New Reports on Landlord Incentives, the Digital Divide, and Emergency Rent Assistance Programs

Date Published: 
February 10th, 2021
  • A new report from HUD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) provides a review of landlord incentives used by MTW agencies to recruit and retain landlords. HUD sent an online survey to all 39 original MTW agencies, which 34 agencies completed. According to the survey, 28 or 82% of responding agencies use at least one form of landlord incentive, the most common being nonmonetary incentives such as a landlord-specific online portal, staff dedicated to landlord engagement, and activities that streamline the inspections process. Monetary incentives were also popular, particularly landlord signing bonuses and damage deposit assistance. Most respondents believed that their incentives effectively helped recruit and retain area landlords. 
  • Stewards for Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) has released a guide for multifamily housing operators on bridging the digital divide. The guide reviews options for improving digital access among residents, both in the short- and long-term, and provides case studies of how some multifamily programs have addressed this challenge. 
  • The National Low-Income Housing Coalition, NYU Furman Center, and Housing Initiative at Penn have released a joint research brief on existing pandemic relief assistance programs to determine some best practices for running a successful program. In late 2020, the authors surveyed administrators of 220 COVID-19 rental assistance programs, of which 80% responded. These programs, which were funded by Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) or CDBG-CV, both of which were provided by the CARES Act. Most programs were administered by non-profit organizations or a local housing department, which only a small proportion (4%) being administered by PHAs. Over a third of programs required that applicants not be receiving any other housing subsidies and only half did specific income targeting. Respondents described many challenges in getting their programs up and running, including limited staff capacity, incomplete applications, tight funding timelines, and landlord refusal to participate. 
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