Through the PHLRentAssist program, the City of Philadelphia offers emergency rental assistance to help tenants and landlords who have been impacted by COVID-19. For more information on the Phase 4 program, click here: About Phase 4
This new round of funding was authorized by the federal government, and Philadelphia has about $97 million to spend on rental assistance and utility payments.
We estimate that Phase 4 will be able to help 10,000-15,000 renters.
Landlords and tenants can apply. If a landlord applies, their tenant must be eligible, and they must get written consent from their tenant. If a landlord does not wish to participate, the rental assistance can be paid directly to the 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 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 have 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 are paying over one third of their household income on rent.
Assistance is available for both rent and utilities:
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.
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.