Frequently Asked Questions

For Tenants

Who can apply for rental assistance?

The Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is currently accepting applications from renters with active eviction cases (with a cause number) or a notice to vacate due to nonpayment of rent.

Please visit the Resources tab for information on additional resources available. If you are currently in eviction court and have a case or cause number, you can find details on program eligibility, documentation requirements, and submit a new application here. You cannot update an existing application.

How can I check the status of my application?

Click on the yellow "Check my status" box at the top right of the webpage. Then use your case number or contact information to search for your case.

When will my application be processed?

Every month, the program sorts applications and works on applications received in the previous month first. Further, the program uses a prioritization process to ensure that individuals who have the highest need (based on household income or financial situation) are selected first. Read more here.

Who can I contact with questions?

Call our hotline at 713-874-6609. Call Center hours are 9 am – 5 pm Monday-Friday.

You can report concerns about the program to the Client Response Team. They will investigate your concerns and get back to you.

What if I need legal help with my eviction case?

Please see the Resources page for free legal assistance options.

How much rental assistance can I receive?

Depending on your eligibility and the availability of funding, you may receive 15 to 18 months of rental assistance from the program. If you have already received rental assistance from the program, this would go towards the 15-to-18 month maximum.

Can I receive rental assistance for past rent if I moved out or was evicted?

You must currently reside at a property to receive rental assistance for it. You can only apply for rental assistance if you are facing eviction but still living at the property.

Can my rental assistance be applied to a new location if I move out of my original unit?

No, it cannot. The rental assistance you receive is based on the property you used in your application.

What if my landlord does not want to participate in the program?

Your landlord must participate in the program and accept the program’s terms and conditions in order for you to receive rental assistance. If you don’t see your property listed in the Landlord Directory, please communicate with your landlord to get them to enroll in the program. They can find out more about enrolling in our program here.

Please note that if your landlord still chooses not to participate, you are ineligible for rental assistance.

How will I receive the rental assistance payments?

The rental assistance payments will go directly to your landlord. Landlords are required to post the payments to your account within 5 business days of receiving them.

How do I withdraw my application?

If you no longer need rental assistance, please contact [email protected] to inform the program.

For Tenants: Refunds and Reallocation

I received a notice about duplicate assistance received and my landlord reallocating a rent payment. What does this mean?

In the beginning of the Houston-Harris County rental assistance program, many tenants applied for assistance with our program and the Texas Rent Relief program. Due to this, sometimes landlords were paid twice for the same month. In many cases, landlords used the extra payment toward other months of rent owed or future rent.

In cases where the Houston-Harris County program made the second (or duplicate) payment, the program is giving landlords and tenants the opportunity to confirm the months covered by the duplicate payments. This process is known as reallocation. You must complete the steps outlined in the reallocation notice you received in order for the duplicate payments to be reallocated. If you do not, the landlord will be asked to refund the duplicate payments and you will be responsible for the outstanding balance.

My landlord says they have to give back money they received for my rent. Why is this happening?

This usually happens when a landlord was paid twice for the same month. Depending on where the extra payment came from, your landlord may not have an option or choose not to reallocate the payment.

I’ve already moved out of a property where I received rental assistance. Why am I getting a reallocation email about the old property?

Even if you no longer live at the property, there may be duplicate payments that covered months of rent while you were living there. In some cases, landlords are required to return these duplicate payments, which would leave you, the tenant, responsible for the months of rent the payments covered. However, reallocation gives landlords an alternative option to use the duplicate payments for different months of rent and keep your rent balance paid.

In the reallocation process, your landlord will be notified and can confirm which months were covered with these duplicate payments, and then you will be notified to confirm the months as well.

For Landlords

How can my tenants receive rental assistance?

Tenants who have an active eviction case (cause) number can apply here. Tenants facing eviction should submit a new application, even if they have received rental assistance in the past.

Tenants begin their application by selecting a landlord, so check the landlord directory to make sure your profile is up to date and the information is correct.

Where can I log in to the landlord portal?

Visit the landlord portal here. Your username is your email.

I reset my password on the portal but never got an email. What should I do?

Landlords can reset passwords by clicking on "Forgot your password?" on the Landlord Portal sign in page. A password reset link is sent to the email address registered for the property company.

If you don’t receive an email, check your spam and junk folders for password reset instructions. Additional Landlord Portal assistance requests can be directed to [email protected].

How can I change my contact information?

Most landlord or property company information can be modified directly on the Landlord Portal once you are signed in. If you need more help to update the landlord or property company information, send a request to [email protected].

How can I check the status of my tenant’s application?

Visit houstonharrishelp.org and click on "Check my status". You will need your tenant's consent and case number or contact information to search for the application. You can also see your tenant's status in your landlord portal profile.

I don't see my tenant's application in the landlord portal. What should I do?

The landlord portal updates in real time with the application processes. If a tenant does not appear on your profile, this could be happening for a couple reasons:

  • Your tenant may have applied without listing you as a landlord, or chosen the incorrect landlord. Until we review this case and link it to your profile, it will not show up in the portal.

  • There may be duplicate landlord accounts for you/your property and your tenant is using a different one than you are checking.

For further assistance or information, please contact [email protected].

My tenant submitted an application. How long will it take to be processed?

Every month, the program sorts applications and works on applications received in the previous month first. Further, the program uses a prioritization process to ensure that individuals who have the highest need (based on household income or financial situation) are selected first. Read more here.

I’m a new property owner. The former owner was enrolled in the program. How can my tenants receive assistance now?

If the property is under new management with different tax ID information, the new ownership and management will need to enroll again. You can enroll again with a new company account at https://houstonharrishelp.org. Under the section "For Landlords", there is information about enrollment and a "Continue to Enrollment" button on the righthand side. The enrollment application is here. Make sure your tenants select the new landlord or property name when applying.

My tenant received rental assistance directly, but I never received it. What should I do?

If the tenant received direct assistance, this should have been paid to you, the landlord, as rent. If you did not receive this payment from your tenant, this is a violation of the program terms and conditions. You can report the concern here: https://houstonharrishelp.org/report-concerns/.

I don’t want to be in the program anymore. How do I opt out?

You can opt out of the program at any time by emailing [email protected].

For Landlords: Refunds and Reallocation

I received a notice about reallocating a duplicate rent payment for a tenant. What does that mean?

In the beginning of the program, many tenants applied for assistance with our program and the Texas Rent Relief program. Due to this, sometimes landlords were paid twice for the same month. In many cases, landlords used the duplicate payment toward other months of rent owed or future rent.

In cases where the Houston-Harris County program made the second (or duplicate) payment, the program is giving landlords the opportunity to confirm the months covered by the duplicate payments. If this does not apply to the landlord, the program will pursue a regular refund of the duplicate payment.

I already gave a duplicate payment back to the program. Can this payment now be reallocated instead?

No. Unfortunately, we cannot reallocate payments that have already been refunded. Our program is focused on outstanding duplicate payments.

I received two payments for the same month from the program. What should I do?

The reallocation process only applies to duplicate payments between our program and Texas Rent Relief. If both payments came from our program, the duplicate payment must be returned. For more information on returning a payment, email [email protected].

Texas Rent Relief gave me a second (or duplicate) payment for a tenant’s month of rent. Can this payment be reallocated?

The Houston-Harris County program is only responsible for recouping duplicate payments made by Houston-Harris County. For more information from Texas Rent Relief, call 1-833-989-7368 option 3.

To check your Texas Rent Relief payments, you can also sign into the TRR landlord portal here: hornellp-tx.neighborlysoftware.com/texasrentrelief/Participant.

My tenant has moved out now. Can I still complete the reallocation process?

The tenant does not have to live at the property or unit currently. However, the tenant must have lived there during the months you choose to have covered by the duplicate payments.

I’m no longer the property owner, but I received a reallocation request for a tenant from that property. Am I responsible for this?

Yes, you are responsible for this since you were the original recipient of the duplicate payment. You will be asked to reallocate duplicate payments to months during which you were the property owner.

I opted out of the program. Can I still complete the reallocation process?

Yes, anyone who receives a reallocation request will be able to complete the process. You do not have to be enrolled in the rental assistance program currently to complete reallocation.