United States

Pandemic-era rental aid officials demanding repayment

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Woman demands money from man, who shows her empty pockets.

Property managers and landlords in at least six states have been receiving letters from officials who managed federally-backed pandemic-era rental relief programs, demanding that portions of the relief money paid on behalf of tenants be returned.

Efforts to reclaim funds have been reported in states such as Texas, California, North Carolina, Minnesota, Delaware, and Alaska, aimed at recovering as much as they can of the $46 billion allocated by Congress in emergency rental assistance packages in 2020 and 2021 (now discontinued).

Reports claim that repayment notices are coming in months or years after the relief money was utilized, and that recipients who were later told they had been "overpaid" were given no indication this was the case beforehand. 

Some notices have asked for five-figure sums within short timeframes, often citing bureaucratic mix-ups – causing additional distress for housing providers and tenants.

In one case in Delaware, property managers evicted tenants who were already behind on rent due to these clawbacks – only to be told by the state that they are still responsible for repayment. 

Officials have stated they cannot dictate how housing providers recover the money but encourage offering tenants payment plans.

Property managers across the country should stay vigilant, as this issue could arise in any state. If you receive such a notice, talk to the affected tenant and consult with legal counsel for guidance on the best course of action.

More rental assistance headlines

Labor Department tries to prevent states from clawing back unemployment benefits – CNBC

HUD expands more housing choices to a total of 800,000 households with rental assistance – HUD

How many renters are living paycheck to paycheck? – PayProp

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