On June 1, 2021, New York State began accepting applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), the newest state economic relief program developed to help income-eligible households with assistance for rental and utility arrears accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ERAP will provide significant relief for low and moderate-income residential tenants who meet certain criteria. If approved, applicants may receive up to 12 months of rental arrears payments (accrued after March 13, 2020), up to 3 months of additional rental assistance (if the household spends 30 percent or more of its gross monthly income to pay for rent), and up to 12 months of electric or gas utility arrears payments (accrued after March 13, 2020).

Notably, ERAP payments will be made directly to the landlord, property owner and utility company on behalf of the tenant, and landlords and property managers will be notified of the amounts paid on their behalf. Landlords are permitted to apply on behalf of their tenants. However, the tenant must complete certain portions of the application. If a landlord starts the application, the tenant will receive an email or text to complete the relevant portions.

In order to receive the ERAP funds, a landlord or property manager must agree to waive any late fees due and to not increase the monthly rental amount or evict the tenant for reason of expired lease or holdover tenancy for one year from receipt of the payment.

Landlords should expect to provide the following:

  • Completed W-9 tax form;
  • Executed lease with tenant applicant, or if no written lease, a cancelled check, evidence of funds transfer or other documentation of last full monthly rent payment;
  • Documentation of rent due from tenant; and
  • Banking information to receive direct deposit payments.

It is important to note that there are seven communities in New York operating their own rental assistance programs. Individuals in the following communities are ineligible to apply for ERAP, and must apply for assistance directly: City of Rochester and Monroe County; Town of Hempstead; Town of Oyster Bay; Town of Islip; Onondaga County; and City of Yonkers

To apply, applicants must submit applications online at https://nysrenthelp.otda.ny.gov/en/.

For more information about program eligibility and application requirements and documentation, multi-family landlords should contact Natalie Matychak at nmatychak@harrisbeach.com, 607-330-7715, or the Harris Beach attorney with whom you usually consult.

This alert is not a substitute for advice of counsel on specific legal issues.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.