The COVID-19 pandemic affected many industries and markets worldwide. In the U.S., the housing sector faced many consequences that still affect landlords and tenants today.

New York was one of those states that got hit the hardest by the pandemic. Rental arrears started to pile up, which affected all parties in any rental agreement.

Tenants faced the risk of getting evicted for not paying rent on time, whereas landlords lost money due to those missing rental payments.

The NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was developed to ease the financial burden that eligible households had with their payments. Thanks to this relief program, many landlords and tenants were able to sort their problems out and collaborate toward a friendlier environment.

If you want to know more about the NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), keep reading. We compiled all the necessary information you should know today, as well as a few tips on how you can start managing your property in the most efficient way possible.

Disclaimer: As of the time of writing this guide, the New York state isn't accepting ERAP applications anymore. The state is currently reviewing applications submitted before January 20, 2023, which is when the application portal officially closed. It's also reviewing applications from subsidized housing tenants and landlords. Those who need to upload further documentation for their ERAP process can do it through the official portal. Considering that the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was created as a response to COVID-19's effects, its availability could change from time to time. We recommend you check with your state's official channels to see if it's currently accepting applications.

What Is ERAP in New York?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) helps landlords and renters to cover certain expenses if they experienced financial hardship due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In New York, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program offers up to 12 months of back rent and up to three months of future rent. Thanks to ERAP, New Yorkers can get economic relief by getting rental coverage for a particular period.

It's important to note that New York's ERAP only works for eligible households. The program was designed to prioritize individuals in private-sector housing, although those in subsidized or public housing can also apply to get this kind of assistance.

How Does ERAP Work in New York?

The NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is one of many housing relief programs available. As mentioned previously, this is a program meant to provide financial/rental assistance to those in need.

This program was supported at a federal and state level, meaning that the New York State also allocated resources to provide further support to eligible individuals.

Depending on the case, those who applied for the NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) could receive the following benefits:

  • Up to 12 months of rental arrears payments for any rent accrued on/after March 13, 2020.
  • Up to three months of extra rental assistance if the household is expected to pay at least 30% (or more) of their gross monthly income to pay rent.
  • Up to 12 months of electric/gas utility arrears payments for anything accrued on/after March 13, 2020.

The payments are usually made to the landlord or the utility company on the tenant's behalf. Even though this program is primarily meant to provide rental assistance to tenants, landlords indirectly benefit too since they ensure they're getting paid during these times of economic instability.

To summarize, the NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) helps eligible households cover:

  • Monthly rent payment arrears
  • Utility payments
  • Future rent payments
  • Housing-related fees or expenses

Differences Between ERAP1 and ERAP2

There are two "phases" regarding ERAP. Property managers need to understand the differences between each one before trying to apply for these programs.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program was initially designed by the Consolidated Appropriations Act in 2020. This was also known as ERAP1.

Then, the housing relief program was expanded through the American Rescue Plan Act, Pub L. No. 117-2. This happened back in March 2021 as a way to provide further rental assistance to households that needed it.

The origins of these two phases aren't the only difference, however. Let's look at other important factors you should keep in mind:

Eligibility: At first, the program was meant to help individuals with a household income level of 80% of the area median income (or below). It also helped people who went unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ERAP2, on the other hand, started to provide assistance to more households going through financial hardships. In New York, households with an income over 80% of AMI couldn't apply for financial assistance anymore after February 14, 2022.

Duration of Assistance: ERAP1 was designed to provide assistance for at least 12 months. Since the effects of the pandemic lasted longer than expected, the second phase of ERAP was developed in an effort to provide further assistance. Keep in mind that the duration of the extra coverage is different depending on the state and the household's circumstances.

Funds Allocation: The first phase of ERAP distributed funds to each state according to population metrics. With ERAP2, however, states consider other additional factors, such as unemployment rates and different rental/housing needs.

Assistance Priority: ERAP1 prioritized those with a household income level at or below 80% AMI, as well as those who were unemployed or started to receive less financial benefits after March 13, 2020. ERAP2, on the other hand, aims to provide more flexibility and assist those in the subsidized housing sector.

How Does ERAP Benefit Landlords in New York?

Landlords must accept a list of terms as a condition of accepting rental arrears payments by the ERAP program.

Primarily, ERAP payments are supposed to fulfill all of the tenant's rental obligations for the period mentioned in the receipt. In other words, they should waive any fees due on rental arrears covered by the program. Landlords can't increase their monthly rental above the monthly amount due when applying for ERAP either.

As you can see, this rental/utility arrears assistance program mainly benefits tenants. However, if you look at it from another perspective, landlords still have a lot to gain.

During these times of economic uncertainty, not getting rental payments in time can cause further problems for the landlord. This is why it's so important that both parties are emphatic with each other if they're experiencing financial hardship.

Thanks to ERAP, however, landlords can ensure they get these payments, at least for a certain period. This housing relief program can also help both parties communicate more effectively and come up with suitable solutions to certain problems.

Now, it's important to note that landlords are also protected by ERAP. Many tenants believe that signing an ERAP agreement means the landlord can't evict them for any reason, and that's not true.

If the tenant owes rental arrears that predate the COVID-19 pandemic, or if they don't pay rent in the future after the agreement expires, the landlord is legally allowed to start eviction proceedings.

Also, landlords and property managers have the legal right to start eviction proceedings for other reasons that aren't related to the nonpayment of rent.

The tenant's eviction protections also don't apply if:

  • The rental building has four or fewer units.
  • The landlord (or a member of their immediate family) needs to occupy the unit right away as their primary residence.

It's important to understand all the benefits landlords get through ERAP. Even though it seems that the program primarily benefits tenants at first, you can see it as an opportunity to secure your payments for a considerable period.

What Is the Role of the Landlord in This Process?

The ERAP application process is meant to be filed by the tenant. However, landlords are also encouraged to participate in this process to ensure there aren't any mistakes or discrepancies that lead to payment delays or application denials.

During the application process, the landlord should verify all the tenant's details to ensure they're correct. They must also verify and confirm all the rental arrears owed. Finally, they can help by providing extra documentation to verify anything important.

By participating actively in this process, the landlord ensures the application process goes through faster and with a higher chance of getting it approved.

Who Is Eligible for ERAP in New York?

Eligibility requirements for ERAP vary depending on the state. In New York, there aren't any immigration status requirements for those who want to apply for the program.

Also, those who are eligible for rental arrears may apply to get financial assistance to pay for utility arrears at the same rental unit.

Finally, keep in mind that all applications in New York are evaluated and processed on the "first-come, first-served" rule. This will go on as long as the funds remain available.

Here are the eligibility rules for ERAP in New York:

  • The household gross income should be at (or below) 80% AMI, although the limit could vary depending on the county and household size. New York's ERAP used to serve households with an income level over 80% and up to 120%, but as of February 14, 2022, it doesn't accept new applications.
  • A member of the household experienced a reduction in income, received unemployment benefits, incurred significant costs, or went through any kind of financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This applies whether the effect of the pandemic was direct or indirect. The rule only applies to those who experienced any of these consequences on or after March 13, 2020.
  • The household must be at risk of either experiencing housing instability or homelessness. Tenants/landlords can provide proof of this by having rental arrears owed on March 13, 2020, or after.
  • The tenant has a legal obligation to pay rent at their primary residence and has arrears at their current residence. This applies to any arrears owed on (or after) March 13, 2020.

On the other hand, those who file the following applications will get their request denied:

  • Any household with a gross income over 80% AMI.
  • Households that already received at least 12 months of ERAP assistance for rental arrears.
  • Households with an income of up to 80% AMI don't participate in the NYS ERAP program. This includes the towns of Islip, Hempstead, and Oyster Bay. People who live in these communities should apply for financial assistance through local programs.

Keep in mind that these rules are subject to change, so we recommend you keep an eye out for the New York ERAP official portal for more information.

Can Tenants That Are Already on Government Housing Plans Apply to ERAP?

Tenants in other rental assistance programs can apply to ERAP, but they must report information about any other assistance they're getting when submitting the application.

In New York, eligible households include tenants who are currently receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice voucher. It also includes those in public housing, in a receipt of FHEPS, and any other housing situation where rent can't be over 30% of their gross income.

Tenants receiving the Section 8 voucher will get their application reviewed and processed as long as there's funding available to cover them.

How to Apply for ERAP in New York

As with the eligibility requirements, the application process for ERAP can vary depending on the state. The following section includes information on how to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in New York State.

Remember that, at the time of writing this guide, the state isn't accepting new applications for the program. If you want to verify the current state of ERAP in New York, we suggest you check its official portal.

Gather Documents

The first thing you must do is gather all the necessary documentation for the process. Both the landlord and tenant must get a few things before applying.

Renters must get the following:

  • Personal identification for the primary applicant. New York accepts photo IDs, driver licenses, passports, birth certificates, school registrations, EBT/Benefits issuance cards, and non-driver government-issued IDs.
  • Social Security number of any member of the household that has one. The state specifies that people don't need to have a specific immigration status to qualify for ERAP.
  • Proof of rental amount. Here, a signed lease works, even if it's expired. If there isn't a lease available to show, the tenant can show a rent receipt, money order, or canceled check. Landlords can also provide this information to optimize the application process.
  • Proof of residency/occupancy. The tenant can use rent receipts, school records, signed leases, insurance bills, and other related documents. Keep in mind that the documents must be current.
  • Proof of income. Tenants can show documents demonstrating annual or monthly income. In the case of monthly income, they can show pay stubs, unemployment benefits letters, a bank account deposit verification, or other suitable proof. Regarding annual income for 2020, the tenant can show an annual statement of earnings, a copy of a completed income tax return, or any other proof related to their 2020 income. If the tenant is applying to get assistance for paying utility arrears too, they must include a copy of their electric/gas utility bill.

Now, landlords and property managers must gather these documents:

  • Executed lease. The uploaded pages should include the tenants on the lease, the unit's address, the monthly rent obligation, and a signature page. If a lease isn't available, the landlord can provide any documentation of the last full monthly rental payment.
  • W-9 tax form.
  • Proof of rent due from the tenant. The landlord can upload a ledger identifying the amount of money due or a monthly rent confirmation document. Non-rent payments, such as parking fees, shouldn't be included.
  • Banking information.

If the landlord is managing the property through an authorized property management company, they must provide a signed agreement designating said company as a recipient of the funds.

The property management company will have to sign the application form and any other documentation/certification. This is to confirm that the information provided in the application is accurate.

Fill Out the Application

Once you're done gathering all the documents you need, go to New York's ERAP portal and fill out the application. Keep in mind that applications should only be submitted online.

It's recommended that the landlord and tenant go through the process together to avoid any misunderstandings or mistakes.

Await Approval

Each application gets reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Once you've submitted your application, all you have to do is wait for approval.

Remember that people with more urgent financial needs may have a priority over others.

It's important for the tenant or landlord to check their application status from time to time. In some cases, the state may reach out to ask for further documentation or to clarify certain things.

The faster the tenant responds to these questions, the sooner they can get the application approved.

Receive the Money

If the ERAP application gets approved, the funds will get directly paid to the landlord, property owner, or management company.

It's crucial that you stay updated on the latest information surrounding ERAP in New York. As mentioned previously, the economic landscape tends to change over the years, meaning that the guidelines and regulations surrounding this program could change.

You can check New York's official ERAP portal or check with your local county for more information.

How Does ERAP Influence Tenant-Landlord Relationships?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program goes beyond offering fast financial relief for landlords and tenants. Thanks to this program, everyone involved in a lease can strengthen their relationship and promote a healthier rental environment.

One of the most crucial aspects of any lease is communication. It's common for landlords and tenants to go through some tension during times of financial hardship. Thankfully, ERAP can help by promoting healthy and open communication between the two parties.

Both parties need to participate in the application process, which is why they must collaborate to ensure their request gets approved. It may not seem like it at first, but it's in both parties' best interest that they get the rental assistance from the program.

While ERAP won't solve every communication problem (or other issues) between the landlord and tenant, it can be a great tool to get some weight off the shoulders. Empathizing with the other party during these times will be the key to coming up with the best solutions.

About DoorLoop - How to Stay Informed with the Right Resources

We understand this is a lot of information to digest, so we want to make things easier for you.

Here at DoorLoop, we have plenty of resources surrounding rentals, assistance programs, and any other information you may need to make your rental life much easier.

As landlords, it's easy to become overwhelmed with many things, so having a platform where you can access all the information you need about your state will certainly make everything easier.

On the other hand, if you're looking for an intuitive tool to manage your property, DoorLoop may be what you need. This all-in-one management platform aims to help all landlords make the most out of their portfolios.

Whether you want to handle maintenance requests online, communicate with your tenant on a safe platform, or collect rental payments easily, DoorLoop gives you everything you need for a seamless experience.

Many benefits and features are waiting to be discovered at DoorLoop. If you want to see what it has to offer, feel free to request a demo.

Bottom Line

Catching all the details about ERAP assistance at first may be overwhelming, especially considering that the state may not always have funding available and that the guidelines are constantly changing.

Thankfully, this guide provides you with all the general information you must know about the program. Any small changes can be checked in New York's ERAP portal.

To summarize, here are all the benefits landlords can get from getting their ERAP approved:

  • Better and more effective communication with tenants
  • Financial relief and stability
  • Reduced tenant turnover

Remember to keep an eye out for any updates in the ERAP portal to ensure you don't miss any important details in the future.

If you want some help to manage your property, consider DoorLoop. Its intuitive platform can help landlords of any size and portfolio make their rental experience much easier and more comfortable for everyone, ensuring better communication and higher profits in the future.

Schedule a DoorLoop demo today to discover everything it has to offer!

Frequently Asked Quesitons

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!

Legal Disclaimer

The information on this website is from public sources, for informational purposes only and not intended for legal or accounting advice. DoorLoop does not guarantee its accuracy and is not liable for any damages or inaccuracies.