This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number ERA-2101123007 awarded to Madison County Commission by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Landlord Process

NEW! Landlord Pre-Application in the Owner Portal! This new feature, which can be located in the navigation menu in the Owner Portal, will allow the landlord to create a pre-application on behalf of their tenants. The Tenant will need to register at the Applicant Portal and complete the application before assistance can be approved. Information you will need:

  • Unit Address, # of bedrooms
  • Head of Household name and date of birth.
  • Number of Household members
  • Contact phone and email address.

1. Landlords should upload their completed W9 using the secure link below

What can I do now?

Make sure your tenants know the legal name of your company and have a copy of their lease or other documentation that displays the following:

  1. Unit address
  2. Amount of monthly rent
  3. Amount in arrears since April 1, 2020
  4. Amount of arrears requested to be paid under MCERAP.

2. For each individual application, the tenant (or “Applicant”) must apply first and be determined eligible based on program regulations. Once the application is complete and eligibility is determined, the Applicant and Landlord will be notified.

3. Once a Landlord has created an Owner Record and an Applicant has applied and been found eligible, then the Landlord will be able to complete their portion of the application for that Applicant.

  1. Amounts requested for back rent and future rent payments must be agreed to by the Applicant and the Landlord. Disputes will be referred to Madison County and must be resolved prior to final approval.
  2. Landlords will also need to upload their W9 and Direct Deposit Forms to the portal. 

4. Payments will be made by Madison County on a weekly basis.

5. Landlords can view their payment history through the Portal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Madison County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (MCERAP) was created to help renters dealing with financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For eligible households, the program offers rental and utility assistance to help Madison County renters avoid evictions and loss of utility services. Utilities include electric, water, gas, and sewer. Emergency Rental Assistance Programs were established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. 

  • To be eligible, a household must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling in Madison County and meet the criteria below:
  • One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • The household has a household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income-(see chart below)

Eligible housing types include:

  • Households occupying a federally subsidized residential or mixed-used property, as long as MCERAP funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance.
  • Households receiving a monthly federal subsidy where the tenant portion of the rent has been adjusted according to changes in income. The household may receive MCERAP assistance for the tenant-owed (non-subsidized) portion of rent.
  • People exiting homelessness, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.
  • People leasing up in new location, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.
  • Households with an obligation to pay mobile home lot rent and/or mobile home rent.
  • People renting in recovery residence/sober homes as well as renting temporary housing if they relapse and cannot stay in residence, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate an obligation to pay rent.
  • Tenants residing in motels for more than 30 days.
  • Long-term care facilities (rent portion only).

Renters or Applicant(s) must first apply and be determined income eligible and program eligible. Once the application is complete and eligibility is determined, the Applicant and Owner will be notified.

The first step is to create an Owner Record account. Landlords who have not yet created an Owner Record may do so at any time. To create an Owner Record, please contact the Call Center at 844-804-9454. You will need to provide:

  1. The last 4 digits of your tax ID#
  2. Your name as it appears on your W-9
  3. Your address
  4. Your email address
  • Current lease signed by the applicant and landlord or sublessor that identifies the unit where the applicant resides and establishes the rental payment amount.
  • If a lease is not available, other documentation demonstrating obligation to pay rent must be provided:
    • Evidence of amount of rental payment may include bank statements, check stubs, or other documentation that reasonably establishes a pattern of paying rent.
    • Attestation by the landlord who can be identified as the verified owner or management agent of the unit.
    • If an applicant can provide satisfactory evidence of residence but is unable to present adequate documentation of amount of rent, applicant can provide written attestation to support the payment of assistance up to a monthly maximum of 100% of the county Fair Market Rent.
      • Attestation will be provided in the online application attesting that the information is true and accurate with an eSignature at the end of the application process.
      • must include that household has not received and does not anticipate public or private subsidy and is not a current recipient of Reach-up, Reach First, Reach Ahead, Reach Post-Secondary Education Program, and Child-Only households with at least one parent in receipt of SSI.
  • Back rent accrued AFTER April 1, 2020 is eligible provided it was not already paid by another rental assistance program.
  • For households in subsidized housing, all back rent after April 1, 2020 for tenant-owed portion of the rent may be paid even if rent has not been adjusted for changes in income if the subsidizing owner or agency cannot grant complete retroactive reduction in rent.
  • MCERAP may be used for prospective rent at a new or existing unit; there is no requirement regarding the length of tenure in the current unit.
  • For new units, as for existing units, applicants will be required to provide a copy of a lease or other documentation that they have a rent obligation.

No, not under this program. However, homeowners may be eligible for the Alabama Mortgage Assistance Program. This program is coming soon and you can learn more by clicking here.

Payments to Tenants will only be made if the landlord refuses to cooperate by submitting a required landlord application, either online or in paper format. 

  • MCERAP vendor will make 3 attempts to contact the landlord by phone, text or email over 10 days OR
  • Receive confirmation in writing that the landlord does not want to participate.

The following data elements will be collected with each landlord application.

  • Full Name
  • Address, City, State, Zip
  • Tax id number
  • Completed W-9
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Attestation (with eSignature at end of application) that:
    • Landlord will not increase the rent for the number of months receiving benefits.
    • Landlord agrees to notify MCERAP and return grant funds if tenant moves from the unit before the end of the benefit period.

The program does not allow landlords to raise the contract rent while they are receiving rent money under this program, but there are a few exceptions:

  • The intent of the program restriction was to not have excessive rent increases due to the program payment of rent.
  • For all properties, if a landlord issued the tenant a notice of a rent increase prior to June 1, 2021, the increase can be implemented as noticed.
  • If the landlord encounters a large unexpected operating expense, the landlord may be able to apply and receive approval for a rent increase through the program. *
  • In many cases the increase in contract rent is paid by an increase in federal subsidy, not the household. Some properties are required to follow federal regulations regarding changes to a tenant’s rent; this program does not supersede that federal requirement.


For USDA Rural Development Properties, HUD Section 8 (TRACS) Properties, and HUD Section 8 Project Based Housing Choice Voucher Properties, changes in tenant rent are based on federal requirements and are not impacted by this program.


  • HUD – Section 8 – Tenant Based Housing Choice Vouchers – if a landlord issued the tenant a notice of a rent increase prior to June 1, 2021, the increase can be implemented as noticed. Landlord will need to supply copy of rent increase notice.


  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Properties – For LIHTC properties where there is no overlaying federal assistance (i.e., USDA or HUD), the program restriction does apply.


  • Mobile Home Parks – For mobile home park lot rents, the program restriction does apply.


*Process for this unexpected expense.  If a landlord encounters an unexpected non-capital operating expense increase such as a property tax increase, a utility increase, or insurance increase, the landlord may receive approval from MCERAP to increase the rent while receiving the grant.  Upon approval from the program, the Landlord would be required to send the Tenant a standard rent increase notice along with the program approval for the increase.

The Landlord, as a part of the request for rent increase approval, would need to submit proof of need of the increase.  For a property tax increase this would include submitting both the prior year and current (new) year tax bills.  The same type of documentation would be required for requests related to increased utility costs, insurance, or any other type of unexpected non-capital operating expense.  The Landlord will need to provide an attestation to MCERAP that without the rent increase approval, the Landlord will not be able to meet its operating expenses.

All rent increases must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation.