Rutherford County COVID-19 Rental Relief Program

In accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) has allocated funds to Rutherford County to help residents prevent eviction by assisting them with past due rent and/or utilities incurred due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rutherford County COVID-19 Rent Relief Program will be used to support renters who are or have been struggling to pay rent, utilities or other home energy costs due to loss of wages/income as a result of the pandemic. Funding will be available for payment of delinquent (past due) expenses. Future rent payments may also be eligible for qualifying households.

This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award Emergency Rental Assistance Program, awarded to Rutherford County by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Please check your Spam/Junk Mail for emails from Neighborly Portal, your application may be pending additional information. Below is a link to a help guide to assist you in submitting requested documentation.
Help Guide for Additional Information Requests

Tenants - How to Apply (Last updated 8am • 3/15/21)
Landlords - How to Apply (Last updated 8am • 3/16/21)

HOTLINE: 615-334-4777
Hours:
8:00AM - 4:30PM
Mon-Fri
9:00AM to 12:00PM
Saturdays

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must meet the following:

  • Renter Households who have experienced economic hardship beginning on or after March 13, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • AND Renter Households must have income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).. Click Here to see the income limits for Rutherford County.

  • AND One or more of the tenant household members have:

    • Qualified for unemployment benefits; OR

    • Attest in writing that due to or during the pandemic, (may be an actual document or a hyperlink from in the application) that they:

      • Experienced a reduction in household income,

      • Incurred significant costs, or

      • Experienced financial hardship

  • AND Households must also demonstrate they:

    • Are at risk of homelessness or housing instability by providing eviction notice or past due rent or utility notice;

For all applications received March 8th – March 22nd, Rutherford County Rent Relief will first review and commit funds to applicants who meet one of the two priority groups below:

  • Renter Households with incomes less than 50% Area Median Income (AMI), Click here for Rutherford County Income Limits OR

  • Households where one or more house members were unemployed for 90 days prior to the date you apply for assistance.

  • If you receive assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV/Section 8) or other subsidized/income based housing, you may qualify, however overlapping costs already covered by other federal sources are not eligible.

    • In addition, HCV/Section 8) program participants do NOT have to report assistance from the COVID-19 Rent Relief program as income. If households receive federal assistance other than the HCV/Section 8 program, the administrators of those programs will determine if this assistance should be reported as income.

  • If you receive assistance from other sources, the COVID-19 Rent Relief program will not cover expenses that have already been paid or will be paid. This program is designed to provide relief for specific costs needed to prevent or avoid eviction or loss of utilities.

Terms & Conditions

The following Terms and Conditions will be required by the Landlord to certify and accept at the end of the Application process.

By submitting this Application for Rutherford County’s (the “County”) COVID-19 Rent Relief Program (the “Program”), I, as an authorized representative of the Landlord, hereby certify that:

1. Binding Contract. I am hereby entering into a binding contract with the individual listed as Tenant in this Application and the County, but only to the extent that the County determines, in its sole discretion, that Tenant is eligible for the Program (“Agreement”). This Agreement is not binding on the County until the County approves the financial assistance.

2. Tenant and Unit Information.

  1. The Tenant named in this Application is one of the persons that is currently occupying the Unit for whom assistance is being requested and Tenant has occupied and will occupy the Unit for all periods for which assistance is being requested.

  2. Tenant and I entered into a residential lease for the housing unit specified within this Application (the “Unit”).

  3. The Unit is an address within Rutherford County Tennessee.

  4. I am the property owner of the Unit or have entered into a management/agency agreement that gives me the authority to lease the Unit and participate in the Program. I will provide the County with proof of ownership or a Notice of Owner Management Agreement signed by the property owner.

  5. e. The information provided in the Application regarding the terms of the lease with Tenant, the rent amount, and any utility amounts are true and accurate. I will provide a copy of Tenant’s lease or written agreement to the County or, if there is no current written lease, I will provide a rent roll and receipts for the two (2) most recent complete month paid by or benefiting Tenant.

3. Assistance Payments. Tenant requires assistance to pay the arrears of rental assistance that have accumulated and are owed under the lease, Tenant requires assistance to pay current or future rental payment(s), and/or Tenant requires assistance to pay the arrearages that have accumulated for utility payments that are owed to me or a Utility Provider. I agree to accept assistance on behalf of Tenant subject to the requirements herein.

  1. Payments made under the Program for late rent, utilities, and fees may only cover amounts that became due after March 13, 2020 and may not cover any amounts incurred prior to that date. I am not requesting assistance for any amount that became due prior to March 13, 2020.

  2. I acknowledge that in no case am I entitled to a payment for a month that Tenant did not or does not reside at the Unit. I shall return any such payment to the County immediately.

  3. I will accept payment from the Program via check for the benefit of Tenant, unless the County approves another form of payment in writing.

  4. I shall not apply for or receive any private or federal assistance that is duplicative of the assistance provided under the Program.

  5. I shall repay any duplicate payment or overage to the County immediately.

  6. I shall apply payments to Tenant’s account(s) as directed by the County.

4. Application of Payments. If Tenant is eligible for assistance under the Program, the County shall provide me, as Landlord, a breakdown of the amount(s) of assistance being provided in a form similar to the one below and I shall apply the assistance provided accordingly. Such amount(s) of assistance, to be subsequently provided, are hereby incorporated into this Agreement by this reference.

  1. Late Rent and Fees Owed to Landlord.
    The Amount of Rent owed by Tenant each month under the lease. The Total Amount of Late Rent Owed being provided to Landlord on the Tenant’s behalf. The Total Amount of Fees Owed being provided to Landlord on the Tenant’s behalf for late fees, interest, penalties, and legal and court fees.

  2. Current and/or Future Rent Payments.
    The number of months of current and/or future rent payments (which may not exceed three months), the amount of each payment, and the total amount Landlord will receive on Tenant’s behalf.

  3. Utility Arrearage Payments.
    The Total Amount of Utility Arrearage Owed being provided to Landlord to cover landlord-provided utilities. The Total Amount of Utility Arrearage Owed being provided to other Utility Providers on Tenant’s behalf.

  4. Date Tenant Shall Resume Making Payments.
    The County shall provide both parties the date Tenant must resume making payments. If Tenant is still in need of assistance, Tenant may reapply for the Program, but assistance is subject to certain Limits on Assistance.

5. Limits on Assistance. Combining payments made under the Program, Tenant may not receive more than twelve (12) months of cumulative assistance. However, if, at the time of application, Tenant is 12 months or more behind in rent or utility payments, then Tenant may receive up to fifteen (15) months of cumulative assistance. Utility assistance may only be applied toward arrearage, not future payments.

6. Recapture of Funds. If I receive any payment in excess of what is owed to me, I shall immediately return the excess funds to the County. I shall mail all refund payments to the County at the below address in the form of a check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to Rutherford County, Tennessee. Payment must reference Tenant’s name and the Tenant Case Number.
Rutherford County Finance Department
ATTN: Rutherford County COVID-19 Rent Relief Program
1 Public SQ, STE 201, Historic Courthouse Murfreesboro, TN 37130

7. Landlord Obligations.

  1. If the written lease or oral agreement is expired or will expire during the period that assistance under the Program will cover, I will extend the terms of the prior lease at least through the end of the final month for which an assistance payment is made under the Program.

  2. There has been no material violation of the lease by Tenant other than late rent, if applicable, and therefore, I have no factual or legal basis to pursue a judgment for possession or damages against Tenant.

  3. I shall not pursue eviction for any rent or fees due prior to March 13, 2020, but may use other means to collect such arrearage.

  4. I acknowledge that nothing in this certification waives my right to file an eviction based on a nonmonetary default of Tenant.

  5. I hereby waive, release, and discharge any claim for rent arrearage, late fees, or possession against Tenant for nonpayment of rent for any month covered under the Program.

  6. I agree to withdraw any such pending action against Tenant and shall not initiate any future actions for rent payments that are covered under this Agreement.

  7. I agree to not pursue a judgment for possession or damages for any future nonpayment of rent or nonrenewal of the lease for sixty (60) days after the final month for which an assistance payment is made under this Agreement.

  8. My activities conducted and records maintained pursuant to this Agreement are subject to monitoring and evaluation by the State, the Comptroller of the Treasury, or their duly appointed representatives.

  9. I acknowledge that all information collected, assembled, or maintained by the Rutherford County COVID-19 Rent Relief program pertaining to this certification, except personally identifying information and records made confidential by law or court order, are subject to the Tennessee Public Information Act and must provide citizens, public agencies, and other interested parties with reasonable access to all records pertaining to this Contract subject to and in accordance with the Tennessee Public Information Act.

  10. I shall maintain documentation for all payments received and activities conducted under this Agreement. I shall maintain all books, records, and documents containing such documentation for a period of five (5) full years from the date of the final payment I receive under this Agreement. I shall allow audit of such documentation by the State, the Comptroller of the Treasury, or their duly appointed representatives at any reasonable time upon reasonable notice. If applicable, financial statements must be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

8. Judicial Enforcement. I, Tenant, or the County may judicially enforce this Agreement.

9. Headings. The headings herein are inserted only for convenience of reference and in no way define, limit, or describe the scope or intent of this Agreement, of any particular provision thereof, or the proper construction thereof.

10. Severability. The invalidity of any clause, part, or provision of this Agreement will not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Agreement.

11. Governing Law. This Agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Tennessee and, where applicable, laws of the United States of America. Venue shall be Rutherford County, Tennessee.

The following Terms and Conditions will be required by the Tenant to certify and accept at the end of the Application process.

By submitting this Application for Rutherford County’s (the “County”) COVID-19 Rental Relief Program (the “Program”), I, the Tenant applying hereunder, hereby certify that:

1. Binding Contract. I am hereby entering into a binding contract with the entity/individual listed as Landlord in this Application and the County, but only to the extent that the County determines, in its sole discretion, that I am eligible for the Program (“Agreement”). This Agreement is not binding on the County until the County approves the financial assistance.

2. Tenant and Unit Information.

  1. I am the Tenant named in this Application and I am one of the persons that is currently occupying the Unit for whom assistance is being requested and I have occupied and will occupy the Unit for all periods for which assistance is being requested.

  2. Landlord and I entered into a residential lease for the housing unit specified within this Application (the “Unit”).

  3. The Unit is an address within Rutherford County Tennessee.

  4. The information provided in this Application regarding the terms of the lease with Landlord, the rent amount, and any utility amounts are true and accurate. I will provide a copy of my lease or rent agreement to the County or, if there is no current written lease, I will provide a rent receipt for the two (2) most recent complete months that I paid.

3. Assistance Payments. I certify that I am in need of assistance to pay the arrears of rental assistance that have accumulated and are owed under the lease, to pay current or future rental payment(s), and/or to pay the arrearages that have accumulated for utility payments that are owed to Landlord or a Utility Provider.

  1. I understand any rental assistance will be paid directly to my Landlord and any utility assistance will be paid directly to my Utility Provider.

  2. Payments made under the Program for late rent and fees may only cover rent that became due after March 13, 2020 and may not cover any fees incurred prior to that date. I am not requesting assistance for any amount that became due prior to March 13, 2020.

  3. I acknowledge that in no case am I entitled to a payment for a month that I did not or do not reside at the Unit. I shall return any such payment to the County immediately

  4. I shall not apply for or receive any private or federal assistance that is duplicative of the assistance provided under the Program.

  5. I shall repay any duplicate payment or overage to the County immediately.

  6. Payments will be applied to my account(s) by Landlord and Utility Provider(s) as directed by the County.

4. Application of Payments. If I am eligible for assistance under the Program, the County shall provide Landlord a breakdown of the amount(s) of assistance being provided in a form similar to the one below. Such amount(s) of assistance, to be subsequently provided, are hereby incorporated into this Agreement by this reference.

  1. Late Rent and Fees Owed to Landlord.
    The Amount of Rent owed by Tenant each month under the lease. The Total Amount of Late Rent Owed being provided to Landlord on the Tenant’s behalf. The Total Amount of Fees Owed being provided to Landlord on the Tenant’s behalf for late fees, interest, penalties, and legal and court fees.

  2. Current and/or Future Rent Payments.
    The number of months of current and/or future rent payments (which may not exceed three months), the amount of each payment, and the total amount Landlord will receive on Tenant’s behalf.

  3. Utility Arrearage Payments.
    The Total Amount of Utility Arrearage Owed being provided to Landlord to cover landlord-provided utilities. The Total Amount of Utility Arrearage Owed being provided to other Utility Providers on Tenant’s behalf.

  4. Date Tenant Shall Resume Making Payments.
    The County shall provide both parties the date Tenant must resume making rental and utility payments. If Tenant is unable to make this payment, Tenant may reapply for the Program, but assistance is subject to certain Limits on Assistance.

5. Limits on Assistance. Combining payments made under the Program, I may not receive more than twelve (12) months of cumulative assistance. However, if, at the time of application, I am 12 months or more behind in rent or utility payments, then I may receive up to fifteen (15) months of cumulative assistance. Utility assistance may only be applied toward arrearage, not future payments.

6. Recapture of Funds. If payment is received in excess of what is owed, the Landlord/ Utility shall immediately return the excess funds to the County.

7. Tenant Obligations.

  1. If the written lease or oral agreement is expired or will expire during the period that assistance under the Program will cover, I agree to the extension of the terms of the prior lease at least through the end of the final month for which an assistance payment is made under the Program.

  2. I certify that there has been no material violation of the lease by me or any other household member, other than late rent, if applicable.

  3. I shall maintain and assure all other household members maintain all other Tenant obligations under the lease not covered by this Agreement.

  4. I shall inform the County within three (3) days if I receive a notice to vacate the Unit, any utilities are disconnected, or if my household no longer occupies the Unit.

  5. I shall remain responsible for all other charges and bills that are not covered under the Program.

  6. I acknowledge that nothing in this certification waives Landlord’s right to file an eviction based on a nonmonetary default of the lease by me or any other household member.

  7. I understand that Landlord may not pursue a judgment for possession or damages for any future nonpayment of rent or nonrenewal of the lease for sixty (60) days after the final month for which an assistance payment is made under this Agreement.

  8. I understand that if I am deemed ineligible for the Program, I have fourteen (14) days from such notice of ineligibility to appeal the decision by following the instructions at http://rutherfordcountytn.gov/rental-relief-program.

  9. I shall resume making rental and utility payments as of the next due date following the last payment that is covered under this Agreement. If I am unable to make this payment, I may reapply for the Program, but assistance is subject to the Limits on Assistance above.

  10. I acknowledge that all information collected, assembled, or maintained by the Rutherford County COVID-19 Rent Relief program pertaining to this certification, except personally identifying information and records made confidential by law or court order, are subject to the Tennessee Public Information Act and must provide citizens, public agencies, and other interested parties with reasonable access to all records pertaining to this Contract subject to and in accordance with the Tennessee Public Information Act.

8. Judicial Enforcement. I, Landlord, or the County may judicially enforce this Agreement.

9. Headings. The headings herein are inserted only for convenience of reference and in no way define, limit, or describe the scope or intent of this Agreement, or of any particular provision thereof, or the proper construction thereof.

10. Severability. The invalidity of any clause, part or provision of this Agreement will not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Agreement.

11. Governing Law. This Agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Tennessee and, where applicable, laws of the United States of America. The venue shall be Rutherford county, Tennessee

Applying

March 8th the application portal will be available for Landlords or tenants to apply

Both the landlord or tenant must participate in the process; however, either may initiate an application. Further, the landlord must agree to accept payment from Rutherford County Relief Fund.

The application can be completed online via the portal or by calling the Rutherford County Rent Relief Call Center at 615-334-4777 and speaking with a program representative.

Once the application is complete, an applicant may monitor the status of their application through the portal dashboard or by calling 615-334-4777 and speaking with a call center representative.

An applicant will be notified by a program liaison if required documentation is missing from an application.

Up to 12 months in past due rent incurred from March 13, 2020 to present.

Up to 3 months future rent may be eligible to keep tenant stably housed. If a tenant is applying for future rent they will be required to recertify every 3 months.

Yes. Past due electricity, gas, water, sewer, and trash collection expenses are eligible under this program. Internet Services and cable television are not eligible. Further, tenants who are current on rent payments but have past due utility expenses may apply for only utility assistance to cover up to 12 months in past due expenses incurred back to March 13, 2020.

Dial 615-334-4777. Call Center hours are from 8:00am-4:30 central standard time Monday-Friday and on Saturday, 9AM-Noon.

Because funding for this program is limited, Rutherford County encourages all interested applicants to apply as soon as possible. Rutherford County will begin serving applicants under the COVID-19 Rent Relief program on March 8, 2021 and continue until all funds have been reserved or expended or until the term allowed for the program funds to be distributed has expired.

Ineligible applicants will be provided an opportunity to appeal the decision. Such applicants should follow the process outlined in the application denial letter.

Documentation

The specific documentation needed from the tenant and landlord will be determined during the application process, however individuals may get a general idea of what may be required by each party from the lists below.

Landlords:

  • Valid government issued photo ID (individuals)

  • Verification of rent arrearages and or prospective monthly rent (copy of rent ledger, court filings or other verifiable documentation)

  • Corporate resolution listing the individual authorized to execute documents (Incorporated entities only)

  • Completed IRS Form W9 (This could require submission or may be satisfied via a hyperlink.) This will be determined at the time of application.

  • Tenant Certification Form (This could require submission or may be satisfied via a hyperlink) This will be determined at the time of application

  • Authorized Representative Proof (if applying on behalf of a condominium)

Tenants:

  • Valid government issued photo ID, noted on lease. Documentation may include a state issued drivers’ license, passport, U.S. visa, green card or other identification.

  • Income documentation (specific document(s) determined at time of application)

    • Income documentation for all household members above the age of 18 must be provided

    • Documentation to support the determination of income, such as paystubs, W-2s or other wage statements, tax filings, bank statements demonstrating regular income, or an attestation from an employer.

    • Evidence of unemployment benefits, if applicable

  • Rent or lease agreement

  • Notices of late rent payment(s) or eviction notice, if applicable

  • Past due utility statement for each utility in the application (if applying for utility assistance)

  • Hardship Affidavit due to COVID-19 outbreak (may be an actual document or a hyperlink form in the application)

    • The applicant must document that one or more members of their household either;

      • qualified for unemployment benefits OR

      • experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • If applicant is an emancipated minor, copy of a court ordered Declaration of Emancipation or Marriage Certificate.

Required documentation must be submitted to determine eligibility for the assistance. Some of the required documentation types can be satisfied through multiple options. For specific questions, you may call and speak to a representative who can guide you through this process.

A tenant household is eligible for up to 12 months of cumulative assistance (12 months arrearages and 3 months prospective) through this program. In limited circumstances, tenants may be eligible for up to 15 months assistance. If a tenant is applying for future rent they will be required to recertify every 3 months.

Yes, a landlord can initiate the application on behalf of their tenant(s). However, both the landlord and tenant are required to provide documentation and verifications during the application process.

We encourage the landlord and tenant to work together to coordinate in the application process

Processing/Payment

Payments will be made directly to landlords and utility companies on behalf of the tenant family.

At this time we expect payments to landlords and utility companies to be processed and paid in less than 30 days. However, this may vary depending on the time needed to receive and verify all of the required documentation.

The tenant must qualify for assistance and the landlord must agree to accept payment from Rutherford County in order to receive rental assistance funds from this program.

General

Rutherford County and community partners are working together to determine what/if other eligible housing stabilization services or other emergency relief support may be available. We will post resources on our COVID-19 Rent Relief web page when available.

Tenants who are unable to access the online application should contact the call center to submit tenant account registrations over the phone. In addition, there are agencies within Rutherford County that will allow you access to a computer and/or scanner to upload your documents. Please click here to find an agency near you.

No, the funds provided are not considered income to the tenant and will not be taxed. The payment will not affect income for purposes of determining eligibility for other Federal Government assistance or benefits.

Tenants should still apply, even if there is concern that the rent relief funding will not pay all the past due debt. By applying, an eligible tenant may qualify for the maximum number of months (12) in rental and/or utility payments. These funds could provide you enough assistance to avoid eviction and allow you to work out a payment plan with your landlord or seek other rent relief assistance.

Although future rent of up to 3 months is an eligible expense, at this time we do not anticipate deposits will be allowable as an eligible expense through this program.

Yes, if you are eligible based on income, income loss or eligible for unemployment and you have experienced an economic hardship as a result of COVID-19, you can apply for future rent payments up to 3 months. Every three months, you may be able to recertify and receive additional assistance through December 31, 2021 or until funding is exhausted, whichever date is earlier.

The maximum rent arrears assistance that can be paid is 12 months. In addition, this assistance only applies to back rent dated on or after March 13, 2020.

 

Legal Disclaimers:

  • Falsification of documents or any material falsehoods or omissions in an Application to this program, including knowingly seeking duplicative benefits, is subject to state and federal criminal penalties.

  • This program has specific eligibility requirements and not all households may be eligible

  • The information on this website is subject to change as new guidelines become available from the US Treasury. This document is up to date with Treasury Guidelines as of 2/22/2021.

  • Funds may not still be available by the time a household applies

All Rutherford County employees and contractor employees have a responsibility to report waste, fraud and abuse in connection with COVID-19 Rent Relief Program. The public is also invited to share such concerns. Rutherford County reserves the right to decline funding or participation if it is determined that fraud has occurred. If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse Report Fraud To:

Report Fraud to: