COVID-19 Resources for Renters

The information provided here is general in nature and is not intended to be legal or health advice. It is designed to help renters understand the impact of COVID-19, and some helpful resources.

Mediation Services
Are you struggling to effectively resolve challenging problems with your landlord? Check out the free services offered by Community Mediation Minnesota. Learn more


Suburban Hennepin County Emergency Rental Assistance
Residents in suburban Hennepin County cities who have been financially harmed by COVID-19 may be eligible for emergency rental assistance. Learn more 


Olmsted County Temporary Rental Assistance Program
How to qualify for the program:
  • Documented loss of income since March 2020.
  • Unemployment reduction.
  • Temporary income is below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI).
  • Less than $2,000 in bank accounts.
  • Tenant pays 30% of income, including unemployment benefits, in rent (remainder is paid by the HRA).
  • Tenant must otherwise be in good standing with the landlord.

To learn more or apply, call 507-328-7130 or email covidrenthelp@co.olmsted.mn.us.


How do unemployment and stimulus payments impact income requirements for HUD housing?
Because the stimulus assistance is technically an advance tax credit, and because the up to $600 per week federal unemployment insurance payments issued under the CARES Act are temporary, they are not to be included in calculations of income.

However, regular payments of unemployment insurance (issued by the state) are treated as income.


Free Legal Webinar for Renters on COVID-19 Rental Housing Issues

What the recording of this webinar about current legal issues that Minnesota renters are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers several of the most frequent questions HOME Line is hearing from clients who are contacting their statewide tenant hotlin. Watch the webinar


Evictions

March 24, 2020 - Due to COVID-19, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order that stops evictions, lease terminations, and Writs of Recovery during the peacetime emergency. Learn More: FAQ Executive Order.


Unemployment Insurance
Were your work hours reduced or eliminated? Apply for unemployment insurance. Apply online in English, Hmong, Somali or Spanish

Do you speak a language other than English, Hmong, Somali, or Spanish? If so, call 651-296-3644 to start the application process.


Emergency Assistance
Do you need help paying for rent, food or childcare? If so, apply for emergency assistance. Contact your county human services agency to get started.


Stimulus Payment Checks
The IRS has stated that the fastest way to receive your stimulus check is to ensure you’ve filed your 2018 or 2019 tax return. Your 2019 return (or 2018 if 2019 hasn’t yet been submitted) will determine eligibility and money will be automatically sent to those who qualify.

Check the IRS website for updates here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus 

Who’s eligible for the $1,200 stimulus check?
Single tax filers with a 2019 income of $75,000 or less and married couples filing jointly with an income of $150,000. 

An additional $500 is allotted for each eligible child.

I am not typically required to file a tax return (low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans, and individuals with disabilities). Can I still receive my payment?
YES and... You will need to file a simple tax return. The IRS website will soon provide information and instructions on how to file a 2019 simple tax return.


Food
  • Find food shelves and free meals near you: Hunger Solutions
  • Minneapolis Public Schools is providing meals for its students. Learn more
  • St. Paul Public Schools is providing meals for its students. Learn more
  • Do you need long-term food benefits (SNAP)? Apply here 

Utilities
Xcel energy
will waive late fees and stop service disconnections if they are because of a COVID-19 hardship. Call 1-800-895-4999 for more information.

CenterPoint Energy will waive late fees and stop service disconnections if they are because of a COVID-19 hardship. Call 1-800-245-2377 for more information.


Internet
  • USI and Comcast are expanding access to the internet in the City of Minneapolis. Learn more
  • Low cost computer and internet resources. Learn more

Communication with your Landlord

If you are struggling to pay rent, or will have this problem soon, here are some tips for communicating with your landlord.
  • Talk to your landlord right away when the problem occurs.
  • Be honest with them about your current income situation. How has the spread of COVID-19 impacted your work?
  • Consider discussing the resources/assistance types that you’ve sought thus far.
  • Explain how vulnerable your family will be. How many members of the family will be impacted by the loss of housing?
  • Find out what other people in similar positions are doing with this landlord or with others. Discuss the Minnesota Multi Housing Association's 'shelter in place' guidelines.
  • Ask about payment arrangements.
Your landlord is likely experiencing a high degree of stress and concern over the current circumstances as well. Strive to ensure that your communication with them is as clear and calm as possible. Document your conversations.