What is the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DEHAP)?

To assist Delawareans facing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, DSHA created the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP) in early 2020. The program provides emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, unpaid leave or financial hardship related to the COVID-19 health crisis.

In March 2021, a third version of the program was relaunched with new federal funding. DSHA has operated two previous versions of the program in 2020 and has incorporated this experience and stakeholder input into changes for the third version of the program.

DEHAP can now assist with rental arrears from April 2020 – on and up to three months of prospective (forward) rent up to a total maximum of 15 months and $2,000/month. Utilities that are due to the landlord, late fees (for August 2021 – on; late fees previously were prohibited by the State of Emergency) and court fees can be covered by DEHAP. These are included within the $2,000/month maximum. DEHAP can also assist with security deposits and first month’s rent for households moving into a rental unit.

Eligible renters can also apply for help with utilities (electricity, gas, water and wastewater/sewer). This can include arrears and current bills due, up to $1,500/month.

Who is eligible for DEHAP assistance?

The application portal will start with several pre-qualification questions to help you determine if you may be eligible. Eligible renter households must have:

  1. One or more individuals who qualified for unemployment OR experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the pandemic;
  2. Risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include: past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, or housing cost burden (rent is more than 30% of monthly income) AND;
  3. Income (either 2020 annual income or current income at time of application) at or below 80% of Area Median Income for the county of residence.

What costs can DEHAP pay for?

  • DEHAP can cover arrears for rent, utilities (if stated in the lease) that are due to the landlord from April 2020 – present, current rent due, and arrears and current amounts due for certain utilities (electricity, gas, water, wastewater/sewer).
  • Late fees and court fees, if stated in the lease, may also be covered. Late fees can only be charged from August 2021 – on; from April 2020 – July 2021 late fees were prohibited under the State of Emergency.
  • You do not have to be in arrears to apply.
  • You can apply for rent, utilities, or both. DEHAP can also assist with security deposits and first month’s rent for households moving into a rental unit.
  • Previous applicants from prior versions of the program (2020) may receive DEHAP assistance again for arrears or rent not already paid by DEHAP but must apply again under the new application system.
  • DEHAP can also pay up to three months in advance from the time of application processing.
  • For example, if a renter owes rent for January, February and March and applies on March 25; their application is processed on April 5, DEHAP would pay arrears for January, February and March and could also pay for April, May and June at that time. If, in June, the household still needed assistance with rent, they can receive another three months of assistance but will need update their application to certify continued eligibility.

What utilities are eligible for DEHAP?

For utilities due directly to the utility company, DEHAP can assist with:

  • Electricity
  • Wastewater/sewer
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Bills will be paid directly to your utility company. You will need to upload a bill.

Any other utilities not listed here are not eligible for DEHAP assistance. Bills for trash service, propane, heating oil, Internet/cable/broadband are NOT eligible for DEHAP assistance.

I have a cutoff notice from my utility company. What can I do?

If you already have a cutoff notice, contact your utility company and let them know you have applied for DEHAP assistance. They may request documentation that you have applied, such as the email confirming your submission.

I received DEHAP assistance under one of the previous versions of the program that accepted applications in 2020. Can I receive assistance again? Why do I have to apply again?

  • Previous applicants may receive DEHAP assistance again for arrears or rent not already paid by DEHAP.
  • As the eligibility requirements and program documentation have changed, previous applicants must apply again.

What if I need help submitting an application?

  • DSHA is working with a group of community partners who can help tenants submit applications for rental assistance. A list of partners is available on the Application Assistance page.

Are unemployment insurance payments and the stimulus payment I received included in my income calculation for eligibility purposes?

  • Federal stimulus checks should not be included in income.
  • Unemployment benefits, including any additional federal unemployment benefits, should be included in income.

Am I responsible for rent during the moratorium on evictions?

Any moratorium on eviction actions does not relieve renters of their obligation to pay rent. Renters should do everything they can to pay their rent on time so that they are not past due. Renters should communicate their inability to pay any or all of their rent to their landlord as soon as they know that to be the case. It is in your best interest to let your landlord know your situation as soon as possible and that you are seeking assistance. Visit www.delegalhelplink.com for information and to seek legal services assistance.

There is not a current federal or state-level moratorium on evictions in Delaware.

I own a manufactured home on leased land. Is lot rent eligible for DEHAP assistance?

Yes, lot rent in a manufactured home community is considered rent. The same documentation and eligibility requirements apply.

I rent from a family member. Is this situation eligible for DEHAP assistance?

  • Yes, if other program requirements are met. If you live in the same home, you will need to provide documentation that you have paid rent in the past.
  • If your family member is a homeowner and struggling to pay their mortgage, please visit destatehousing.com/covid19/homeowners for information on resources available for them.

I don’t have a lease. Can I still apply?

Yes, if you and your landlord can provide other documentation such as receipts for past payments AND one of the items listed below as proof of residency:

  • Utility Bill
  • Credit Card Statement
  • Auto or Life Insurance policies
  • Voter Registration Cards
  • Bank Account Records
  • Employment Records
  • S. Postal Service change of address confirmation form/postmarked mail with forwarding address label
  • OR – Documentation from the court that your landlord has initiated court proceedings, such as the Complaint or Summons.

I rent a room. Can I apply?

Yes, if other program requirements are met. If your landlord lives in the same home, you will need to provide documentation that you have paid rent in the past.

Can I apply if my rent is subsidized by another program?

Residents who are receiving federal or state rental assistance subsidies and meet other program requirements are eligible for DEHAP for assistance with the tenant portion of the rent. If they have not already, tenants should also pursue income recertification and rent adjustment if their income has changed.

Can landlords apply?

The landlord or property manager can initiate an application, which will prompt outreach to the tenant to invite them to register and apply. Information and documentation from both the landlord and tenant are required.

Both parties must complete their side of the application for an application to be fully processed and paid. DEHAP cannot pay a landlord without the tenant’s application. Tenants who are hesitant to apply are encouraged to contact us at 866-935-0407 or one of our community partners with questions about the program.

What if I have rental arrears from before April 1, 2020?

DEHAP cannot assist with rental arrears from prior to April 1, 2020. Several nonprofit agencies have other assistance programs for homelessness prevention or utility assistance. A list of these is on the Resources for Renters page of our website. We suggest contacting these agencies for information on assistance for which you may be eligible.

Can DEHAP assist with security deposits for a new unit?

Yes! Effective August 11, 2021, DEHAP can assist with security deposits and first month’s rent for households moving into a rental unit with a new lease. The household can also request future months of rent, up to the program maximum of 15 months.

Does the landlord have to agree to not evict the tenant?

  • If a landlord accepts DEHAP assistance, they are agreeing to not evict the tenant due to non-payment of rent for the period covered by DE HAP payment and waive arrears from before the period covered by DE HAP payment. Other arrears may be addressed in a stipulated agreement reached through the Courts.
  • Applications with open eviction cases cannot be paid until documentation has been provided showing that the eviction case has been withdrawn, satisfied, or resolved via agreement. These cases will be conditionally approved until this documentation is submitted. Effective June 15, 2021, to serve as documentation of a resolved case, Stipulated Agreements must use the DEHAP Stipulated Agreement Format available here.

My landlord has already filed for eviction. Can I still apply? What do I do?

Yes! Be sure to note YES in the check box asking about eviction status and upload any court documentation if you have it.

Applications with open eviction cases cannot be paid until documentation has been provided showing the case has been withdrawn, satisfied or resolved via agreement. These cases will be conditionally approved until this is submitted.
Keep an eye on your spam and junk mail to ensure you don’t miss any messages from the program. If you have a court hearing or similar event coming up, check your status on the portal and take documentation that you have applied.
If you are not sure if you included in your application that you have an eviction case, call us at 866-935-0407 to confirm and let us know if you have an upcoming hearing.

How are payments made?

  • Payment will be made directly to the property owner/manager or utility company.
  • The portal will request ACH/direct deposit information to make this payment.
  • Direct deposit is strongly encouraged.

Payments are made directly from RentRelief. They are typically batched for approval on Wednesdays and processed on Fridays. The status will change several times through the payment process:

  • Approved – application has been fully reviewed and approved.
  • Funding Requested – the application has been put into a batch for processing.
  • Funding Approved – the batch has been approved for payment.
  • Payment in Progress – Payment is being processed.
  • Sent to Bank – Direct deposit request has been sent to bank.
  • Paid – Payment is fully processed.

Landlords will receive an email notice of payment, and can also view payment details on the portal under the Payments tab.

What if my lease is expired?

  • If the lease is expired, as long as the rent requested in the portal is the same stated in the lease, this is acceptable. Please submit the existing lease.
  • If the rent has changed since the original signed lease, a renewal or addendum stating the new rent amount OR documentation of past payment of the new rent amount is needed. The rent stated on the lease or renewal must match the rent due entered into the portal. If lease renewal is not signed, submit both the original lease and renewal statement.

Can DEHAP assist if the household has already moved out of the unit?

No, if you are no longer residing in the unit, DEHAP cannot assist with back rent owed. DEHAP also cannot pay off existing judgements post-eviction.

What happens after I apply?

When you enter your landlord’s contact information as part of your application, they will receive an email invitation to register and enter payment and rent due information on the portal. It is important that they accept this invitation, register if they haven’t already, and follow the steps to submit their side of the application. Applicants are encouraged to let their landlord know they have applied.

Once submitted, your application will be reviewed. If additional information is needed, you will get an automated email and/or text message (if you sign up for them) letting you know something is needed, or you may receive an email directly from a reviewer. Please be sure to regularly check your spam and junk mail to ensure you do not miss any messages. If additional information is needed from your landlord, they will be contacted.

Why does the application ask about my ethnicity and race?

This information is requested by the federal government to track performance and equal access to assistance. You are not required to provide this information but are encouraged to. If you do not wish to provide this information, please check the appropriate box.