I know if my application is approved? Applicants will receive an email notification with their application approval.

What if I move out after receiving RRP funds? If a tenant voluntarily moves out after a completed RRP application is submitted but before payment is received, the landlord must request and sign the Property Owner Certification of Voluntary Tenant Vacancy form. Upon completion and submission of this certification, the landlord may keep any back rent that is covering months when the tenant was occupying the unit, as well as a daily prorated amount for the month in which the tenant voluntarily moved out. As a reminder, a complete application must include all documents required of both the landlord and tenant.

If my application is denied, may I appeal the decision? Yes, RRP has an appeal process for applicants.       

If I need proof of my application for court or for my landlord, how can I get that? An applicant may provide the email notification they received upon registration or if you need direct assistance, call (703) 962-1884. Applicants who have interaction with the court system are strongly encouraged to contact Legal Aid for representation and legal advice.

How do I report suspected fraud? In accordance with the Department of the Treasury guidance regarding the requirements of the Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERA1), which states, "Grantees are expected to apply reasonable fraud prevention procedures and to investigate and address potential instances of fraud or the misuse of funds that they become aware of" the Virginia Rent Relief Program has established several measures to prevent fraud.

Upon application submission, both landlords and tenants sign the Landlord-Tenant Household Agreement, which includes the following self-certification statement:

I understand that any misrepresentation of information or failure to disclose information requested on this form may disqualify me from participation in RRP, and may be grounds for termination of assistance. WARNING: It is unlawful to provide false information to the government when applying for federal public benefit programs per the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3801- 3812.

RRP application processors regularly conduct a de-duplicate search of all applications by applicant name and household address to prevent multiple RRP financial assistance awards. In addition, rrpfraud@dhcd.virginia.gov is a dedicated email address made available to Virginia constituents who suspect that a fraudulent application has been submitted. Upon receipt of a fraudulent-related claim, RRP’s dedicated fraud team will communicate to the applicant that a temporary hold has been placed on their application while they investigate and verify the veracity of the RRP application.