State of Iowa Unveils COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

Dentons Davis Brown

Davis Brown Law Firm

On May 28, the State of Iowa announced an Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention (EFP) Program to provide short-term relief to income-eligible renters. The program is administered through the Iowa Finance Authority and was made possible through Governor Reynolds’ allocation of federal CARES Act funds.

The program is welcome news for tenants and landlords, both of whom are focused on available options for tenants during these unprecedented times. The EFP program is also applicable to some home loans, excluding manufactured home loans and contract sales, however, the scope of this blog post is limited to rental assistance.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and assistance will be provided to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-ready to proceed basis until the funds are exhausted.

Before a tenant’s application for eviction prevention assistance can be approved, the tenant’s landlord must complete the required certification and agree to the terms of assistance within 10 days of the tenant’s application. Once an application is approved and the landlord verification is received, a single, one-time payment will be issued directly to the landlord.

Below is a summary of the EFP Program. Landlords and tenants are directed to the EFP Program website, which contains a detailed explanation of the program, FAQs, and other helpful resources.  

Program Benefits at a Glance:

  • Rental assistance is available for up to four months, which can include up to two months in arrears, beginning with April 1 rent payment.
  • $3,200 is the maximum relief available to tenants.
  • The EFP Program is available to rental payments for single-family houses, apartment units, manufactured/mobile homes, and manufactured/mobile home sites/lots.

Program Eligibility at a Glance:

  • Current Iowa renters who have had a COVID-19-related job loss or loss of income on or after March 17, 2020, and are at risk of eviction.
  • Household income may not exceed 80% Median Family Income at the time of application (IFA’s website has a table of income limits).
  • Renters may not be currently receiving the $600 additional federal CARES Act stimulus unemployment benefits.

Important Notes for Landlords:

  • Tenants who apply for EFP program assistance will be required to enter their landlord’s email address. Landlords should ensure tenants who may need assistance have the correct email address for the landlord.
  • Landlords are required to complete the landlord verification that is sent to their email address within 10 days in order for the application to be approved.
  • Payments for approved applications will be issued electronically and directly to the landlord.

Landlords and tenants should review the following additional resources from the Iowa Finance Authority:

Landlords with questions about their obligations in this program or about evictions should consult counsel.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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