Frustration mounting among landlords who say Wake County rental assistance program is taking too long

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There’s frustration among a group of landlords who say it’s taking too long for them to get answers from a Wake County program designed to help their tenants and those delays are putting people at risk for evictions. 

The property owners are concerned with the lag in response resulting from the House Wake Program.

Both the City of Raleigh and Wake County have provided House Wake with $90 million in funding to prevent evictions. Thousands of households are waiting for that money to pay rent.

“As landlords, we are frustrated with the transparency of the process,” said a spokesperson for Wake PMG.

She said House Wake has “already collected the documents and they’re sitting on a desk.”

The spokesperson said: “They’ve got everything, but to say we cannot give you a commitment, that’s a little frustrating to landlords and tenants alike.”

The House Wake Program is administered by the Telamon Corporation whose caseworkers have thousands of applications on their desks.

Telamon said since the program began in April, it’s processed over 4,000 completed applications and provided $11.5 million in assistance.

In the case of Wake PMG, the spokesperson said their tenants’ applications have apparently been bogged down since Aug. 1.

“All the applications, every one of them, is not finally approved and they have all the paperwork,” they said. “We submitted five applications.”

“These are good tenants,” they said.

The spokesperson said the process took so long, one of the five tenants dropped out of the program and has already been evicted.

Their group represents private landlords who rent homes and whose bills are also piling up.

“The properties are privately owned, and they have loans,” they said. “Also, over the last 12 months, the costs of materials, maintenance, and labor costs have increased drastically.”

They said landlords represented by her firm are owed anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 in back rent. They said the affected landlords have delayed evictions at least four times, but they need to know the money is coming.

“We need a definitive answer whether assistance is available or not,” they said.

They said If her landlords can be guaranteed assistance is coming, they will delay the eviction process.

“If we get a confirmation, a commitment like a promissory note from the housing program, yes, absolutely I can assure you we will continue to work with the tenants as long as we have that kind of commitment,” the spokesperson said.

One tenant who applied for the funding spoke to CBS 17 about the situation. She asked not to be identified.

“When a landlord opted in, they knew it was a lengthy process. There are several thousand people who need help. House Wake is doing the best it can,” they said.

Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia wanted to know what’s holding up those applications and also asked House Wake what the average approval time is right now.

House Wake said the average time between approval and payment is 30-45 days, depending on when the documentation is submitted.

Telamon said there have been some delays caused by what it said have been staff turnover in its Eviction Prevention Specialist positions. The company said tenants can now check their application status by logging into the online portal instead of calling the office for updates.

As for the issue with the landlord’s group, Wake County spokeswoman Leah Holdren said they have been in touch with Telamon’s leadership.

“We trust that they will look into the concern and ensure that their staff responds accordingly,” Holdren said.

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