Mississippi Rental Assistance Grant Program (MRAP)
On October 9, 2020, the Mississippi Rental Assistance Grant Program became law. This program provides grants to property owners to help them recover rental income lost between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020, due to COVID-19.
These FAQs are intended to be a quick-access reference point for common expected questions, not a substitute for the Rental Assistance Grant Program Rules and Regulations or federal or state law. Capitalized terms used herein have the same meaning assigned to those terms in Mississippi House Bill 1810 and the Mississippi Rental Assistance Grant Program Rules and Regulations.
What is the Rental Assistance Grant Program?
On October 9, 2020, House Bill 1810 established the Rental Assistance Grant Program. The Program will be used to award grants to Mississippi Rental Businesses (i.e., owners/landlords) to assist them with Lost Rental Income resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency and the attendant eviction moratoria imposed by the federal and state governments.
Is there any cost to me associated with applying for the grant?
Who can I contact for questions regarding the Application and subsequent process?
For technical support, please email mraphelp@BeTheGeek.com. For information about eligibility and Program requirements, Applicants can refer to the information available at https://www.mississippi.org/mrap/ or Applicants can call (601) 965-8080 with additional questions.
Where did the funding originate?
Mississippi received $1.25 billion in CARES Act funds from the federal government. Per Senate Bill 1810, the Mississippi Legislature has allocated $20 million of those funds to be distributed to Mississippi’s rental businesses through the Rental Assistance Grant Program.
How many businesses will receive the funds?
This is undeterminable as each applying business will be eligible for a varying amount. The Mississippi Development Authority will continue to award grants until the funds are exhausted or until December 14, 2020.
When is the deadline to apply?
November 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m CST.
Do I owe taxes on this grant?
The grants are not subject to Mississippi taxes; however, eligible expenses for which grants are received may not be itemized as tax deductions. Please contact a tax professional regarding federal tax treatment of the grant.
What information do I need to apply?
Each applicant should be prepared to provide the following:
- Business name as legally formed (if applicable)
- DBA or tradename (if applicable)
- Type of business entity (that is, a for-profit corporation, a not-for-profit corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship)
- Type of rental business engaged in by the Applicant (residential or commercial)
- Taxpayer Identification Number (EIN or SSN, as applicable, consistent with the taxpayer identification number used to file taxes)
- Business address
- Business phone number
- Email address
- Name of primary contact
- A Mississippi tax return filed for the Eligible Rental Business for 2018 and/or 2019. Those entities that do not file tax returns in the name of the Eligible Business (e.g. single member LLCs, sole proprietorships and certain partnerships) will submit the Schedule C or Schedule E to the appropriate individual tax return. If the Eligible Rental Business formed on or after January 1, 2020, a return will not be required. Also, MDA, in its discretion, may approve Applicants who did not submit a tax return if the Mississippi Department of Revenue has confirmed that the Applicant filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and MDA determines it has enough information to approve the Application. The failure to include the tax identification number consistent with the appropriate tax filing may result in delay or denial of the Application
- The address of the dwelling unit, commercial building, or the building of which it is a part of the State of Mississippi which is the subject of the Rental Agreement for which the Application is being made
- The name of the Tenant who entered into the Rental Agreement for which the Application is being made
- The dates for the term of the Rental Agreement
- The amount due from the Tenant on a monthly basis under the Rental Agreement
- Designation and/or description of the nature of Business Disruption (that is, the basis for the Tenant’s failure to pay the rent under the Rental Agreement)
- The total amount of Lost Rental Income
What tax identification number do I use to apply?
List the tax identification number used to file taxes for the Eligible Rental Business. If the Eligible Rental Business is a sole proprietorship or a pass-through entity, that number may be an individual social security number. The failure to include the tax identification number consistent with the appropriate tax filing may result in delay or denial of the Application.
What documentation do I need to apply?
Documents needed include:
- A copy of the Rental Agreement between the Eligible Rental Business and the Tenant for which the Application is being made
- Copies of 2018 and/or 2019 tax returns (unless exempt or formed on or after January 1, 2020)
- If the Applicant has rent rolls for the period of March 1, 2020, through December 30, 2020, which pertain to the Rental Agreement for which Application is being made, such should be submitted with the Application
- Any documentation supporting rent owed where specific amounts are not evident in the Rental Agreement
- Certification that, under penalty of perjury, all documents are true and correct and are not false, fraudulent, or materially misleading, along with other certifications. This certification will be submitted electronically as part of the application
If I have amended or extended my lease, do I need to include the original lease and the amendment or extension, as applicable?
Yes. The original lease, and any relevant amendments or extensions thereto, will need to be provided to verify Rent and the Lost Rental Income.
What if I do not have all necessary documentation?
In order to be considered for the grant, you must submit all required documents; however, upon review, MDA may determine that an Application can be approved if it is missing required documentation if that element of eligibility may be confirmed from a third-party reliable source, such as another state or federal agency.
Will I be able to submit additional documentation or correct my documentation after I submit my Application?
No. Once an Application has been submitted, no additions or corrections may be submitted. If the information necessary to complete review is not submitted with the initial Application submission, the Application may be rejected. If an Application is rejected for failure to submit the necessary information, an Applicant may reapply but must submit a new Application.
Are there eligibility requirements?
Yes, as follows:
- On or before March 1, 2020, the Eligible Rental Business is the owner, lessor, or sublessor of a dwelling unit, commercial building, or a building of which it is a part that is located within the State of Mississippi;
- Filed Mississippi taxes for tax year 2018 or 2019, or, for an Eligible Rental Business formed on or after January 1, 2020, intends to file Mississippi taxes for tax year 2020, unless exempt under Section 27-7-29, Section 27-13-63 or other applicable provision of law
- Has a Rental Agreement with a Tenant for a minimum term of thirty (30) days for the dwelling unit, commercial building, or a building of which it is a part which is located within the State of Mississippi
- Has suffered a Business Disruption related to the Rental Agreement
- Has incurred Lost Rental Income from March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020, due to the Business Disruption related to the Rental Agreement
- Has not instituted Eviction proceedings or evicted the Tenant who has entered into the Rental Agreement, or has dismissed and halted any Eviction actions prior to the date of the Application
- Is not under a bankruptcy order and does not have a pending bankruptcy filing at the time the Application is submitted. An Applicant that files for bankruptcy while the Application is pending shall notify MDA and withdraw its Application under the Program.
- Rental Agreements between affiliated entities do not qualify for the Program. For purposes of this rule, an affiliated entity shall mean any Eligible Commercial Business or Eligible Rental Business which directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by or is under joint control with the Tenant.
What if my tenant made some rental payments, but not the full amount owed under the Rental Agreement?
Lost Rental Income means all payments that were due under an eligible Rental Agreement; therefore, any amounts owed but not paid during the term of March 1, 2020, through December 30, 2020, are eligible.
What costs are considered Rent for the purposes of Lost Rental Income?
Rent shall be considered the amounts due under the eligible Rental Agreement; therefore, the specific terms of the eligible Rental Agreement will determine what specific costs may be considered Lost Rental Income.
Do short-term Rental Agreements qualify?
To be eligible, a Rental Agreement must be for a term of at least 30 days.
Do month-to-month Rental Agreements qualify?
A month-to-month Rental Agreement will qualify only when it has been preceded by an otherwise qualifying Rental Agreement that allows for a month-to-month term after termination. The Applicant must submit documentation that evidences that all parties agreed to a month-to-month term.
Is there an exception to the terms requirements for vacation rentals?
What months under a Rental Agreement are eligible for this Program?
March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020.
Do the months in which an Eligible Rental Business claims Lost Rental Income need to be consecutive?
No. An Applicant may apply for any months within the March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 timeframe.
If I have evicted and/or undertaken eviction proceedings/actions against a Tenant pursuant to the Rental Agreement for which an application could otherwise be made under this Program, am I disqualified?
If you have evicted a tenant, then yes, you are disqualified. If you have instituted eviction proceedings but have terminated those proceedings prior to submitting an application, then you may still apply.
Are religious-based businesses eligible to apply?
Yes, if your business meets all eligibility requirements.
Are sole proprietors eligible to apply?
Yes, if your business meets all eligibility requirements.
Are non-profits eligible to apply?
Yes, if your business meets all eligibility requirements.
Are business that operate in more than one state eligible to apply?
Yes, if the business meets all other eligibility requirements.
Are businesses that are located in Mississippi but own and lease property out of state eligible to apply?
Only Rental Agreements related to the use and occupancy of dwelling units, commercial buildings, and/or buildings located in Mississippi are eligible.
Are businesses that operate in Mississippi but have out-of-state owners eligible to apply?
Yes, if the business meets all other eligibility requirements. Only Rental Agreements related to the use and occupancy of dwelling units, commercial buildings, and/or buildings located in Mississippi are eligible.
Can I apply more than once for the same dwelling unit, commercial building, and/or building?
Yes, if the Eligible Commercial Business and Eligible Rental Business has more than one Tenant in an eligible building and maintains an eligible Rental Agreement with each Tenant.
If I own more than one Eligible Commercial Business or Eligible Rental Business, can I apply for each?
Yes, if each business for which you are applying has entered in to an eligible Rental Agreement and otherwise meets all eligibility requirements.
If I lease to an affiliate company am I still eligible?
No. Rental Agreements between affiliated entities do not qualify. An affiliate is an entity which directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by or is under joint control with the Tenant.
How do I determine if I am an Eligible Commercial Business?
An Eligible Commercial Business means an Eligible Rental Business which owns, leases or subleases property that is zoned or used solely for business purposes, including, but not limited to, shopping centers, strip malls, hotels, retail stores, warehouses, restaurants, industrial spaces, farms, and office buildings.
Is a written lease required?
Yes. The Regulations require that an eligible Rental Agreement be duly executed and in writing.
If I have received other COVID-19 related relief, am I eligible to apply?
A business may still apply for the Rental Assistance Grant Program if it received money from other COVID-19-related relief programs; however, an Eligible Commercial Business or Eligible rental Business may not apply for or receive funding from any other source (federal, state, or private) for the Lost Rental Income identified in its Rental Assistance Grant Program application.
Does the business need to prove that it suffered Business Disruption?
Yes. A Business Disruption includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- A Tenant who has lost his/her job or who has a reduction in the number of hours which he/she can work or who has had a reduction in income due to COVID-19 and is unable to pay rent under the terms of the Rental Agreement;
- A Tenant who has become infected by COVID-19 and is unable to pay rent under the terms of a Rental Agreement
- A Tenant who is unable to or fails to pay rent and cannot be evicted from the property which is subject of a Rental Agreement due to a federal or state eviction moratoria issue due to COVID-19 or
- A Tenant who has voluntarily abandoned the property which is subject of a Rental Agreement and which cannot be rented out to a new Tenant due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
My Business Disruption is different from one of the four listed reasons. Am I still eligible?
It is possible that you may still be eligible. If you have suffered an interruption in your regular rental business operations as a result of the COVID-10 public health emergency which has resulted in Lost Rental Income, in your application you may submit such other reason. Such explanation must be stated with specificity.
What is the application period and deadline?
The deadline for submission of an application is November 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m CST.
How can I apply?
Go to https://www.mississippi.org/mrap/ to create a username and password and complete an application.
Can I save my progress and return to the application?
Can I submit my application via regular mail or email?
No. At this time, the Program is only accepting applications through the Rental Assistance Grant Program website: https://www.mississippi.org/mrap/, unless the Applicant is disabled.
Are accommodations available for disabled Applicants?
Yes, upon request, reasonable accommodations will be made available to permit disabled individuals to fully participate in the process.
Will I be required to make any electronic certifications regarding the use of the Rental Assistance Program funds?
Yes, all Applicants must make two separate certifications:
I. The Applicant must certify, under penalty of perjury, the following required declarations:
- The Eligible Rental Business understands and agrees to all provisions of the Program, including, but not limited to, the Rental Assistance Act and the Rules.
- The Eligible Rental Business owns or leases the dwelling unit, commercial building, or the building of which it is a part in the State of Mississippi and which is the subject of the Rental Agreement for which Application is being made.
- The Eligible Rental Business has a Rental Agreement with the Tenant for which Application is being made.
- The Eligible Rental Business has not engaged in any Eviction actions against the Tenant or has dismissed or halted any such proceedings commenced prior to the submission of the Application.
- The failure of the Tenant to pay Rent or any portion thereof from March 1, 2020, until December 30, 2020, was due to a Business Disruption and not due to any other reason.
- The Eligible Rental Business understands and agrees that by accepting a Program grant it shall consider any rental payments due under the Rental Agreement for which it sought a grant as having been paid in full through December 30, 2020 and that it will not take any Eviction actions of any kind against the Tenant who is the party to the Rental Agreement for nonpayment of rent that accrued between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020.
- The Eligible Rental Business has not received and has not applied to receive funding for the Lost Rental Income from any other source, be it from a federal, state, or private source.
- The Eligible Rental Business has not submitted any false, fraudulent, or materially misleading information in the Application or in support of the Application, any of which will result in immediate disqualification and civil and criminal penalties under state and federal law.
- The Eligible Rental Business is not under a bankruptcy order and does not have a pending bankruptcy filing as of the date of this Application., and the Eligible Rental Business agrees it shall notify MDA and withdraw its Application if it files for bankruptcy while the Application is pending;
- The Eligible Rental Business’s Rental Agreement is not between affiliated entities.
- The Eligible Rental Business must attest that all the documents submitted in support of the Application are true and correct and are not false, fraudulent, or materially misleading.
- The Eligible Rental Business understands and agrees that it may be subject to review, monitoring, and audit by any federal or state agency with the authority to make such review, including, but not limited to, MDA, the Mississippi State Auditor, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
- The Eligible Rental Business understands and agrees that if it is found to be fully or partially noncompliant with the laws, rules, regulations, and grant requirements of the Program, it will be required to return all or a portion of the grant monies received by it and may result in additional civil and criminal penalties imposed against it.
II. Further, the Applicant will be asked to acknowledge the following prior to submission:
By entering your name above, you are signing this grant application electronically and declaring under penalty of perjury that it is your signature; that you are authorized to electronically sign the grant application for any entity making the application; and that all information contained in your application and any document provided in support of your application is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge. You furthermore agree your electronic signature is the legal equivalent of your physical signature and serves the same function as signing and dating a document which certifies under oath that all information contained in any document is true and correct.
Any person knowingly submitting information in a document electronically filed with the Mississippi Development Authority that is false or affixing an electronic signature to any document electronically filed with MDA on behalf of another person or entity without the authority to do so shall be guilty of criminal offenses under federal and state law and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment and/or fines under the laws and regulations of the United States of America and the State of Mississippi. By entering your name above, you are acknowledging your understanding of the foregoing sentence. You are also confirming that you understand that the use of grants shall be subject to audit by MDA, the Mississippi State Auditor, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and that a business found to be fully or partially noncompliant with grant requirements shall return to the State of Mississippi all or a portion of the grant monies received.
Calculating and Receiving Funds
How will I receive my funds (i.e. check or direct deposit)?
Grant funds will be disbursed by check and sent via mail to the physical address provided in the application.
Will these funds be issued to me as a loan or a grant?
Do I have to repay these funds?
No, unless it is determined the information contained within the application was false, fraudulent, or materially misleading.
How much can I apply for?
The maximum amount of total grant monies available to an Eligible Rental Business is $30,000. Of the $20 million available under this grant Program, a maximum of $5 million is available to Eligible Commercial Businesses.
Is there a minimum grant amount?
Is there a maximum grant amount?
$30,000 total per Eligible Rental Business regardless of the number of eligible Rental Agreements maintained by the Eligible Rental Business.
How do you determine how much I receive?
The amount requested will be calculated pursuant to House Bill 1810, the Program Regulations and federal and state law.
If I accept a grant, may I collect outstanding rent from a tenant pursuant to a Rental Agreement?
No. An Eligible Rental Business that accepts a grant is required to consider any rental payments due under a rental agreement as being paid in full through December 30, 2020.
Do I need to document or report how I use the funds I receive?
Yes. By accepting the grant funds you agree to be subject to an audit.
May I apply for this grant if I received a grant from MDA for the Back to Business Program?
Possibly. As long as the Back to Business Program grant was not for the Lost Rental Income claimed in your Rental Assistance Grant application, you may receive both if all eligibility requirements are met.
Can I monitor the status of my application?
Yes. You may enter your login information on the application website to check the status of your application.
When can I expect an answer?
You will be notified following a full review of your application and accompanying documentation.
How will I be notified that I will receive a grant?
You will be notified via email.
Where will I receive a check?
You will receive a check at the physical address (no P.O. boxes) provided in the Application as the business address.
To whom will checks be issued?
Checks will be issued in the name of the business submitting the application.
Can I appeal or contest a decision?
Yes, an Applicant may appeal an award or disqualification by notifying the Mississippi Development Authority within 10 days of notice of a decision.
Appeals must be written and state with specificity the basis for the Applicant’s disagreement with the decision. Appeals are determined solely on the written record. The appeal must address the grounds provided for the award or the MDA’s disqualification notice. Furthermore, the appeal must provide copies of all documents, records, papers or other information to support the appeal. In addition, all appeals must be dated and contain the Applicant’s name and the name of the authorized Applicant’s representative.
To be accepted, the written appeal must be delivered by one of two methods:
By U.S. mail to the following address:
Mississippi Development Authority
Rental Assistance Grant Program: Appeals
P.O. Box 849
Jackson, MS 39205
Or by courier mail or hand delivery to the following:
Mississippi Development Authority
Rental Assistance Grant Program: Appeals
501 North West Street
Jackson, MS 39201