RICHMOND, Va. -- A rent relief program took effect during the pandemic to make sure landlords still got their money when tenants couldn't afford to pay rent. Despite the program, some landlords are still finding themselves waiting months for their money.
Troy Kingsbury said he had to wait 15 months to recoup thousands in past due rent from Virginia's rent relief program after being approved. A second case with another tenant took another eight months.
Kingsbury said it's a financial hiccup that not many can afford to deal with. His worries are far from over, however, as he is still waiting to recoup back rent from several other properties he owns.
"Put it this way, I've never in my professional career ever thought about reaching to a television station to seek help. So that's how frustrating that it's gotten," Kingsbury said.
He said his biggest frustration is communicating with Gov2Go, the third-party entity handling the rent relief program.
Virginia's Department of Housing and Community Development transitioned to that portal four months ago.
The Virginia DHCD website said Gov2Go allows tenants and landlords to access the rent relief program from any web-enabled device. Users can check their application status or call the support center with any issues.
However, Kingsbury said that in his experience, it's just not that easy.
"The customer service people that we're speaking with like they even agree with me. And then they put notes in for their supervisor and they request their supervisor to call but we never hear from someone," Kingsbury said. "So every time I get on the phone with them I try to establish a quick little relationship and talk through my issue but it's just not getting anywhere."
Kingsbury said each time he has submitted required tenant pay stubs and balance ledgers, Gov2Go representatives don't review them until months later.
"By the time I get in touch with my tenant, she gets pay stubs. It could be September. So we turn them all in in September. Then they don't get a chance to look at it till October. And then they call it Mr. Kingsbury. We're just now getting a chance to look at it. We need a general ledger through October, we need pay stubs and it's just a vicious cycle. That's on and on," Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury said he has called nearly every week for the past several months to no avail. He believes the program is so backlogged, that it could be another year before he recoups the remaining $16,000 or so.
"So I think a lot of landlords have just put it to the side. And they're just not taking the time to try to collect the money," Kingsbury said.
DHCD representative Alexis Carey told CBS6 Problem Solvers that they are looking into Kingsbury's claim and will reach out to him.
Tenants and landlords should be able to get help through the 833 Rent Relief Support Center, as well as via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.