County Changes Rental Assistance Program
(Updated August 27, 2020)
By: Howard M. Bookstaff, General Counsel
As previously reported, the Harris County Commissioners’ Court voted to make changes to the county portion of the county/city rental assistance program administered by BakerRipley. If you are interested or have already enrolled in the county assistance rental program, you need to know about these changes.
Overview of changes…
- Funding for the county portion of the program has increased to $40 million (the county portion of the program previously was $25 million).
- The amount of assistance has been increased to $1,900.00 per household (the previous level of assistance was $1,200.00 per household).
- All properties in Harris County are eligible to participate in the county program (previously if a property was located in commissioner precincts 3 or 4, the county program was only available if the property was outside the city limits).
- The deadline for landlord enrollment has been extended to August 28, 2020 (the previous deadline was August 26, 2020).
- The deadline for tenant applications has been extended to September 2, 2020 (the previous deadline was August 30, 2020).
- With certain limited exceptions, for those tenants not receiving assistance, landlords will be required to offer a payment plan (with similar terms to the city’s requirements) and refrain from serving a notice to vacate, initiating an eviction proceeding or performing an eviction through September 30, 2020 (previously, there was no county requirements relating to tenants that did not receive assistance).
- With certain limited exceptions, for assisted tenants, landlords will be required to offer a payment plan and refrain from serving a notice to vacate, initiating an eviction proceeding for nonpayment of rent for a minimum of 60 days from the date of payment from BakerRipley (previously, there was no requirement to offer a payment plan to assisted tenants).
To agree to the revised terms…
- BakerRipley will send an email to all Participating Landlords in the county (those landlords that have enrolled in the county portion of the program).
- The email from BakerRipley will have a link for landlords to “agree with revised terms”, which means that the landlord has chosen to remain in the county portion of the program under the revised terms.
- If a landlord does not agree with the revised terms, the landlord will be removed from consideration of county funds.
If you have enrolled or are interested in the county portion of the program, you need to be familiar with the revised requirements. The revised terms with the updated Landlord Agreement should be available shortly on the BakerRipley website. Please be sure to review the revised Landlord Agreement before agreeing to its terms.
These are strange and challenging times. Be ready to act quickly to determine whether the new requirements are acceptable.