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State to Begin Redistributing Unclaimed ERAP Funds

Building Owners Urged to Comply with RSA & OTDA Notices

As part of the law outlined by the Legislature, the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will soon begin redistributing rent relief money that has been unclaimed by rental property owners.

In mid-December, OTDA executive deputy commissioner Barbara Guinn said that the agency mailed approximately 26,000 notices to property owners who have not yet claimed rent relief funds that were approved for tenants in their buildings. According to OTDA data, approximately 20,000 tenant applications were submitted and approved between June and August, but have not yet been connected to their building owner. In total, the payouts for these applications are equivalent to $250 million.

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program of 2021, which was passed by the Legislature in April 2021 and implemented the rent relief program administered through OTDA, states that all approved rent relief payments are made directly to the property owner. However, if owners cannot be reached, money will be held by the State for at least 180 days, after which the approved tenant will be able to use any proof that they were approved but that the owner did not accept payment in defense of any rental obligations for the covered time period. If the 180-day grace period passes and the building owner does not accept payments, the approved tenant not only continues to receive eviction protections outlined by the law, but the approved rent relief funds for that tenant are paid out directly to the tenant.

As we went to press, RSA was able to secure a data sharing agreement with OTDA in hopes that we will be able to match a large number of our members with tenant applications that were still waiting to be connected with their building owner. As a result, it is possible that you will be receiving a phone call from an RSA staff member or an email notifying you about any pending ERAP applications for tenants in your building(s). Please be advised that not all RSA members will be receiving this notification. If you do not receive a call or email, that means you do not have any pending rent relief applications that the State has been able to match with RSA data.

In the meantime, if you are already aware of a tenant’s approved application, but have still not yet received funds from OTDA, we encourage you to provide particular documentation that OTDA has requested in order to receive these obligated rent relief funds. Please view the Instructions for Landlords document from OTDA, which provides comprehensive compliance instructions for property owner accounts. It can be found HERE. The OTDA Customer Care team is also available Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and can be reached by phone at (844) 691-7368. 

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