Local landlords wonder where RentHelpMN funding is
(ABC 6 News) – Landlords and renters from around the country are waiting on rental assistance and earlier this month President Biden asked the federal government to investigate why it’s taking so long for people to get their money. The federal government allocated $47 billion to rental assistance around the country. But so far only around $3 billion is in the hands of struggling renters and landlords.
"We really feel like our hands are tied," Alex Brainard, owner of Dwell Management Company, said.
In Minnesota, around $640 million are tied up and still waiting to be distributed to those in need. Dwell Management said it works as a kind of middle man between renters and property owners. They’ve seen the financial stress of COVID-19 firsthand.
Dwell helps renters apply for state money through RentHelpMN
"It’s creating a lot more work on our end and we don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere," Brainard said.
Dwell has renters in Rochester, Austin, and Minneapolis. They applied to RentHelpMN months ago.
"Since then we have gotten some approved but we have yet to see any money be funded," he said.
Now, landlords cannot evict people with an ongoing RentHelp application. But they aren’t getting any of that money either.
And with pressure mounting from property owners who are scared of foreclosure from the bank, Dwell doesn’t even know how they’ll be getting the money their renters were approved for.
"We’re not sure how the funds are going to be transferred to us and we don’t hear back when we ask those questions," Brainard said.
The state is flooded with questions from nervous renters and landlords wondering when they can get help.
"I know that people are stressed out. You know, when you’re behind and this has been going on a long time," Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho said.
The housing commissioner says they still see about a thousand RentHelp applications a week. ABC 6 News asked the state for a timeline for when landlords will see some money. The commissioner said they don’t have one. They’re still overwhelmed with applications.
"The best thing that you can do to have your payment come in quickly is for the property and the renter to work together," Ho said.