Landlord & Tenant Program assists with up to $4,000 in past due rent, but important steps must be followed in application process

From the Orange County Newsroom

The Orange County Eviction Diversion Program launched on Tuesday morning, August 25, and sent out a press release today with an important message to all applicants:

APPLICANTS DO NOT MISS THESE STEPS

1) Applicants must be in imminent danger of being evicted to be eligible for the program. They must provide written notice of eviction threat in prescreening.

2) Tenants who do not have a written notice of eviction from their landlords CANNOT apply without a landlord’s invitation email.

3) This program is driven by the landlord. Regardless of the tenant filling out a pre-screening or not, the landlord MUST invite the tenant to submit a full application AFTER the landlord has fulfilled an application. The tenant will need the landlord’s case number in order to submit their application.

APPLICATION PROCESS STATISTICS

As of 12 pm on Wednesday the total number of Tenant applicants in the pre-screening stage was at 1,145. These are tenants who were given some form of written notice by their landlord.

Pre-screens in Progress: 553

Pre-screens Submitted: 522

Pre-screens under review by the Bar to then outreach to Landlords: 33

Landlords Contacted: 37

The total number of Landlord applications by noon on Wednesday (those Landlords who initiated the process) stood at 316, with 249 applications in progress, and 67 applications submitted.

As of noon, there was just one Landlord and Tenant whose pre-screens matched.

WHAT IS THE EVICTION DIVERSION PROGRAM?

In an effort to help curb the onslaught of possible evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program . The $20 million program launched on August 25, 2020, and is funded by the Federal CARES Act monies that are allotted locally. Of the $20 million allocated, $5.7 million is from the Florida Housing CARES Act- Coronavirus Relief Funds.

The income-based program is designed to help our most vulnerable tenants who are in
imminent danger of eviction due to COVID-19 and provides the property owner with an
alternative to eviction. The Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program will provide up to $4,000 in past due rent.

“COVID-19 adds a lot of stress to our lives. One thing I don’t want our Orange County residents – especially the very low and low income – is to have to worry about being evicted from their homes,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “This new assistance program will help our residents stay afloat during this unprecedented time.”

The COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program is a partnership with the Orange County Bar
Association, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida and local legal assistance nonprofit
agencies. The Orange County Bar Association will administer the program and process all
applications. Orange County Government will finalize applications, and the Orange County
Comptroller will provide payment directly to the landlords.

The application is available at the online portal on Orange County’s website at
www.ocfl.net/EvictionDiversion. The tenant or landlord can initiate the application process;
however, both must agree to participate. Program details will be posted on the Orange County Cares Act website in the coming week. The tenant eligibility criteria are listed below.

The tenant eligibility criteria include:

 Orange County resident

 Property is the tenant’s primary residence

 Lease is in the tenant’s name and responsible for paying a portion or the full amount

 One or more members of the household experienced a documented, involuntary loss of
income that occurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency

 Date of job loss, reduction in employment hours or pay occurred between March 13
(Orange County Stay at Home Order Issued) and September 1, 2020

 Must have received an eviction notice, letter from their landlord to participate in the
program or referral from the court

 At least two months behind in rent

 No other person in the household has applied for or will apply for the Orange County
Eviction Diversion Program

 Required to certify their household income prior to and after April 1

 Eligibility is income-based with a focus on very low and low income

 Demonstrates ability to pay rent after arrears are paid by Orange County

Fliers in English, Creole and Spanish

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