The Orange County Emergency Rental Assistance program is an income-based program aimed at helping Orange County’s most vulnerable tenants by providing financial assistance to tenants who are past-due on in rent as a result of financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Date & Time
The City of Orlando has depleted its $8.6 million in federal funds dedicated to its Emergency Rental Assistance Program, so Orange County is stepping in to bridge the gap and temporarily offer assistance to Orlando residents from December 8, 2021, until the City begins accepting applications again, which is estimated to be around mid-January 2022.
2. Funding Availability
The funding made available under this program will be used to make direct payments to landlords on behalf of qualifying tenants. Such payments shall:
- Cover a tenant’s documented past-due rent only for the time period beginning on April 1, 2020 and up to three-months prospective rent;
- Assistance is limited to 12 months of arrears for past-due rent and up to three-months of prospective rent (depending on the rental situation), not to exceed the program maximum of $30,000 per household. NOTE: Prospective rent cannot be provided if the amount would exceed the program maximum of $30,000; AND
- Shall not be duplicative of any additional rental assistance received by the tenant or the landlord for the tenant’s past-due rent. Any such duplicative assistance shall be deducted from the program payment amount.
3. Tenant Eligibility
This program is available to tenants who meet all of the following criteria and requirements:
- They are behind in rent for at least one month.
- They meet the program’s residency and location requirements (see: “Residency and Location Requirements” section below).
- Their household income does not exceed 80 percent of Area Median Income (see: “Income Requirements” section below).
- Due to COVID-19, they, or an adult member of their household, qualified for unemployment, had a reduction in household income, incurred significant unreimbursed costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19.
- They are experiencing housing instability.
- The transient rentals tax, also known as the “hotel tax,” does not apply to their rental arrangement with their landlord.
- They agree to comply with the terms and conditions of this program, including the submission of any documentation requested by the County to confirm and verify the program application.
- Room rentals in homeowner occupied or homestead property are not eligible.
Required Tenant Documents
As part of their application, tenants will be required to provide the following:
Proof of Household Income - using one (1) of the following four (4) options:
1) Benefits Letter: Provide documentation showing the household receives benefits from an income-based federal, state, or local government program that uses federal income limits and the benefits were issued on or after January 1, 2020; OR
2) U.S. Census Low-Income Community: Confirm your address is located within a U.S. Census tract identified as a low-moderate income community. Use the ERAP Census Tract Address Lookup to see if your household qualifies to use this option; OR
3) Filed Tax Return/s: Provide a copy of the household’s Form 1040 Tax Return for all adult household members as filed with the IRS for 2020; OR
4) Income for Past 30 Days: Provide verifiable income documentation for the past 30 days for every adult member of the household. Some examples are wage statements, paycheck stubs, unemployment statements, Social Security statements, etc.
Lease: Their fully-executed lease with the landlord showing they are the named primary tenant responsible (in whole or in part) for making rental payments to the landlord for the residential property in question
SSN: Their Social Security Number
Late Notice: A copy of any late notice or eviction notice they received from the landlord
Photo ID: A valid, government-issued photo identification for each adult member of the household
COVID-19 Impact: Documented proof of a direct COVID-19 impact that involuntarily led to a COVID-19-related loss of income for the tenant or an adult household member, as well as any additional documents requested by the County to determine or confirm eligibility
Orange County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program began accepting applications on March 1, 2021 to distribute $33.4 million of federal funds. As of December 3, 2021, the County has approved nearly $14.6 million and kept 2,635 individuals and families in their homes.
Ample notice will be provided to residents when the City of Orlando is ready to launch its next round of rental assistance programming and when Orange County will close their online application to Orlando city residents.
If you know more information about the program, you can leave your comment down here to let more people get it!