Housing agencies across the country are currently involved in an unprecedented effort to provide federal emergency rental assistance to millions of struggling renters and landlords. The initial $25 billion COVID-19 relief program for renters is expected to get additional funding from Congress as the global health crisis continues to weigh heavily on the economy.
To help with this effort, Yardi, a leader in the property management technology sector, launched Rent Relief, all-in-one rental assistance software that streamlines and expedites the distribution of emergency rental assistance. Both tenants and landlords can use the platform to easily apply for assistance online and get the help they need to ensure economic recovery and housing stability.
How the Rent Relief platform works
Households who suffered hardship due to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive rental assistance. These may include those who qualified for unemployment support or experienced a significant reduction in income due to COVID-19. They should also demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability and have a household income at or below 80% of the area median.
Eligible households may submit an application via rentrelief.com. Once the applications are submitted, the housing agencies’ staff can go online to verify applicants’ eligibility for rental assistance. The built-in communication functionality allows government employees to contact applicants easily and securely in case they need extra information or documents. The steps necessary for approving the funds vary from state to state but are configurable within Rent Relief’s framework.
The audit functionality ensures that applications are being processed and funds are being distributed quickly and correctly. The software platform allows users to create and send reports to oversight agencies, thus enhancing accountability. Also, there are built-in tools to detect and act on fraud before delivering funds.
“We worked rapidly to create an easy-to-use and quick-to-implement platform that will make distribution of emergency rental assistance straightforward and equitable,” said Chris Voss, vice president of affordable housing and PHA at Yardi. “This all-in-one platform will streamline the application, approval, distribution and audit process, without any needless integrations or long lead times. The goal is to help our government agencies as they deliver households and landlords the help they need.”
The new Rent Relief product from Yardi continues the company’s tradition of stepping up with expertise and resources during crisis situations. The company created a regional housing site and hotline for displaced residents after the 2017 Hurricane Harvey in Texas and donated $1 million in disaster relief. More recently, the company donated $1 million for the Covid-19 Rental Housing Support Initiative.