Learning how the COVID-19 pandemic affected each state in the U.S. can help you come up with the best solutions to manage your properties. As landlords, it's common to feel as affected by the pandemic as tenants. By losing one source of income during these uncertain times, it's complicated to move on.

Thankfully, there are initiatives like the Emergency Rental Assistance Programs, which have given people rent and utility assistance over a certain period. Those experiencing housing instability or homelessness would benefit the most from these programs.

Each state's rental assistance program is different, so it's crucial that you look for the correct guide before applying. Here, we'll talk about Arizona's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, how to apply, and any other details you should be aware of.

Disclaimer: According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the official Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) ended on October 13, 2023. This means the state isn't receiving new applications and is instead reviewing the ones submitted before the deadline. However, Arizona opened its official "Rental Assistance Program," which can also help household members who are struggling to pay rent or utilities. We encourage you to check out the official website for more information.

What Is ERAP in Arizona?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was created to help renters and landlords facing economic instability. Those who applied could receive rent assistance, utility-only assistance, or both if they were eligible.

At first, ERAP was authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which provided funding for the entire country. Later on, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 authorized the second phase of the program, which gave further assistance to those in need.

How Does ERAP Work in Arizona?

Those who applied for ERAP in Arizona could get up to 18 months of rent and utility assistance. The money could be used to pay for past due rent, current rent, and future rent.

To apply for the program, the renter or landlord must prove that at least one household member was directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19 and that they're at risk of facing any kind of housing instability, among other requirements.

At the time of writing, the official ERA program has closed, but Arizona launched a state-wide rental assistance program to provide further help to people who can't afford their rental payments.

Those eligible for the Arizona Rental Assistance Program could receive a lump-sum assistance payment, which would be equal to at least three times the household's monthly rent. Like with the ERA program, the money was used to pay for rental arrears, late fees, and other expenses.

Tenants facing a possible eviction were encouraged to seek legal assistance through AZEvictionHelp.

About the ERA1 and ERA2 Phases

ERA1 was the name of the first phase of the rental assistance program. It provided approximately $25 billion to help eligible households with their rental payments and other related expenses.

The second phase, ERA2, gave the country an additional $21.55 billion in funding. These funds were sent directly to local governments, U.S. territories, and Indian Tribes (in the case of ERA1).

How Does ERAP Benefit Landlords in Arizona?

ERAP helped tenants cover their rental payments in time, which in turn helped landlords receive the money they were entitled to. During these times of economic uncertainty, it could be devastating to not get any money, as this affected the landlord's way of living, especially if they had a family to support.

Thanks to rental assistance programs, both landlords and tenants were able to keep moving on with their lives while avoiding further conflict and stress.

What Is the Landlord's Role in ERAP?

In Arizona, it's not necessary for landlords to apply with their tenants, although it's recommended to do so. Having both people work together to submit the application ensures everyone is double-checking the information, which increases the chances of getting it approved faster.

Even though it's more common for tenants to be the ones filing the applications, landlords were also allowed to apply on behalf of the tenant. They had to register at the Housing Stability and Utility Assistance Programs website and include the tenant's email there.

The tenant would eventually receive an email with an invitation to complete the application process.

Who Is Eligible for ERAP in Arizona?

Eligibility requirements in Arizona included:

  • Renters who were at risk of becoming homeless or facing housing instability.
  • Households that had an income of 80% (or less) than the area median income.
  • Renters who could prove they were experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 or qualified for unemployment benefits.

Can Tenants on Other Housing Plans Apply for ERAP in Arizona?

It depends. Tenants on other housing plans (such as Section 8) could apply for ERAP as long as they met the following criteria:

  • The tenant (or any other member of the household) received utility-only assistance and didn't receive other rental assistance benefits.
  • One of the parties mentioned above was receiving rental assistance from another program, but the amount received didn't cover their full rental payment. In this case, ERAP would only cover the non-paid portion of the rent.

How to Apply for ERAP in Arizona

First, you need to get the required documentation, which includes:

  • Proof of housing instability or risk of eviction: This includes a past-due rent notice or an eviction notice.
  • Proof of residence: Here, you can provide a utility bill, a driver's license, a state-issued ID, a rent receipt, or any other related documentation.
  • Proof of identity: The documents must have the household member's date of birth and full name.
  • Proof of income: This is for any household members over 18 years old who earn income. You can submit pay stubs, bank statements, sales contracts, etc.
  • Proof of employment: Here, you can submit proof that you qualify for workers' compensation, unemployment, or other related benefits. Otherwise, you can submit any document that proves your current employment.

Additionally, the applicant should submit the landlord company's tax and banking information.

Once you're done, you must go to the official Housing Stability and Utility Assistance Programs website, and click on "Apply Now." There, you'll be instructed on what to do and what to submit.

Finally, all you have to do is wait until you get a response from Arizona's Department of Economic Security.

Learn More About DoorLoop and Its Intuitive Platform

Accessing the right resources online isn't as easy anymore. There are many scammers out there posting false information, which could hurt your rental business.

In these times, you must take your time to look for companies that offer reliable and updated resources. Here's when DoorLoop comes in.

Not only does DoorLoop have an extensive list of resources you can rely on, but it also offers a powerful platform where you can manage all aspects of your rental agreement, including communication, payments, accounting, and more.

Bottom Line

Even though ERAP isn't available anymore in Arizona, the state is still providing financial aid through its rental assistance program. If you want more information about this program, don't hesitate to call the Arizona Rental Assistance Hotline at (833) 912-0878.

On the other hand, if you want help managing your rental portfolio (whether you're receiving rental assistance or not), give DoorLoop a try. Its comprehensive list of tools will make your rental experience much easier, allowing you to focus on other important parts of your business while you streamline the rest.

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!