The next phase of Philadelphia’s rental assistance program is on track to launch by the end of March. City officials expect the tenant aid program to kick up right as Philadelphia courts lift a hold on evictions for nonpayment that has been in effect since the pandemic began last year.
In 2020, the city spent roughly $60 million on rental assistance for all three previous phases. This phase alone will have at least $37 million more.
When will applications be open?
We are working to get tenant applications open as soon as we can in March. In the meantime the following information will provide guidelines to landlords, property managers and tenants as to the process for this phase of rental assistance.
How much money is available?
This new round of funding was authorized by the federal government, and Philadelphia will have about $97 million. We estimate that this will be able to help 10,000-15,000 renters.
Can tenants and landlords who received support from Phases 1, 2 and 3 apply again?
Yes, you can apply again. You just cannot receive assistance for a month where you already got assistance from Phases 1, 2 and 3 of PHLRentAssist.
Who Can Apply?
Landlords and tenants can apply. If a landlord applies, their tenant must be eligible, and they must get written consent from their tenant.
Applicants who received funds in Phases 1-3 of PHLRentAssist are eligible to apply for Phase 4, however, applicants may not receive funds for any months for which they have previously been paid.
Applicants also cannot receive payment for any rent or utility costs for which they received federal, state, or local rental assistance for the same costs.
Tenants are eligible if they meet all three of these criteria:
Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) (see Income Guidelines table below.)
Qualify for unemployment benefits; or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced some other financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Tenants can meet this criteria if they have any past-due rent, past due utilities, received an eviction notice, or paying over one third of their household income on rent.
How much assistance can I get from Phase 4?
Rent assistance can be provided for up to 18 months total, including back rent and forward rent. However, no more than 3 months of forward rent can be provided at one time. Tenants who receive 3 months of forward rent and have not exceeded the 18 months of total assistance, may reapply for another 3 months of forward rent.
Applicants with rent arrears must satisfy at least one month of those arrears before applying for forward rent.
Assistance may only be provided for months of rent after April 2020.
The total amount of rent assistance cannot exceed $2,000 per month, and that amount may include late fees or other charges passed on by the landlord.
Utility payments can be provided for up to 18 months total.
Utility payments must have been accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
Utility payments can only be for the current month and past due utility payments (assistance is not available for future months’ utility bills).
Utility assistance can provide up to $2,000 for PGW (gas), $2,000 for Philadelphia Water Department, and $2,000 for PECO (electric).
Utility payments will go directly to the utility providers. If landlords pass on utility costs to their tenants, assistance for those costs may be included in the rent section.
How will I be able to apply?
We will accept online applications through this website (PHLRentAssist.org). You will also be able to also work with one of our housing counselors to fill out an application by phone.
How will payments be received?
All payments will be by electronic ACH payment. If you do not have a bank account, we can make payments to some payment apps or to prepaid debit cards that support ACH.
To learn more and apply, click here.