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Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program

The Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program may provide eligible renters with help with rent and utility bills.

IMPORTANT: 

Please note: Residents of Polk County or the City of Des Moines are 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 is available here.

Have questions about the Rent and Utility Program or your application? Contact us at the Housing Recovery Help Line.

855-300-5885 or  515-348-8813

  • Rent Payments

    Past Due Payments

    Future Payments: Not available.

  • Utility Payments

    Past Due Payments: Electricity, gas, propane or fuel oil, water, sewer and/or trash removal.

    Future Payments: Not available.

  • Up to 12 Months Combined Assistance

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

All past due payments are for costs incurred no earlier than March 13, 2020.

Eligible Households

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

  • 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 which may 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.

  • STEP 1

    Review required documents and FAQs

    Have digital copies of: Proof of identification & income eligibility documentation (required for each adult household member), signed lease and/or utility bill, etc.

  • STEP 2

    Apply

    Submit an application

  • STEP 3

    Notify your landlord

    Landlords will need to complete a portion of the application in order for your application to get reviewed

Application Now Available

Renters and landlords are encouraged to submit applications for assistance.

Landlord User Guide
Tenant Application User Guide

Already applied? Login to check the status of your application here.

Application Review:

Please note that the program is expected to have funds available through Dec. of 2021. Complete applications that include a household member that has been unemployed for 90 days or more at the time of application or households with an annual income at or below 50% of the Area Median Income will be prioritized and reviewed first. Applications for rental assistance must have a landlord verification received prior to being considered complete and eligible for review.

 


Payment Timing:

The first payments through the program are expected to be made to landlords and utility service providers beginning in late April. Landlords and utility providers are strongly encouraged to pause eviction proceedings and utility disconnections until application review is complete and payments can be made.

If you are at imminent risk of eviction and need legal assistance, Iowa Legal Aid may be able to assist you at no cost. Learn More

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

The participation of utility providers in the program will be critical for exchanging information and providing much needed relief for Iowa renters.

Learn More Here

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 14 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 eligible. Rent and 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.

  14. I'm renting under a rent-to-own agreement, am I eligible?

    A tenant renting a residential unit under a “rent-to-own” agreement, under which the renter has the option (or obligation) to purchase the property at the end of the lease term, may be eligible for assistance provided that a member of their household:

    • Is not a signor or co-signor to the mortgage on the property;
    • Does not hold the deed or title to the property; and
    • Has not exercised the option to purchase.
  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Will I be responsible for reimbursing for any payment this is determined to be an overpayment or fraudulent request?

    Yes, if it is determined that there has been an overpayment or misrepresentation and/or fraud, the Iowa Finance Authority will seek reimbursement.

  18. How are the months of assistance determined in the application request and approval process?

    For rent, applicants will need to select the months of past due of assistance requested

    For utilities, applicants are expected to select which months their balance owed represents. Determining these months may require contacting your utility provider or reviewing previous bills. The applicant should select months based on their own documentation or best estimate. The applicant should select more months than the current month, unless the utility bill upload demonstrates that the balance owed is for the most recent billing cycle’s usage and costs. Application reviewers reserve the ability to add months to the application or make inquiries to the applicant or utility for more information to confirm the month requests are correct.

    Rent and utility assistance months will be combined to determine the total number and ensure no more than twelve are covered, if approved. Assistance for both rent and utilities for the same month will count as one month. If the applicant reaches their maximum of twelve months for utility arrears and rental assistance, they will not be able to apply again.

Required Documentation FAQs

  1. Is proof of identity required?

    Yes, the primary tenant applicant is required to upload proof of identification.  

  2. What is required for proof of household income and eligibility?

    A full list of acceptable household income and other 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. Why are future months of rental assistance not eligible?
    Applicants may only apply for assistance for past due rent which must be documented with a past due notice. This is to ensure that resources are focused on assisting Iowans with the most imminent needs.
  3. 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.  

  4. 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. 

  5. 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.   

  6. 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.  

  7. 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.

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

    No, the tenant must apply separately.

  9. 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. 

  10. 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?

    Yes. Tenant households that receive a monthly federal subsidy (e.g. Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, Project-Based Section 8, USDA Rural Development are eligible to apply and will be required to upload a Tenant Income Certification (TIC) dated on or after April 1, 2020. Acceptable forms may include HUD-50058, HUD-50059 or RD 3560-8.

  11. 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 

  12. 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. 

  13. What is the maximum amount of rental assistance I can be awarded?

    An eligible tenant may be awarded up to 12 months of rental assistance. There is no dollar amount cap. Any amount of assistance awarded will be based upon the tenant’s rent amount as identified in their lease, including any rent owed in arrears.

  14. I received an email that my landlord applied for the program. Do I need to do something?

    Yes. Receipt of this email means that your landlord has registered your address in the application portal and completed the required landlord verification information. You need to log into the portal to complete the portions specific to the applicant in order for the application to be submitted and reviewed.

Utility FAQs

  1. I have had an increasing balance of arrears with my utility provider for several months and I have not been able to make the payments. What should I do?

    Before applying, please contact your utility provider and attempt to enter a payment plan for the balance owed. Many providers offer and encourage this option to their customers. In many cases, entering a payment plan and making those payments is the best strategy to avoid disconnection of utility services and remain in good standing.

  2. What types of utilities are eligible for assistance?

    Eligible utilities include:

    • Electricity
    • Natural Gas
    • Propane or Fuel Oil
    • Water
    • Sewer
    • Trash Removal
  3. 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.

  4. 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.  

  5. 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 does not guarantee that assistance will be provided or halt utility disconnections.

  6. 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.

  7. Does the utility bill need to be in the name of the applicant?

    No. The application will ask the name of the utility account holder and this must be visible on the utility bill that is uploaded to the application. If the utility account holder is not the applicant or a household member listed in the application, the applicant may receive further inquiries from the case manager on this part of the application. The household must be responsible for paying the utility bill.

  8. I received an updated utility bill showing an increased amount owed in comparison to my original application submission. Can this be considered for assistance?

    The applicant should log into the portal and submit the document along with comments about the request for consideration by the case manager.

  9. How can I be prepared for the application completion?

    Applicants are expected to select which months their balance owed represents and the request cannot cover more than twelve months of costs. Determining these months may require contacting your utility provider or reviewing previous bills. The applicant should select months based on their own documentation or best estimate. Applicants will also be asked about assistance received from other programs and payments made to their account for the months selected.

    Applicants should ensure they have the required documentation, which includes the complete utility bill or similar documentation for propane that verifies the account and financial request.

  10. Our household uses propane or fuel oil and we don’t have the same type of bill that a utility would provide. What should I provide in the application?

    You should provide any documentation available that demonstrates you are a propane customer of the provider you selected in the application. It should include the account holder name, address and account number if one exists.

  11. Our household had a significant increase in our natural gas bill due to the impacts of this winter’s cold snap on natural gas prices. Can I get assistance through this program?

    Possibly, if your household meets the eligibility criteria and has past due utility costs. The purpose of this program is to assist low-income households that were economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The full eligibility requirements are on our website. However, you should evaluate the options with your utility provider for a payment plan or other requirements to ensure continuation of service. If you pay your full bill at this elevated cost, this program is focused on amounts owed and cannot reimburse an applicant for their bills already paid before they applied.

  12. Within the application, how should I select the months for utility assistance?

    For utilities, applicants are expected to select which months their balance owed represents. Determining these months may require contacting your utility provider or reviewing previous bills. The applicant should select months based on their own documentation or best estimate. The applicant should select more months than the current month, unless the utility bill upload demonstrates that the balance owed is for the most recent billing cycle’s usage and costs. Application case reviewers reserve the ability to add months to the application or make inquiries to the applicant or utility for more information to confirm the month requests are correct.

  13. Within the application, what do I enter for assistance programs and amounts paid?

    If you have applied for assistance within the months covered in your application request, you should list the amounts of that assistance received. This will not counted against your eligible request and current balance due in the review process. The application separately asks about payments made to capture what you have paid toward your utility bill in the months selected. These fields of information are needed for federal program requirements.

Application FAQs

  1. Will I be contacted with questions or requests for additional information during the review process?

    It is possible that the application review team will request clarification or additional documentation. Applicants should monitor their email account provided in the application regularly and check junk mail to ensure that notifications from the application portal are not marked as spam. These notices will instruct the applicants to log into their application and provide the requested information or documentation. Applicants will be given a deadline to respond to these requests.

  2. I am having technical difficulties with the online application. What should I do?

    Call the application support team (855-300-5885 or 515-348-8813) with a description of your technical difficulty. Please refer to the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program Tenant Application Guide for more information. You should ensure you are using the latest, most up to date version of internet browser and are using a reliable internet connection.

  3. How can I check the status of my application?
    Those with existing applications and accounts can log back into the portal to check status and to submit new applications here. Login with the email address & password used to submit application.

A program flyer that may be emailed or printed and shared with renters in need of assistance is available below.

Flyer – English

Flyer – Spanish

Flyer – French

Flyer – Swahili

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

This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award numbers ERA0184 and ERA0440 awarded to the Iowa Finance Authority by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.