Montana Emergency Rental Assistance Program

For the Homeownership Assistance Fund and Montana Emergency Rental Assistance programs
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The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program supports Montanans who have experienced financial hardships directly, indirectly or during the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of housing instability. 

The program is funded through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act (ERA1) and American Rescue Plan Act (ERA2), appropriated to Montana Housing by the 67th Montana Legislature via HB 3, HB 630, and HB 632.

Available Assistance
Eligible households can receive assistance dating back to April 1, 2020 for:

  • Past due and future rent (maximum $2,200 per month)
  • Past due and future utility bills for home energy costs (maximum $500 per month per eligible utility. Increase from $300 per month total effective February 22, 2022)
  • Past due and future internet service ($50 per month)
  • Past due rent late fees (reasonable late fees as supported by lease agreement or landlord verification)
  • Unpaid rental security deposit
  • Rental application and screening fees
Step 1 - Check Eligibility

This step will help you determine if your household is eligible for rental and utility assistance. Eligible households must meet all criteria to qualify.

Check eligibility here 

Step 2 - Gather Paperwork or Get Application Assistance

This step will help you prepare before starting your application. This includes documentation and information you need to apply, how to set up an Okta account, and application assistance resources.

Prepare your application

Video: How to Set Up an Okta Account for Tenants

Video: How to Set Up an Okta Account for Landlords

Step 3 - Apply

After going through Steps 1 and 2, you are now ready to apply.

Video: How to Apply for Tenants 

Video: How to Apply for Landlords

Questions? View our FAQs

Apply here

What's next after submitting your application?

After you submit your application, you will see a pop-up notification confirming your new application had been added to the online system.

You can check your application status via a prominent tracker displayed at the top of your application in the online portal. There are five main application states: New, Submitted, In Review, Quality Control Review and Approved.

  • A "New" application means that either the renter or landlord has completed their part of the application, but the other party still needs to complete their section.
  • A "Submitted" application means that both the renter and landlord have completed their components of the application.
  • “In Review" means that the application is being reviewed by Montana Housing staff for eligibility and to ensure all required documentation has been submitted.
  • "Quality Control Review" means that a Montana Housing staff member is completing a secondary review of the application to confirm payment calculations and ensure we have all information necessary to process a payment.
  • "Approved" means that Quality Control Review has approved the application. After approval, an authorized Montana Housing manager approves the payments.

If there is something missing from the application or further clarification is needed, the application state may show "tenant pending information" or "landlord pending information". This means the application is open for the tenant or landlord to upload documents or clarify responses on the application.

If awarded assistance, payments for approved applications are submitted to the state accounting system each business day. The timeline to receive payment depends on whether payment is sent by check or by electronic fund transfer. Assistance payments by check can take 7-10 business days.

Applicants determined to be ineligible for the program will receive an email notification outlining the reason for the denial.

Duration of Assistance

For Emergency Rental Assistance provided under the Consolidated Appropriations Act (ERA1):

  • Past and future rent and utilities payments generally may not exceed 12 months.
  • An additional three months of future payments (for a maximum of 15 months) may be approved if needed to ensure continued housing stability (subject to available funds).
  • Assistance is first provided for past due rent and utility bills before future payments.
  • Assistance for future rent payments is limited to three months based on any application.

For Emergency Rental Assistance provided under the American Rescue Plan Act (ERA2):

  • Past and future rent and utility payments may not exceed 18 months.
  • Assistance for future rent payments is limited to three months based on any application.
  • Applicants who received the maximum 15 months under ERA1 may be eligible for an additional three months under ERA2.

Program Details

The Emergency Rental Assistance program and U.S. Department of the Treasury requires Montana to prioritize assistance for households with incomes less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI), or households with one or more individuals that have not been employed for the 90-day period preceding the date of application.

To ensure the program is assisting with households with incomes at or below 50% of Area Median Income, Montana Housing reviews the annual income of applicants approved for assistance regularly to determine the percentage of households assisted who are between 0-30% of AMI, 30-50% AMI and 50-80% AMI.

Montana Housing has assessed the annual income of applicants assisted from April 5 to December 31, 2021. Through December, 2021, a total of 11% of households awarded funds had incomes above 50% of AMI and less than 80%. If after any regular review of the annual incomes of households served, more than 50% of the households assisted are between 50-80% AMI, Montana Housing will adjust program outreach, marketing, and administration to ensure the prioritization requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of the Treasury are achieved.

Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program publications are being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award numbers ERA0425 and ERAE0032 awarded to State of Montana by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Frequently Asked Questions