The City of Providence has created this guide to serve as a centralized resource for housing-related information and resources related to COVID-19. The guide will be updated with new resources as they become available. To suggest an addition, email with the subject line, “Housing Resource Guide.”
Resources for Residential Renters
National Information on CARES Act Eviction Moratorium:
The CARES Act prohibits evictions from rental properties that receive federal assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, and the Treasury, as well as from single or multi-family homes with federally backed mortgage loans until July 25th, 2020, at the earliest. You can find more information about the details of this moratorium and whether or not your home is covered in the resources listed below:
- National Low Income Housing Coalition FAQ
- National Housing Law Project Summary of CARES Eviction Moratorium
- This FAQ from the US House Committee on Financial Services.
- Check whether your home is covered by the CARES Act on this searchable database
- This is NOT a comprehensive list. Just because your apartment is not listed, does not mean it is not covered.
- This list does NOT cover buildings with 4 or less units.
The State has made $1.5 million available in rental assistance for low-income Rhode Islanders. More funds may be added in the future. Click here to see if you are eligible and apply.
Financial assistance for housing-related costs is available through the Home Safe Program, administered by Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley and The Housing Network of RI. The HomeSafe program is designed to offer one-time financial assistance for households facing a short term emergency with the goal of ensuring households remain housed. Complete information and a link to the application can be found here.
Rhode Island Eviction Information
Though state courts will begin opening for non-essential business on May 18th, a moratorium on filing or hearing eviction cases will remain in effect until June 1st. Courts will continue to be open for relief from illegal evictions until then, and there are legal resources available to tenants whose landlords attempt self-help evictions. You can find more information about the status of evictions in RI and how to get help in the resources below:
- Fact Sheet from HomesRI / Hoja Informativa Sobre Los Desalojos para Inquilinos
- If you are a client of RIHousing, check the information available here, under “Renters”
- Legal resources:
- Search for organizations that can provide legal and other types of assistance here.
- If a constable attempts to serve you or anyone you know with an eviction notice, please fill out this complaint form and email it to LeeAnn Desilets at DBR () asap. If your landlord tries to move forward with the eviction, immediately call the Attorney General: (401) 274-4400.
- SELF-HELP EVICTIONS ARE ILLEGAL (evictions without a court order)
- Public housing residents with questions can contact Rhode Island Legal Services at (401) 274-2652 x123.
- The RI Center for Justice is offering free emergency legal support for renters who are facing an urgent eviction-related emergency during the coronavirus outbreak. You can reach them by calling 401-491-1101 and following the prompts on their voicemail.
- If your rental arrangement is informal ( if there is no lease, no rent paid, etc), or fits the legal definition of squatting, you still have rights. In many instances, removing a squatter still requires an eviction notice which would be adjudicated by the district court. The court is closed until May 17, 2020 and thus no evictions can move forward until that time.
The Public Utilities Commission has directed every electric, gas, water, and wastewater utility regulated by the state agency, including, and Providence Water to discontinue service terminations and other collection activities until May 8, 2020. You can find more information about this and other utility questions at the resources below:
- Information on the public utilities termination moratorium here.
- Cox will not terminate services for the next 60 days for any residential or small business customer who is unable to pay due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. They will also waive late fees and offer. Find more info on their website
- Verizon will waive late fees over the next 60 days that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus. In addition, Verizon will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. Find more info on their website.
- Homes RI has put together an English and Spanish FAQ on Utilities Assistance available here/ disponible aquí.
Resources for Single-Family Homeowners
Information on CARES Act Mortgage Relief and Foreclosure Moratorium
The CARES Act protects homeowners in two ways. It prohibits foreclosure on single-family homes with federally backed loans until May 17, 2020, at the earliest. It also requires mortgage servicers to provide up to six months of mortgage payment forbearance to borrowers who request it, if their loan is federally backed. You can find more information and resources about the mortgage relief and foreclosure moratorium below:
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mortgage Relief Options
- National Housing Law Project Fact Sheet
- This FAQ from the US House Committee on Financial Services
- This fact sheet from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development
- This fact sheet from the Federal Housing Finance Agency
- Fact Sheet from Homes RI/Hoja informativa para los dueños de casa.
Check who owns your mortgage loan:
- You can also use the Mortgage Electronic Registration System to look up who owns your mortgage.
- If you have a mortgage through RI Housing:
- Read their Homeowner FAQ
- Read about their adjusted operations and how to access their services during the pandemic.
- Información disponible en español aquí.
See Utilities Information under the Residental Renters section.
Private Mortgage Relief
More than 26 financial institutions in Rhode Island have pledged the following relief for all borrowers including:
- A 90-day grace period for mortgage payments with the opportunity to ask for additional relief if needed
- Lenders will not report late payments to credit agencies for those that take advantage of the 90 day grace period
- There will be a 60-day moratorium on initiating residential foreclosures/evictions
- A temporary suspension of all mortgage-related fees
For more information and to check if your mortgage lender is providing relief, please visit the Rhode Island Department Financial Institution COVID-19 Relief Pledge web page.
Resources for Commercial Renters
Loans Available from the Small Business Administration
Commercial rent and mortgage payments are both allowable uses of many of the funds available through the Small Business Administration’s programs for economic recovery in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Businesses should make sure to check out Providence’s Resources for employers, employees, and businesses page for information on how to apply.
Resources for commercial renters seeking rent or mortgage relief
- CCIM Institute’s Guidance for Commercial Real Estate Tenant/ Landlord Issues
- Commercial Real Estate Finance Council’s CMBS Borrowers Guide
If you are a front-line worker in need of free housing, check here for more information on the dorm rooms that the state has made available in partnership with Brown University
Resources for Landlords
WE ARE ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR VACANT RENTAL PROPERTIES.
Landlords with available units are encouraged to contact the Providence Housing Authority – which has veterans and other residents with housing vouchers seeking units, or the RI Coalition for the Homeless, which is working to connect people experiencing homelessness with rental housing using rental subsidies. Many of these individuals are over age 60 and at high risk for COVID-19. To let either of these organizations know about your units please contact Peter Asen at Providence Housing Authority (709-1102 or ) or Pete Major at the RI Coalition for the Homeless (401-721-5685 ext. 41 or )
Information for landlords on safe operations practices during the pandemic
Keeping your buildings safe and sanitary is more important than ever. You can find more information on how to do so in the resources listed below:
Information for landlords on eviction moratoriums and responsibilities to tenants
The CARES Act prohibits evictions from rental properties that receive federal assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, and the Treasury, as well as from single or multi-family homes with federally backed mortgage loans until July 25th, 2020, at the earliest. You can find more information about the details of this moratorium and your obligations to tenants under it at the resources listed below:
- National Apartment Association CARES Act FAQ
- Office of Multifamily Housing Programs Questions and Answers
- If you are a landlord connected to RI Housing, see here.
Information for landlords on available relief
If you are a landlord worried about making your own mortgage payments, there are relief options available to you. You can find information and resources on your relief options at the link below:
- If your building has 4 units or less, you may be eligible for mortgage forbearance under the CARES Act. See Resources for Single-Family Homeowners
- If your building is a multi-family unit, you may also be eligible for mortgage forbearance, with the condition that you suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus. You can find more information from the Federal Housing Finance Agency here.
- Landlords and rental property owners may qualify for relief available to all other businesses: