Close Search

Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program Utility Provider Information

Learn more about...

The Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program will provide financial assistance to eligible Iowans for rent and utility costs.

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.

IMPORTANT

Utility providers with renters in need of help with past due payments should:

  • Provide past due customers with information about the program.
    • Please note that customers must be current renters to be eligible for assistance.
  • Ensure customers have a full copy of their most recent utility bill or for propane or fuel oil providers, documentation available that verifies they are a customer and can validate the applicant’s financial request. Offer to provide it if they have misplaced it or may not know where to find it.

Utility Assistance

  • Eligible utility types: electricity, natural gas, propane or fuel oil, water, sewer and trash removal
  • Past-due utility costs incurred after March 13, 2020.
  • Utility assistance cannot be applied to future months for prospective costs.

Details

  • Payments for utility costs will be made directly to utility providers and applied to the customers’ accounts.
  • Renters may apply for utility assistance only, rent assistance only or both.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I participate in as a provider of any of the eligible service types?

This program requires completion of a Utility Participation Form which can be requested via email with the subject line “Requesting Utility Participation Form.” The contents of completed forms will be evaluated prior to receiving automatic notices, payments and other engagement with the program.

2. How will I be notified if one of my customers applies for assistance?

Completion of a Utility Participation Form is required to receive automatic notices planned twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) about customers that have applied for the program and related status changes. Applicants may contact their utility provider(s) to inform them of a submitted application. Utilities may also call or email the Application Support Team to request confirmation of an application submission by providing the applicant’s name and address in the request; however, completion of the Utility Participation Form and monitoring email notices is the most effective and efficient approach.

3. If I was a provider that participated in the previous residential utility disruption prevention program, do I need to contact someone to get access to this program?

If you are a provider that received payments from the previous program, your utility contact information will be used for the new program for general program updates. To receive payments and information on customer applicants in the new program, each provider needs to complete a Utility Participation Form to agree to the requirements of the program and provide payment related information. To request this form, contact the program team.

4. How will payments be made?

Once an application is approved, a payment will be issued directly from the Iowa Finance Authority to an eligible applicant’s utility provider(s). IFA will make payments through ACH. Completion of the Utility Participation Form is required to receive payments as a utility provider. The provider(s) will apply those funds to the applicant’s utility account as a credit applied towards the outstanding and current account balance.

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

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

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

Yes. Renters may still apply for utility assistance only.

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. Can renters 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.

10. Our bill includes other charges than the specified services in the program. What other types of fees are eligible? 

Trash removal may include hauling refuse from the rental property, including but not limited to recycling, trash bins, landfill fees, or composting/ lawn waste fees. Sewer fees may include wastewater and storm water related fees. Reasonable fees that are charged to maintain services of the eligible service types that are included on the utility bill are eligible for assistance. Charges for internet, cable television, phone, satellite, and related services are not eligible.  

11. Our utility participated in the utility assistance programs last fall. Do we still need to complete this program’s Utility Participation Form?

Yes. We are asking for the form to be filled out for the new program even if you participated in the previous. The form includes a new certification, and the data entered throughout the form is being stored differently. There is a new online platform portal vendor and the Iowa Finance Authority accounting department is making the payments, not IEDA. IFA only does ACH payments. The integration into our new policies and systems necessitates the form completion. We appreciate your assistance in providing some of the same information again as we implement the new program.

12. Can our utility customers in Polk County and Des Moines apply for utility assistance through the state?

No. Because Polk County and the City of Des Moines are administering a local Emergency Rental Assistance Program, we are unable to offer assistance to residents in those jurisdictions until the local funds are exhausted. It was not a federal requirement for the program to offer utility assistance. Therefore, the state cannot accept utility-only applications from Polk County and Des Moines.

13. Our bill includes other charges than the specified services in the program. What other types of fees are eligible? 

Trash removal may include hauling refuse from the rental property, including but not limited to recycling, trash bins, landfill fees, or composting/ lawn waste fees. Sewer fees may include wastewater and storm water related fees. Reasonable fees that are charged to maintain services of the eligible service types that are included on the utility bill are eligible for assistance. Charges for internet, cable television, phone, satellite, and related services are not eligible.  

14. Our utility was impacted by a spike in natural gas costs from the polar vortex this winter, resulting in a sharp increase in customer bills. Can we send our customers to this program to apply?

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and have 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. If households have already paid their balance owed, this program cannot reimburse an applicant for their bills already paid before they applied.

Housing Recovery Help Line

Stay Connected with Iowa Finance Authority’s Newsletter SIGN ME UP