The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting many people worldwide. Renters and landlords, particularly, have been struggling to get the money they need to cover their living expenses, which has led to frustration, anxiety, and other negative emotions and consequences.

Thankfully, the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program was created to help those in need. With the financial assistance that this program provided, renters could cover their rent and utility bills, which in turn helped landlords secure their money.

Even though ERAP was available nationwide, each state had different rules applicants had to meet to receive past and future rent assistance. To make things easier, we gathered all the information you need about this program here.

Disclaimer: As of 10/24/23, the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program is closed, according to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. There's no indication that the program will open again soon, but we encourage you to check the official portal for the latest news. The effects of the pandemic are still present in many areas in Texas, so there's a possibility that the availability could change in the future.

What Is ERAP in Texas?

The "ERAP" was created to provide emergency rental assistance to Texas residents experiencing financial hardship or homelessness.

In other words, this program helped Texas renters pay rent and utility bills to their landlords, which ensured everyone under the lease agreement received what they were owed.

The funding for the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program was provided by the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs, as well as the U.S. Treasury Department. If you got your application approved, you would get direct payments for rent/utility bills owed by your tenants.

How Does ERAP Work in Texas?

In Texas, you would have to check with your county to discover the requirements for applying. Most of the time, however, the rules were similar across the entire state.

All you had to do was go to the ERAP portal, submit the requested documents for both the tenant and landlord, and wait for the application to get approved or denied. Depending on your financial situation, your local Housing Authority could prioritize your application.

The Texas Rent Relief Program's goal was to provide financial assistance to eligible households for up to 15 months.

Difference Between ERAP1 and ERAP2 Phases

All the states in the U.S. went through two different ERA phases.

The first ERAP (also called ERA1) was authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and it was the first measure taken to provide rent assistance to those in need.

Later, the ERA2 program was approved by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Besides providing rental assistance, it also gave eligible applicants housing stability services and utility assistance.

How Does ERAP Benefit Landlords and Property Managers in Texas?

At first, it would seem like these rental assistance programs primarily benefit tenants. However, keep in mind that this also gives landlords financial relief.

As the situation with the pandemic got worse, landlords started to have more conflict with their tenants, which led to evictions. Then, the landlord or property manager would spend more time and money advertising their property in hopes of getting another tenant.

All of that process caused further stress for the landlord. However, with the help of ERAP, the tenant would pay everything they owed to their landlord, which led to fewer problems and a lower financial/emotional burden on everyone.

What Is the Landlord's Role in the Process?

Landlords are encouraged to actively participate in the rental assistance application process.

Even though tenants don't need the landlord's approval to apply for assistance in most states, working together to get that request approved could benefit both parties.

The landlord can assist by providing necessary documents or verifying if the submitted information is correct. In most cases, the clearer the information was, the faster the application could get approved.

Who Is Eligible for ERAP in Texas?

Eligibility requirements for the rental assistance program in Texas were the same across all the counties. Here's an overview of them:

  • Your household's gross income can't be higher than 80% of the area median income.
  • You must prove or attest in writing that a member of the household either lost their job, experienced financial hardship, or qualified for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • You must prove that you or other members of the household are facing housing instability or homelessness.

Every Housing Department's goal was to assist households with urgent needs. Those with severe financial situations would get their applications prioritized.

Which Applicants Get Prioritized?

In most cases, the applications get prioritized based on income level, submission date, and eviction status.

Those with more urgent needs get addressed first. Once they're done, the rest of the applications will get reviewed and approved until the funding for each county expires. We suggest you check your county's official ERAP page to see if it still has funds to cover pending requests.

Can Renters on Other Government Housing Plans Apply to ERAP in Texas?

In Texas, it's possible to apply to ERAP if the renter is on another government housing plan (such as Section 8).

The applicant is required to show proof that they qualified for these other programs, as that counts as part of the verification process.

It's also possible for tenants who were served an eviction notice to apply for ERAP. As long as they showed proof in the application process, they could get a chance to pay all their bills to be able to stay in the property.

How to Apply for ERAP in Texas

The process to apply for ERAP in Texas is simple. It's important to note that the process can be started by either the landlord or the tenant.

Regardless of who starts the application, the other party will get notified to complete their part of the process. If the tenant is the one who starts the application, and the landlord refuses who participate, they could still get assistance.

On the other hand, if the landlord is the one who applies, and the tenant refuses to participate, the landlord won't be able to receive rental assistance.

Now, let's go over the application process!

Gather Documents

First, you must gather all the required documents for the landlord and tenant. These include:

- Valid IDs

- Landlord's Banking Information

- General Information About the Property

- W9 Form

- 2020 Tax Return

- Pay Stubs

- Proof of Residence

- Signed Certification of Financial Hardship

- Notice of Past-due Rent

- Eviction Notice

Remember that you must submit any document that helps you prove that your income is below 80% AMI, as this will help your application get approved.

File the Application

Once you're done gathering everything you need, go to the ERAP portal and follow the instructions mentioned there.

Wait for Approval

That's it! All you must do now is wait.

In some cases, the government may reach out to you (or your tenant) to answer a few questions or submit more documents.

We suggest you verify your information as thoroughly as possible so that you don't delay the application process too much. The clearer you are with your documents, the less likely you are to get your application sent back.

ERAP's Influence on Landlord-Tenant Relationships

The ERA program did many things beyond offering rental assistance to landlords and tenants. It helped foster a more collaborative environment among all the parties involved in the lease.

Having a financial burden is known for causing a lot of stress and frustration on anyone, which could lead to unnecessary fights and problems with your tenant.

By getting the financial help both parties need to move on with their lives despite their current situation, it's possible to strengthen the relationship. Overall, having a better relationship with your tenant would lead to a better retention rate and reputation, as well as peace and quiet during the lease period.

Use DoorLoop to Stay Updated on the Latest News

DoorLoop and its resources page can help you get the information you need for your state at all times. Many landlords don't notice that certain tools and programs are available for them until it's too late.

In today's digital era, it's crucial for you to stay updated to gain a competitive advantage and ensure the most profits in the long run. That's where DoorLoop comes in.

DoorLoop gets consistently updated with the latest news surrounding the rental market in every state. Regardless of what information you're looking for, rest assured you'll find honest and transparent content about it.

Bottom Line - Take Your Property Management Experience to the Next Level

The Texas ERAP gave financial relief and housing stability services to over 323,000 households in the state. According to the local government, the program has closed after distributing over $2.2 billion in utility/rent payments.

Sometimes, it's hard for landlords and property managers to stay updated with the latest news. This can lead you to lose opportunities for financial assistance, finding tenants, and more.

If you want a comfortable and effective solution to manage your rental portfolio, request a DoorLoop demo today. Its all-in-one platform will help you communicate with all your tenants, collect past-due rent, manage maintenance requests, set up your accounting, and more.

There's no need to be frustrated when renting your properties. Make your life easier by using all the tools DoorLoop 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.