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Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program

Eligibility Precheck Now Available!

The Iowa Finance Authority will be administering $195 million in rent and utility assistance through the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program, known as the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Programmay provide eligible Iowans with assistance for a period of up to twelve months.   

Program Timing: We are awaiting required program guidance to be issued by the U.S. Treasury. As soon as this guidance is available, the program will open for applications as soon as possible.  

IMPORTANT: 

Please note that Polk County and the City of Des Moines will be administering the program locally. Therefore, Iowans residing in either Polk County or the City of Des Moines will be ineligible to apply for the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program. More information on the program that may assist Polk County and City of Des Moines residents will be available here

INFORMATION FOR RENTERS

Assistance Provided

  • Rent Payments
    • Past Due Payments: Available for payment of costs incurred no earlier than March 13, 2020.
    • Future Payments: May apply for up to three months of future rental assistance at a time.
  • Utility Payments
    • For electricity, gas, propane or fuel oil, water, sewer and/or trash removal.
    • Available for utility payments of costs incurred no earlier than March 13, 2020.
  • Up to 12 months of combined assistance

    Eligible renters may apply for rent assistance only, utility assistance only or both, rent and utility assistance.

Eligible Households

  • Renter households with incomes of no more than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI).

  • One or more individuals in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits

    OR

    Has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus outbreak

  • The household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability whicmay include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice. 

Ineligible Households

  • Renter households that have incomes above 80% of Area Median Income

  • Renter households in which no household members qualify for unemployment benefits at time of application or the household has not experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus outbreak

  • Households which cannot provide all required documentation

  • Renter households with sublet or sublease arrangements

  • Homeowner households

Application Process

An online application will be available soon. Please check back for updates.  

Landlords may apply on behalf of tenants meeting the eligibility requirements, so long as the tenant cosigns the application, the landlord provides documentation to the tenant, and the payments are used to satisfy the tenant’s rental obligation to the owner. 

Eligibility Precheck

Renters in need of assistance are encouraged to take the new Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance program’s eligibility precheck tool to determine if they meet the initial eligibility criteria, and if eligible, to sign-up to receive notification when the full application is available, which is currently anticipated to be sometime in March.

INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS

Landlords will play a critical role in connecting renters in need with the assistance available through the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program.

Learn More Here

INFORMATION FOR UTILITY PROVIDERS

The Iowa Finance Authority is pleased to partner with utility providers to ensure that Iowa renters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are in need of assistance with past due utility bills are able to receive the help they need.

Learn More Here

Required Documentation

Rent and Utility Required ID Documents

Rent and Utility Required Documentation

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

1. Am I guaranteed assistance once I apply? 

No, an application is not a guarantee of assistance. Complete applications are reviewed on a first come, first ready to proceed basis. Only fully completed applications that provide all required documentation in a clear, readable format will be reviewed for eligibility. 

Applicants who receive a notice of incomplete application with instructions to provide missing information must successfully provide all necessary information to move their application forward. Funding will not be reserved for incomplete applications. Applicants who fail to provide all required information or are found ineligible based on the program’s requirements will not receive assistance. 

Landlords must also complete the required certification and agree to the terms of assistance. Failure by a landlord to complete the required certification and agree to the terms of assistance within 21 days of the tenant’s application may result in a delay in assistance to eligible applicants.

2. Can all renters apply for assistance through the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program regardless of where they live in Iowa?

No. Iowans residing in either Polk County or the City of Des Moines are ineligible to apply for the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program at this time. More information on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that may assist Polk County and City of Des Moines residents is available here.

3. Do I have to have been impacted by COVID-19 to be eligible for this program?

Yes. You must demonstrate negative economic or financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19

4. If I don't need help making rent payments, can I still apply for help with unpaid utility bills?

Yes. You may still apply for utility assistance only.

5. If I don't need help making utility payments, can I still apply for help with rent?

Yes. You may apply for rent assistance only.

6. Do renters who receive unemployment benefits qualify?

The receipt of unemployment benefits does not disqualify you from the program. If one or more individuals within your household is qualified for unemployment benefits, you may be eligible for assistance so long as you meet all other program eligibility requirements.  

7. Can the relief be used to pay for expenses other than rent and utilities?

No. Funds can only be used for rent and utility assistance. 

8. Can the relief be used to pay rent owed and/or unpaid utility bills?

Yes. Funds will be used to first pay unpaid rent and utility bills. Funds cannot be applied to past due rent or utility costs that were incurred prior to March 13, 2020.

9. If I qualify, how long will I be eligible to receive relief? 

The program allows for up to 12 months of financial assistanceAll past-due rent and utility costs incurred after March 13, 2020 will be paid first with any remaining months of eligibility available for prospective (future) rent assistance in up to three month increments Applicants will be required to reapply every three months for future rental assistance. Utility assistance cannot be applied to future months for prospective costsFunding under the program will be available through at least September 30, 2021, unless all available funds are exhausted prior to that date.

10. Is there a deadline to submit my application?

No, there is no set deadline for application submissions. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until all funds are exhausted or the Iowa Finance Authority announces a pause in application submissions 

11. How will I receive payment, if approved?

Payments will be made directly to landlords and utility providers to be applied to the tenant’s rent or utility  payments owed. 

12. I‘m a homeowner. Can I apply for assistance to cover my mortgage payment or utility costs?
No. The federal regulations only allow the assistance to be provided to eligible households that are obligated to pay rent on a residential unit.
13. I’m buying my home on contract. Can I apply for assistance to cover my contract payments or utility costs.

No. The program requires that assistance be provided only to eligible households that are obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling.

13. Does being severely rent burdened defined as paying more than 50% of our household income on rent refer to gross or net income?

The income calculation is based on your adjusted gross income.

15. Can I apply for assistance on a second home or a vacation home? 

No, the assisted rental property must be the applicant’s primary residence.

Required Documentation FAQs

1. Is proof of identity required?

Yes, the primary tenant applicant is required to upload proof of identification. Please see a list of acceptable documents here. If the landlord is submitting an application on behalf of an eligible tenant, the landlord must also upload proof of identification.

2. What is required for proof of household income?

A full list of acceptable household income documentation is available here

3. What other documentation is required?

A summary of additional required documentation is available here

Rental Assistance FAQs

1. What types of rental properties are eligible for assistance? 

The following types of rental properties are available for assistance through the program if an eligible tenant household is leasing the property from a landlord, (there must be a current lease in place).   

  • Apartment Rent
  • Single-family home rent
  • Manufactured home rent
  • Manufactured home lot rent

Please note: Sublet or sublease arrangements are not eligible for eviction prevention assistance under the program.  

2. If I receive rental assistance through this program, can I still be evicted? 

Before a landlord can receive a rental payment, they must certify that they will not evict the household for nonpayment for the months of assistance received through the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program.The Certification Not to Evict will expire on the last day of the month in which the tenant receives rental assistance through the program.  

3. Can rental late fees be included? 

While late fees will not be included in the assistance provided, the program requires the landlord to waive all late fees and other penalties incurred to date in order to participate in the program. 

4. Can I apply for rental assistance if I live with roommates? 

Yes, you may apply for rental assistance if you live with one or more roommates, but you can only be awarded funding to assist with that portion of the rent payment for which you are personally responsible.   

5. I applied for and received assistance through the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program, am I still eligible to apply? 

Yes, you are eligible to apply even if you applied for and received assistance through the previous Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program or Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program.  

6. Do I have to tell my landlord that I applied for assistance? 

Tenants are strongly encouraged to communicate their inability to pay any or all their rent to their landlord as soon as they know that to be the case and to notify their landlord they have submitted an Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program application. Before your application for rental assistance can be approved, your landlord must complete the required certification and agree to the terms of assistance, so it is in your interest to notify your landlord of your application submission.

7. Can a landlord apply for rental assistance on behalf of their eligible tenant(s)? 

Yes, landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant(s) so long as each tenant signs a tenant cosign form and provides all documentation required for the application. The landlord also must complete the landlord verification, certify that the funds will be applied to the tenant’s rental obligation, and agree to the Certification Not to Evict.

8. Can I receive assistance under the program to pay for my security deposit and first/last month's rent so I can move into a new apartment? 

No, security deposits and first/last months’ rent that a landlord may require to be paid when entering into a new lease are not eligible for assistance under the program. The program is intended to prevent evictions under an existing lease and help Iowans experiencing a COVID-19-related income loss maintain their current rental housing. 

9. I receive a monthly federal subsidy (e.g. Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, Project-Based Section 8, USDA Rural Development), am I eligible to apply?

No, households that receive a monthly federal subsidy where their rent is adjusted according to changes in income, are ineligible to apply for assistance through the program.

10. I am concerned that I may be evicted before I get assistance from this program, what should I do?

Iowa Legal Aid provides free legal assistance to eligible Iowans. You should contact them as soon as possible to discuss your specific situation. The federal CDC moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent has been extended through March 31, 2021. You can learn more here: 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak: What you need to know | Iowa Legal Aid 

11. I don’t have an eviction notice yet, can I apply?

A notice of eviction is not required but may be used to demonstrate your household is at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. A past due rent or utility notice can also be submitted as acceptable documentation. 

Utility FAQ

1. What types of utilities are eligible for assistance?

Eligible utilities include:

  • Electricity
  • Natural Gas
  • Propane or Fuel Oil
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Trash Removal
2. Can I receive utility assistance for future months?

Utility assistance is available for utility bills owed to utility providers at the time of application. Utility providers that require payment before services can be continued (such as propane vendors) are included in this determination, subject to any further guidance from the federal government.

3. I have received LIHEAP assistance within the past year, am I eligible to apply?

Yes.  However, this program can only assist with debt that has not been covered by another federal program. You will be asked to indicate if you have received LIHEAP payments on the application to allow the review team to verify previous assistance received.  

4. I recently received a disconnect notice from my utility. Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, you are eligible to apply. Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify their utility providers that they have applied for assistance from this program. A pending application doe snot guarantee that assistance will be provided or halt utility disconnections.

5. I applied for and received assistance through the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program, am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, you are eligible to apply even if you applied for and received assistance through the previous Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program.

Employment Resources

The State of Iowa offers a variety of resources to assist Iowans with re-entering the workforce. These services include resume writing assistance, training programs and real-time job listings, including temporary jobs available for COVID-19 impacted workers.

Please review the job listings and resources below and contact an IowaWORKS Center in your area if you would like assistance with your job search.

Temporary Job Opportunities for Employees Impacted by COVID-19 Closures
Explore Job Postings
Legal FAQs for Renters and Homeowners
Training & Education

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