KPRC 2 Investigates Texas Rent Relief program: Why some renters have been approved for payment but haven’t received a dime

Landlord speaks out about frustrating process

Now to the latest on a KPRC 2 Investigation our team has been following for weeks. A program meant to help people pay rent and other bills, still has a lot of people waiting and it’s not just tenants who are frustrated with what’s going on. The state of Texas has more than one billion dollars to give out to people who need help paying their bills. But it’s not a fast process. We are learning more about why there are delays in the Texas Rent Relief program that has a lot of tenants and landlords asking questions.

Landlord helps tenants apply for help with Texas Rent Relief

Douglas Ripley owns this 19 unit apartment complex in northeast Houston. He’s trying to help a few of his tenants to get payments from the Texas Rent Relief program. But it hasn’t been easy.

“Each time you would call back, they would say that there is something missing,” said Douglas.

They’ve been waiting now for two months.

“We have not received a dime,” he said.

Douglas explains as a landlord, if tenants don’t pay their bills each month, he can’t pay his.

“We’ve got our mortgage and we pay water and gas. We have to pay those every single month, whether we get rent or not,” said Douglas.

We asked TRR about Douglas’ cases and a spokesperson tells us *all* applicants should expect to wait for at least 14 business days. They also said:

“The process could take longer depending on the review cycle, payment verification, or other required documentation. The payment pipeline undergoes a separate review than the application process.”

-TRR Spokesperson

“I feel like I’m getting the run-around,” said Douglas.

We know about the waiting. A few weeks ago we introduced you to Tanisha Burdine.

“This is 9-1-1 for me and my kids,” said Tanisha.

KPRC 2 Investigates Texas Rent Relief program: Single mother served with eviction papers while waiting for help

She was just days away from eviction after waiting for months for promised TRR funds. She has since gotten the help she needs.

Why are there delays in the Texas Rent Relief Program?

TRR tells us one of the biggest reasons for the delay is people making mistakes or missing paperwork on the application. That’s part of what happened with Tanisha and Douglas.

The TRR website has tools to help avoid this. Under the forms and resources page, users can see exactly what they need to have ready *before* applying. (Here is a tenant checklist and a landlord checklist for easy access.)

The application process will go faster if you have all of the right documents entered the first time. These documents spell out in detail what applicants need to have ready in order to be approved.

There is also a FAQ section with more than 100 common questions with answers. You can search your question and easily find answers. This can also save applicants time so they are not trying to call and ask these questions to someone from TRR.

At last check, about $54 million dollars in funds are approved but still in the process of being paid out - according to the state. Douglas says since our interview, TRR did mail a check for one of his tenants. The other tenant is waiting but Douglas still says he’s not optimistic.

“All that we’re asking for is that TRR do what they are supposed to do and help the tenant out,” said Douglas.

Texas Rent Relief program questions

Since our first story aired, our KPRC 2 Investigates team received dozens of emails and calls from other people dealing with TRR issues.

We are compiling information on applicants who reach out to us to ask Texas Rent Relief to look into each of the cases and figure out what the hold-up is.

To see if you qualify or to apply, check Texasrentrelief.com.


About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.