Rental Housing Counseling and Eviction Prevention

Rental housing counseling has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic. For information related to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, COVID-19 eviction moratoria, and other guidance, visit the COVID-19 Emergency Information for Housing Counselors page.

NewHUD Evictions Guidance

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision that invalidated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) eviction moratorium, HUD is using every tool at its disposal to help safeguard the millions of Americans now in danger of losing their homes. View the following resources to learn more about the actions HUD is taking to help prevent evictions:

Looking for advice on renting, eviction prevention, buying a home, defaults, foreclosures, credit issues, and more?

Find a Housing Counselor

The Importance of Housing Counseling for Renters

Many housing counseling agencies are committed to serving clients that are rent burdened or may be facing eviction. The collection of resources on this page are for housing counselors working with clients to prevent eviction. Families struggling to keep up with rent and utility costs are often living one emergency or misstep away from losing their housing.

Housing counseling agencies play an essential role in reducing evictions by:

  • Helping clients identify an affordable unit
  • Providing information to renters on tenant rights and fair housing issues
  • Counseling on household budgeting and good rental practices
  • Connecting clients with community resources

The Urban Institute Report, Housing Counseling to Support Renters in Crisis, published on April 8, 2021, explores the ways that the housing counseling field has responded to the needs of renters in crisis and help renters obtain housing stability.

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NewLatest Updates

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released new resources:

Rental Resources for Housing Counseling Practitioners

Counselors can work with their clients to develop household budgets, determine what they can afford to pay for rent, establish eligibility for assistance, apply for rental assistance, and identify an appropriate unit. Counselors can also help renters develop and maintain financial literacy through counseling on budgeting, credit, and financial management. Housing counselors may also educate clients on good rental practices such as obtaining rental insurance, maintaining a healthy home, and preparing for future homeownership.

The following resources walk through the elements of rental counseling for agencies looking to offer this service type to their agency work plan, as well as provide tools for counselors to use with their clients.

Renters may need help understanding their rights and responsibilities under the terms of a lease or need counseling services pertaining to landlord-tenant disputes. Federal and state laws protect tenants from discrimination and define rights such as the right to a habitable home and the right to privacy in the home. These laws also protect tenants from abuses such as withholding security deposits and unlawful evictions. Tenants also have responsibilities under the terms of their leases. Tenants’ responsibilities may include meeting security deposit obligations, providing the landlord access to the premises, paying rent on time, and following payment procedures.

When tenants and landlords are in conflict, housing counselors can help tenants by offering information that will help resolve the dispute or by making referrals to legal aid organizations. If a tenant falls behind on rent, housing counselors may help residents stay in their units by working with the resident and the landlord to develop a repayment plan and help the resident apply for funds to assist with unpaid and overdue rents. Such counseling might prevent evictions, as landlords may be willing to work with existing residents to avoid paying for legal fees associated with evictions and unit turnover costs associated with repairs and improvements.

The following resources will help tenants understand their rights and responsibilities and assist counselors in understanding when they may need to refer their client to legal aid.

Rental Programs Chart for Housing Counselors

There are a number of key rental programs housing counselors may come into contact with when working with renters. These key rental programs have been made available from these federal agencies for a number of years. Some of the available key programs and property/agency in the chart below. Please also review the COVID-19 Response and Relief Funding Chart for Housing Counselors of short term programs available for rental assistance amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. This chart is split into two sections:

  • Programs with Property Search Functions – this is the most direct access to housing that may be available to your client in your local area.
  • Programs without Property Search Function – these list other common subsidized programs that may be available to your client in your local area for rental or other housing assistance.

Income Definitions

  • Subsidized housing – income-based housing options, may be mixed among different Federal, state, or local sources of funding and/or with market rate housing.
  • Low and moderate income – at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)
  • Low income – at or below 80% of AMI
  • Very low income – at or below 50% of AMI
  • Extremely low income – at or below 30% of AMI

Programs with Property Search Function

Please note that affordable housing managers may have additional tenant eligibility criteria, screening (e.g., criminal background checks, rental references, etc.) and/or preferences for occupancy at their properties beyond what is listed below. Further, for most of the programs listed, the rents are affordable and additional rental assistance may not need to be provided.


HUD Seal

HUD Office of Multifamily Housing

Find a HUD Multifamily Housing property or contact a Multifamily Service Center.

Program

Eligibility Requirements

Exclusions

Resources

202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly

  • Available from property owners across the country
  • For seniors who are very low- and extremely low-income
  • One member of the household must be age 62 or older at time of initial occupancy
  • Adult children unless they are a live-in-aid
  • Individuals without household members 62 years of age or older

811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities

  • Available from property owners across the country
  • For supportive services for adults with disabilities who are very low- and extremely low-income
  • One member of the household must have a disability (such as a physical or developmental disability or chronic mental illness)

Other HUD Multifamily Programs with Subsidy

  • Other subsidized HUD Multifamily (MF) Housing properties are available across the country
  • Section 221(d)3, 236, etc. are the most common types

HUD Seal

HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing

Find your local public housing authority.

Program

Eligibility Requirements

Exclusions

Resources

Public Housing Programs

  • Available through public housing authorities (PHAs) for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, but often must be targeted toward very low and extremely low-income households
  • Public Housing may be combined with the Family Self-Sufficiency program
  • Specifics can be found on the Public and Indian Housing One-Stop Tool (POST)

Treasury Seal

U.S. Department of Treasury

Find an allocating agency or property.

Program

Eligibility Requirements

Exclusions

Resources

Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)

  • Available from the LIHTC program
  • Financing mechanism offered to states and a handful of local allocating agencies (e.g., Chicago, New York, DC, etc.) for affordable housing
  • Full time students of any age, unless they meet exceptions: single parent household, receiving Title VI benefits, involved in a job training program, married filing a joint tax return, or they are being served in a foster care program.

USDA Seal

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Find a USDA multi-family property.

Program

Eligibility Requirements

Exclusions

Resources

Multi-Family Housing Rental Assistance

  • Available from USDA across the country
  • Section 515, Section 514/516, and Section 538 are the most common types
  • There are a number of USDA rental housing programs

Programs without Property Search Function

HUD Seal

HUD Office of Community Planning and Development

Find a grantee by HUD program
(search by state and/or HUD program).

Program

Eligibility Requirements

Exclusions

Resources

Continuum of Care (CoC)

  • CoC program funds assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness and to provide the services needed to help such individuals move into transitional and permanent housing, with the goal of long-term stability
  • In general, to be eligible for CoC funded assistance, the individual or family must meet the definition of homeless or at-risk of homeless and/or any other additional NOFA or eligibility criteria for assistance

N/A

Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)

N/A

HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME)

  • HOME is a block granted program to states, metropolitan cities, urban counties, and insular areas for housing projects and programs that benefit low-income and very-low-income persons
  • Jurisdictions have a lot of flexibility in how they use their funding, so eligible activities may vary among grantees

Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA)

  • HUD grants HOPWA funds to local communities, States, and nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families
  • Low-income persons (at or below 80 percent of area median income) that are medically diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and their families are eligible to receive HOPWA-funded assistance
  • Jurisdictions have a lot of flexibility in how they use their funding, so eligible activities may vary among grantees.

N/A


HUD Seal

HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing

Find your local public housing authority. Contact a local PHA or VA facility.

Program

Eligibility Requirements

Exclusions

Resources

Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8)

  • The HCV program is administered typically by a public housing authority or another public body
  • HCV is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market

 

Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)

  • The HUD-VASH program combines HCV rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • VA provides these services for participating Veterans at VA medical centers (VAMCs) and community-based outreach clinics
  • Veterans must meet the definition of homelessness defined in The McKinney Homeless Assistance Act

Download the chart.

Eviction Prevention Data and Tools

Reviewing rental and eviction data and familiarizing yourself with the tools available are critical to support rental housing counseling in your service area. Exploring data can also help you improve your housing counseling agency work plan and identify needs in your community.

Agency Partnerships and Contact Information

The large spectrum of eviction prevention needs throughout the community require the support of multiple organizations and cross-agency collaborations. Use the information in this section to create partnerships in your service area.