Let Landlords Help Tenants Get Rent Assistance

We are asking for the assistance of the Governor, our Senators and Representatives, and the Department of Finance to open the process with the Department to allow landlords to participate and assist with rental assistance applications through RentHelpNM.

Our family rents a few affordable single family homes in the Albuquerque area. The pandemic has impacted the ability of many of our tenants to pay their rent for nearly two years. On one house, the tenant‘s last payment was in March 2021. They currently owe $12,600, while we’ve had to pay the mortgage the whole time. On another house, the tenant’s last payment was in April 2021. They currently owe $8,300, again when we had to pay off the loan.

We worked with these two tenants, as well as a number of our other tenants, to apply for rental assistance from RentHelpNM. It’s not an easy process and it shouldn’t be; however, the process is complicated enough to defeat some people who lack strong administrative and computer skills. And there is currently no way for us to facilitate the process.

We are fully capable of providing the necessary documents, following up to ensure the application is complete, responding to requests for additional information or documents – but we do not have this capability.

We are forced to sit on the sidelines, hoping the tenant actually applied, hoping they provided the necessary documentation, hoping they responded to subsequent inquiries, yet unable to take action landlord’s standard to make sure people keep their lease. obligations. The NM Supreme Court has prohibited us from proceeding with eviction actions – which we have used sparingly in the past and only in the most egregious cases – and some tenants may use this protection irresponsibly to avoid to pay rent without bothering to apply for rental assistance.

As an added aspect of this situation, rental assistance checks for approved applications are sent directly to the landlord, and this is often the first indication that the application has in fact been made, is fully responsive and approved. We are delighted to receive them; however, we heard from one of the tenants mentioned above that they were “approved” for rental assistance by RentHelpNM in November 2021 and we have yet to receive the funds. Why not?

We have to wonder if the rental assistance check for this tenant and this property went to another party, was cashed and the application closed, but cannot be part of the process, we have no way of find out or verify. Why do we speculate on this? Because, in the past year, we have received three separate rental assistance checks for three separate unrelated properties and tenants that do not belong to us – checks which we have returned to the Department of Finance. Doesn’t it make you wonder how many times this has happened, to the detriment of the deserving tenant and landlord?

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