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Rental Assistance Programs for Landlords in the US

Very often, more often than you’d think, landlords have to face a loss of revenue due to unpaid rent, and the government has chosen to offer assistance to those impacted by these renters.

Some localities will prioritize these landlords when distributing rent relief funds, usually focusing on the landlords with less property who are less likely to recover from the lost rental revenues.

With this in mind, several jurisdictions and the state of Missouri have created emergency rental assistance programs to provide assistance to these small landlords in the area.

We’ll go over these programs and the assistance they offer, as well as what you can do to apply for some of these programs, lightening the load loss of revenue may have on your finances.

These programs were created with funding from the CARES Act which helped provide assistance to the landlords impacted by the pandemic.

Why was this program important

Landlords with multiple units didn’t quite feel the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the housing market, but those with only a few apartments/suites definitely saw a dent in their finances.

This made these smaller landlords heavily disadvantaged in terms of funding, even if only a few of their tenants were unable to pay for rent at the time.

Another benefit is that the CARES Act helped landlords from Black and Hispanic communities mitigate the fallout caused by the pandemic, giving them sufficient funds to push through the year and stay atop their finances.

This was done due to an analysis that found that Black and Hispanic landlords were much more likely to experience difficulties caused by rental revenue loss, mainly due to their lower-on-average income and fewer owned properties.

How does it work

In general, these programs require that rental arrears be fully discharged as a condition for receiving the award from the government, which wasn’t the case for most landlords, resulting in the majority of said homeowners being forced to accept a portion of the total rent amount they were owed instead.

On top of this, the programs require additional concessions on the landlord’s part, including their commitment not to evict a certain resident for an agreed-upon amount of time as well as forgiveness for late payments and unpaid fees.

The 4 most notable programs that helped landlords weather the impact of the pandemic on their finances were the Emergency Rental Arrears Program, the Small Residential Property Owner Assistance Program, the Housing Stabilization Grant, and the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program.

Through the aforementioned government assistance conduits, landlords received some much-needed financial assistance that helped keep their finances in check without being forced to evict residents that were late on their rental payments during the COVID-19 pandemic period.


Originally funded by the COVID-19 relief funds the government was handing out, these programs quickly switched to CARES Act dollars, with their overall budget varying between $1.5 – $2.5 million.

In order to make sure every landlord received what they were entitled to, rent relief was limited to a certain amount per eligible rental unit under the landlord’s ownership, there being limits to how much a single landlord could receive in total as well.

Apart from this, some of the programs placed limits on how long a landlord could continue receiving rental relief, referring to the Housing Stabilization Grant which stated that a landlord could only receive relief for up to 8 months at a time.

This program was eventually upgraded with an additional $2 million in funding due to the incredible response it received, with another $9 million set aside for those providing income-restricted affordable housing to those in need.


Through the programs, a small landlord was defined as anyone owning anywhere between 8 and 20 rental units, provided they were all eligible at the time of application.

This number varied between counties, and in California, San Mateo County set a limit of 10 units per landlord in order to be eligible for the program.

On top of this, the county added the requirement that at least 50% of the landlord’s income must be from the rental units they were applying for rental relief with, prompting a negative response from the community.

In order to help reach landlords that may not even be aware of assistance available to them, program administrators have remained in contact with the organizations that originally helped spread the word of the government assistance program.

Bottom line

Not receiving rent as a landlord can be pretty demoralizing, especially if the property you’re renting out amounts to the majority of your income.

Thankfully, the federal government is here to help, and rental relief programs were made to help small landlords deal with the impact that loss of rental revenue may have on their finances.

This way, the landlord can focus on improving their financial situation and getting themselves out of the trench that is financial instability caused either by the long-gone pandemic or the current high-inflation climate.