The RentHelpMN application system will not be available during that time.
Please make sure you have saved any work you are doing before the system goes offline at 8:00 PM. If you are actively working when the maintenance begins, your work may be lost.
There is another milestone in the Eviction Off-Ramp that occurs October 12, when property managers can begin filing evictions for people who owe past-due rent. If a renter is behind on rent, they should apply for RentHelpMN as soon as possible and see if they qualify. If they receive a notice of eviction, they can still apply for assistance and potentially halt the eviction action.
The legislation states that evictions may not be filed or proceed against a renter who has a pending application for emergency rental assistance. However, if a property owner files a case against a renter with a pending application, the renter still needs to show up for the court date to show they are protected by the law. Minnesota Housing has staff available at many courts to assist renters in proving their application status.
Updated Program Guide Posted
The Minnesota Housing website now has a revised version of the RentHelpMN Program Guide. (clicking the link will download the PDF)
The guide includes updates to the policies regarding appeals, re-applications, and requests for rent for a prior dwelling.
Rent Assistance for Vacated Units Available October 15
Minnesota Housing’s RentHelpMN program will begin accepting applications for vacated unit rent and utility assistance on October 15, 2021.
Under the new guidance, the renter must affirmatively request this assistance to remove barriers they face in seeking new housing. If a property manager evicts a tenant, and the tenant declines to seek assistance for rental arrears for the former unit, the program cannot pay those arrears.
NOTE: Due to additional requirements, RentHelpMN will not apply this guidance to applications currently in process. If an applicant submitted an application while still residing in the unit and afterwards vacated the unit or was evicted, they must reapply.
Rent and Utility Help Limited to 18 Months
The federal funding for COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance includes limits on the number of months a household can receive assistance for rent and utilities. These are counted separately. Households may receive a maximum of 18 months of assistance in each category.
RentHelpMN is currently using funds that allow for 15 months of assistance for rent and 15 months for utilities. Renters who receive assistance from these funds will be able to re-apply for additional months in the next round of funding, to reach the 18 month maximum.
At this time, there is no funding available through RentHelpMN beyond that 18 month limit. If you need more than 18 months of rent assistance, we encourage you to call 211 for referral to additional resources.
You can also apply for help with your utility bills through the Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Assistance Program, by calling 800-657-3710 or visiting the Energy Assistance website.
Updated Program Guide
RentHelpMN has adopted some new program guidelines in response to changes released by the Department of the Treasury. These policy changes are effective immediately, though some may take time to be implemented.
Some key changes:
- Clarifies the existing policy allowing renters to self-certify their income information.
- Adds a new policy to allow back rent to be requested by a renter who has moved to another property. (this will be implemented soon.)
- Clarifies appeals and limits on re-applying.
- Clarifies definition of “pending application.”
Connecting an ACH payment to a renter application:
Some banks’ data about ACH transactions will include the Case ID for the renter’s application. If this is included, it will be the second series of numbers as shown. In this example, 4567 is the Case ID.
$1,000.00 1/1/21 MN HOUSING FINAN ACH 123-4567-891012 Management Company Name
The amount shown on the RentHelpMN dashboard includes all assistance requested, including utilities and other expenses. It does not deduct ineligible or rejected expenses. Therefore, the requested amount displayed may not match the amount of a payment you receive.
RentHelpMN will send you a payment notification that details the amount of payment you are sent for each renter. This may not arrive until after your payment is received.
New statuses added
The statuses provided on the online application dashboard reflect the steps being taken by the RentHelpMN team as an application moves through review to final approval or denial. If you are watching this status field to track progress, it may appear that cases are moving back and forth rather than in a linear fashion. The review and approval process may require that some steps are repeated, but that doesn’t necessarily repeat the entire process. All of the applications are moving forward toward completion and approval even if there are some repeated steps in between.
We have recently added more status categories to reflect how files are organized. Some of these include “pending batch” and “withdrawn - duplicate.”
“Pending batch” indicates that a file is in line to be added to a data extract that will be sent to the bank to process payments.
“Withdrawn-duplicate” is used when there is more than one application from the same applicant. This status will take one of the duplicates our of processing. That means another application for that same renter is moving forward.
More status definitions coming soon.
RentHelpMN discourages using a collection agency to recover past due rent for tenants eligible for emergency rental assistance.
If an account is sent to collections for past due rent, the RentHelpMN application process becomes more complex. In that instance, the debt may be owned by the collection agency rather than the property owner/manager and the payee could change. The federal rules require sending payment to the owner that has provided a W-9 or directly to the tenant. The rules do not provide for assistance payments to a third party.
We encourage property owners to avoid sending past due rent to collections until all other options, including emergency rental assistance, have been exhausted.
The online assistance approval form will be updated to reflect this recommendation.
If you are a property manager who needs to return funds to the RentHelpMN program, please use the Return funds form available under the Resources tab
Payments from RentHelpMN come from a major national bank. Currently, some property managers who have requested EFT/ACH will instead receive a check because the RentHelpMN program’s validation process was not able to confirm a match between the identified recipient bank account and some component associated with the bank account. Our team is working on following up with property owners and managers to get more of you set up for EFT/ACH. For now, because some of the assistance awards are very large, and each bank has their policies regarding the deposits of checks, the recipient banks may place a hold on those funds before releasing them. We are unable to do anything about banks placing holds on the assistance checks.