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With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have been unable to pay their rent. This has not only caused distress amongst tenants that are working to make ends meet, but to the landlords that house them. While state and federal eviction moratoriums have allowed tenants to remain in their homes, many landlords are struggling to pay their expenses because their tenants are unable to pay rent. The Maryland eviction moratorium is set to end on August 15 and many Maryland renters are in jeopardy of being evicted. This reality is true in part because available resources are not being utilized by both tenants and landlords.

More proactive solutions for housing insecurity have been growing. The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program provides stability for participants as a housing subsidy can increase if a participant’s income decreases. President Biden has proposed a $9 billion increase in spending for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which would go a long way towards ensuring housing security for families, specifically when facing economic hardships.

For short-term, emergency needs, legislation at the state and federal level has established several emergency rental assistance programs to keep renters housed and landlords financially stable. Times like this require an “all hands-on deck” approach from landlords, housing providers, and tenants. Here we will list a few steps our BRHP property partners can take to ensure housing stability for their tenants.

Use BRHP as a resource – we are here to help!

• Encourage your tenant to complete our Interim Change Packet to report any income losses. This is a BRHP program requirement and alerts us to make changes to your tenant’s rental portion to ensure you get paid.
• Maybe your tenant still hasn’t completed the Interim Change Packet to report their income loss and you’re missing your rent. No worries, you can complete our Non-Payment of Rent Report Form on our website. You should do this as soon as possible because it alerts our counseling team, so they can step in and address the situation.
• Would you like to schedule a mediation with our counselors directly? Call BRHP’s hotline at 667-207-2100 and ask to schedule a landlord-tenant mediation.

Share Maryland’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program with your tenant – you may be able to apply too!

In addition to using us as a resource, there is emergency rental assistance available throughout the state for your tenant (yes, they are eligible to apply!). This assistance became available in the spring of 2021 and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development lists all emergency rental assistance programs, application links, program status, and more by local jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions even allow landlords to apply on behalf of tenants. For example, Baltimore City has a program that work simplifies the application process for landlords and housing providers that have multiple tenants that are struggling to pay rent.

Trust us, we know that tenants aren’t the only ones struggling during this pandemic, property owners are too, and so we are making every effort to help. A BRHP, we are committed to the success of our families and property partners. That’s why we have a dedicated team of counselors, a landlord relationship specialist, and host special events like our monthly Property Partner Power Hours and enrichment webinars for our program participants. We need your support and commitment to keep our families housed during this public health crisis. By using the steps we’ve outlined above, we’re confident that you will get through this challenging financial time, while also keeping a family safely housed at a moment when it’s needed most.

Jessica Baskerville is BRHP’s Communications and Special Projects Intern

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