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Rent and utility
Household member(s), who due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have experienced a reduction in income or incurred significant costs
Households who have past due rent or utilities, or pay more than 50% of household income on rent
How to Apply
SIMPLE AND EASY
Prior to beginning your application, confirm that you are eligibleAM I ELIGIBLE?
Review the "Prepare to Apply" section and compile the necessary documentationPREPARE TO APPLY
Sign into your account and track as your application is processedSign In
PREPARE TO APPLY
For Residential Tenants
In addition to filling out the application questions, including providing an email and phone number for your housing provider, a complete application will require the following types of documents to be uploaded:
Proof of Rent
Proof of Household Eligibility
Proof of Income
Proof of Need for Rent Assistance
Proof of Need for Utility Assistance
PREPARING TENANTS TO APPLY
For Housing and Utility Providers
Housing and utility providers play a critical role by helping connect renters and customers in need with the assistance available through the STAY DC Program. Housing Providers can initiate an application and provide a valid email address for your tenant so that an automated notification can be sent to them to separately provide household information in the tenant portal. If you have a renter or customer who needs assistance with past due rent or utility payments, you can:
Share information about the program and the application process with your tenant or customer, including your email and phone number.
If you have on-site computers, create opportunities for tenants to use them for applying.
Remind tenants and customers they can have a family member, friend, or a designated Community Based Organization (CBO) assist them in completing the application.
Frequently Asked Questions
What income requirements apply?
To qualify, your total annual household income should be equal to or less than 80% of the Area Median Income in the District as illustrated in the table below:
Table 1. Household Size
Total household income is less than or equal to:
How is my household income determined?
Household income is determined as one of the following:
- Total household income for calendar year 2020 using the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) as noted on your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 series for individual Federal annual income tax purposes; or
- Total household monthly income at the time of application for at least the two months prior to application submission. If this method is used to determine income eligibility, applicants will need to recertify their income every 3 months for any award extensions applied for by the applicant.
What are eligible sources of household income?
Eligible sources of household income are salary, wage, tips, commissions, business income, interest, dividend, Social Security, annuities, insurance policies, retirement funds, pensions, disability or death benefits, unemployment and disability compensation, workers compensation and severance pay, and Welfare Assistance Payments.
For how many months may I apply for rental assistance?
You may potentially apply for up to 12 months of back rent (no earlier than April 1, 2020) and up to three months of future rent from the date of application submission. Once your initial application is approved, you may apply for extensions in the future but cannot receive more than a total of 18 months of assistance.
How much rental assistance will I be eligible to receive?
At this time, applicants are eligible to receive rental assistance up to verifiable amounts. No maximum amounts have been set as long as requested amounts can be proved to be valid and due. In the future, however, additional prioritization of funds or funding limits may be instituted to ensure that there is equitable distribution to those disproportionately affected by the pandemic or those demonstrating greater than average need for assistance.
How will I know my application has been received and can I check the status?
Please refer to the Application User Guide (Tenant or Landlord) on for instructions on how to check your application status online. You will receive email notifications at various stages, including: (1) account creation; (2) application submission; (3) application decision; and (4) fund disbursement.
How will I be notified if I am awarded funding?
Award decisions will be announced via email. An award letter will not be sent, so the email will serve in its place. Please ensure the email address you provide in your application is entered correctly.
Who will receive the rent or utility assistance payment?
The rental assistance payment will be mailed directly to the landlord or utility provider. If a landlord does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the eligible household, if approved.
Will I be required to pay the money back in the future?
No, as long as the applicant complies with the terms and conditions of the program.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident alien to apply for assistance?
No. This program is open to all rental households in the District regardless of current citizenship status.
What if I already receive rental assistance through another program?
You may still be eligible. This Emergency Rental Assistance may only be used to pay for the rent and utility costs that are not already paid by you or paid for by other rental assistance programs.
What if I have paid my rent so far but I have struggled to do so and I worry I won’t be able to in the future?
You may still be eligible for assistance with future rent payments based on your income and situation.
Can I apply for assistance if I sublet or live with roommates?
Yes, ONLY if your name is on the lease or sublease or if you are applying for assistance for the portion of rent for which you are responsible. A roommate named on the lease may also apply for assistance for the portion of rent for which the roommate is responsible. All other eligibility criteria must also be met for each applicant and you will be asked for documentation of this responsibility or past payments.
Will the payment amount(s) I receive be considered taxable income?
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Emergency Rental Assistance is intended to help eligible households that require financial assistance to pay for rent, utilities, home energy expenses, and other related expenses, and the payments are excluded from income only for those households. Rental payments and/or utility payments you receive, whether from a customer or from a distributing entity on the customer’s behalf, should be included in calculating your gross income. See https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/emergency-rental-assistance-frequently-asked-questions
How do I determine if my tenant has a pending STAY DC application?
Per DC Official Code § 42-3501.01, for any eviction authorized in a case filed prior to March 11, 2020, that involves non-payment of rent, the housing provider shall contact the Department of Human Services to determine whether the tenant has a pending Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERAP”) and/or STAY DC application no earlier than 5 business days and no later than 48 hours prior to the scheduled date and time of the eviction.
Landlord should send an email to both firstname.lastname@example.org and [email protected] with the following subject line:
“Landlord inquiry – Pre-Eviction Application Status”
Include Tenant Name and Unit Address in body of the email.
Other Assistance Programs
The District is working hard to ensure residents have access to resources to help them stay in their homes. Here are some additional resources to assist with mortgage payments, food assistance, business support, and legal services.
- DC MAP (Mortgage Assistance Program)
- Food Resources
- Business Recovery Assistance
- Tenants Rights During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
- Housing Counseling Services
- Residential Mortgage and Commercial Mortgage Deferment Program
- Foreclosure Prevention During COVID-19
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- Tenant Protection Guide
Public Reporting Disclosure:
The District of Columbia will issue public reports on the use of funds, however, no personally identifiable information on the Tenants or Landlords participating in this program will be published.