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Orange Co. offering up to $10k in relief for residents with past due rent

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From the Orange County Newsroom

The Orange County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program is offering up to $10,000 in relief for residents with past due rent. Currently, more than $1.2 million has been utilized to keep families in their homes.

Residents living in unincorporated Orange County, Apopka, Bay Lake, Belle Isle, Eatonville, Edgewood, Lake Buena Vista, Maitland, Oakland, Ocoee, Windermere, Winter Garden and Winter Park are eligible for the County’s program. The City of Orlando will launch its own program soon.

TO CHECK YOUR ADDRESS AND APPLY: Visit ocfl.net/RentalAssistancefor more information, to check if your address qualifies, and to apply.

Keeping Families in Their Homes

The Orange County Emergency Rental Assistance program is an income-based program aimed at helping Orange County’s most vulnerable tenants by providing one-time assistance to tenants who are past-due in rent as a result of financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will distribute $33.4 million of federal funds to assist eligible Orange County residents.

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 to present;

Not exceed $10,000 or 12 months of past-due rent; 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.

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.

Residency and Location Requirements

Qualifying tenants must be applying for coverage of their past-due rent for a rental property that is:

Their primary residence; and

Located in Orange County, Florida.*

* City of Orlando Exception: As the City of Orlando received its own emergency rental assistance funding allocation from the Federal Government, tenants whose rental properties are located within the City of Orlando’s city limits do not qualify for the County’s program and must instead apply for the City of Orlando Rental Assistance Program.

This exception only applies to rental properties located within the city limits of the City of Orlando. Rental properties located within any of Orange County’s other towns and cities shall qualify as being “located in Orange County, Florida,” for the purposes of this program.

Please note that while a rental property’s address may read “Orlando, Florida,” for mailing purposes, such rental property may still actually be located in unincorporated Orange County and therefore would meet the location requirements for this program. To be certain, please use the address locator tool below to confirm prior to submitting a program application.

Income Requirements

In order for a tenant to qualify for rental assistance under this program, the Federal Government requires that their household income does not exceed the maximum qualifying income levels shown below:

Household Size Maximum Qualifying Annual Income*
1 $42,750
2 $48,850
3 $54,950
4 $61,050
5 $65,950
6 $70,850
7 $75,750
8 $80,600

* The “Maximum Qualifying Annual Income” listed reflects 80 percent of the 2021 Annual Median Income for the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Required Tenant Documents

As part of their application, tenants will be required to provide the following:

A copy of their household’s Form 1040 Tax Return for all adult household members as filed with the IRS for 2020; OR some form of verifiable documentation evidencing every adult member of their household’s previous two months of income (wage statements, paycheck stubs, unemployment statements, social security statements, etc.).

Their fully-executed lease with the landlord, with such lease 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.

Their Social Security Number.

A copy of any late notice or eviction notice they received from the landlord.

A valid, government-issued photo identification for each adult member of the household.

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.

Landlord Eligibility

To be eligible to receive payment pursuant to this program, landlords must meet the following criteria:

They must have eligible tenants (see “Tenant Eligibility” section above).

They must agree to:

Waive all late fees, penalties and interest related to the tenant’s past-due rent; AND

Accept payment made pursuant to this program as full and complete payment by the tenant for all past-due rent and associated fees accrued and owed.

They must agree to, upon acceptance of the program payment:

Release the tenant from any obligation to pay any rent accrued and owed that exceeds the amount of the program payment; AND

Withdraw any eviction and collections actions that they, or one of their agents or associates, filed against the tenant for failure to pay rent and associated fees owed.

They must 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.

Required Landlord Documents

As part of their application, landlords will be required to provide the following:

W-9 or equivalent IRS documentation;

The eligible tenant’s rent statement/history that shows the total amount of rent accrued and owed by the tenant at the time of application.

Any additional documents requested by the County to determine or confirm eligibility.

Visit ocfl.net/RentalAssistance for more information, check your address and apply.

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