General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1) What is the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP)?

To assist Delawareans facing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, DSHA created the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP). The program provides emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The program is being relaunched in August 2020 with a new online application portal where property owners/managers/landlords apply and submit required documentation.

2) Who is eligible for DE HAP assistance?

There are requirements for both tenants and property owners. The tenant must:

  1. Be a Delaware resident;
  2. Provide documentation showing an impact on employment and/or income beginning March 10, 2020 or later that is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes such instances as a layoff, reduced work hours or needing to take unpaid leave due to childcare or other issues arising as a result of the health crisis;
  3. Have a maximum current household income (at time of application) at or below 80% of Area Median Income for the county of residence.

3) How do I apply for the program?

If you are a tenant, talk to your landlord and ask that they work with you to apply for assistance. Work with them to provide the necessary documentation and forms.

If you are a landlord, register and submit an application at using the online application portal. Required forms may be downloaded within the application portal or on DSHA's website. Spanish and Haitian Creole versions of tenant forms are available. Additional information is in the FAQs for Property Owners and also a how-to video is available on the DE HAP page of DSHA's website.

All applications must be submitted using the online application portal.

4) What documentation is required?

Required forms and a document checklist are available here.

The landlord will need to provide:

  1. Copy of current lease/rental agreement
  2. W-9 form (completed and signed – by landlord)
  3. Direct deposit information
  4. Information on the property and rent owed

The tenant will need to provide:

  1. Photo ID for each adult member of the household
  2. Tenant Application Form (to be filled out and signed electronically, or printed, signed, scanned and uploaded)
  3. Documentation of COVID-related impact on employment or income, at least one of the following
    • Notice of layoff or furlough from the employer
    • Confirmation of receipt of Unemployment Benefits (must include tenant’s name/identifying information)
    • Pre- and post-COVID pay stubs showing reduced income
    • Employer Verification Form (must be signed by the employer), if no other employment documentation available; or
    • Self-Employment Verification Form (if applicable, if tenant is self-employed)

While scanned documents are preferred, photos that are high-quality, clear and readable are acceptable.

5) What can be used to document COVID-19 impact?

The following are all acceptable:

  • Employer Verification Form – must be signed by employer, not the tenant. Forms signed by the tenant are not acceptable
  • Notice of layoff, furlough or reduced hours from the employer
  • Documentation of receipt of unemployment benefits (Statement of Monetary Determination, evidence of deposits both acceptable; must include identifying information/tenant’s name) – evidence that a claim was submitted is not sufficient
  • Pre- and post-COVID pay stubs showing reduced income
  • If self-employed, Self-Employment Verification Form

As there are many different circumstances, other documentation may be acceptable. Please reach out to dehap@destatehousing.com if you have a question about acceptable documentation.

6) Are unemployment insurance payments and the stimulus payment I received included in my income calculation for eligibility purposes?

Federal stimulus checks should not be included in income. Unemployment benefits, including any additional federal unemployment benefits, should be included in income. The additional $600 per week of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits some individuals were receiving through July 2020 should not be included in annualized income.

7) Am I guaranteed assistance once I apply?

Applicants who receive a notice of incomplete application with instructions on missing information must successfully provide all necessary information to move their application forward. Applicants who fail to provide all required information or who are found to be ineligible based on the programs' requirements will not receive assistance. Funding will not be reserved for incomplete applications.

8) Based on the moratorium on evictions, can I just postpone or not pay rent?

Governor Carney's sixth modification to the declaration of a State of Emergency for Delaware, enacted on March 24, 2020, placed a moratorium on eviction actions, imposition of late fees and interest for residential rental units. However, this did not relieve renters of their obligation to pay rent. Effective July 1, 2020, Governor Carney's twenty-third modification to the declaration of a State of Emergency for Delaware again allowed landlords to file for eviction; however, processing of these filings continues to be stayed in order to allow the Courts to determine if cases may benefit from an Alternative Dispute Resolution or mediation process. In this process, a mediator will work with you and your landlord to determine if you may be able to resolve the filing and avoid eviction with a repayment agreement or other resolution.

Renters should do everything they can to pay their rent on time so that they are not past due. Renters should communicate their inability to pay any or all of their rent to their landlord as soon as they know that to be the case. It is in your best interest to let your landlord know your situation as soon as possible and that you are seeking assistance.

9) My landlord says they don't want to or won't submit the application and is threatening to evict me anyway or has filed for eviction. What can I do?

Property owners can receive up to $5,000 in rent, which should be a strong incentive to participate and apply. We understand some landlords may be threatening or filing for eviction and this is very stressful, but please know the law requires a landlord to obtain an order from the Justice of the Peace Court before evicting a tenant. You cannot be evicted from the unit based just on a letter or notice from your landlord. This requires filing for eviction and going through the Court process. Under Governor Carney's 23rd Modification to the State of Emergency, processing of new cases filed since July 1, 2020 will not proceed until the Justice of the Peace Court determines whether the parties would benefit from court-supervised mediation or alternative dispute resolution. If your landlord does file for eviction for nonpayment of rent, it is likely you will have the opportunity to participate in dispute resolution or mediation before a Court hearing.

If you receive any papers or mailings from the Courts, be sure to respond within the timeframe given. Do not ignore any papers from the Courts. Even if the case proceeds, you will not automatically be evicted. Under the State of Emergency, individuals are not to be removed from residential properties unless the Court determines that enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice.

10) I received DEHAP assistance under the previous version of the program that accepted applications from March 26 – April 24, 2020. Can I receive assistance again?

Previous applicants may receive DEHAP assistance again; however, as eligibility requirements and program documentation have changed, you will need to work with your landlord to apply again under the new program.

11) What programs can assist with utility payments or arrears, or rent arrears from before March 1, 2020?

Several nonprofit agencies have other assistance programs for homelessness prevention or utility assistance. A list of these is on the Resources for Renters page of our website. We suggest contacting these agencies for information on assistance for which you may be eligible.

12) I own a manufactured home on leased land. Is lot rent eligible for DEHAP assistance?

If you meet the other tenant eligibility requirements outlined above, then you may be eligible to receive DEHAP assistance for your lot rent. Your landlord or property owner will need to apply on your behalf. See above for additional information.

13) I rent from a family member. Is this situation eligible for DEHAP assistance?

If you have a signed lease with that family member covering the time period for which assistance is being requested, yes. In other circumstances, we suggest contacting one of the other resources on the DE HAP website to see if they may be able to assist. If your family member is a homeowner and struggling to pay their mortgage, please visit www.destatehousing.com/covid19/homeowners for information on resources available for them.

14) Can DEHAP assist with security deposits for a new unit?

No, DEHAP cannot assist with security deposits. Please see the "Other Resources for Rental and Utility Assistance" document also on the DEHAP website.

15) What about help for homeowners?

DSHA is providing emergency housing assistance to homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through our Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (DEMAP). The program assists homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure because of a pandemic-related job loss, reduced work hours or unpaid leave. Eligible homeowners can apply for up to $5,000 per household, paid directly to the mortgage servicer.

For more information and to apply for DEMAP, please visit www.destatehousing.com/covid19.