Orange County, FL Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Tenants who are past-due on their rent as a result of financial hardships caused by the high cost of living may be eligible for financial assistance through the Orange County Emergency Rental Assistance program, which 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 their rent.
The program will distribute $33.4 million in federal funds to eligible Orange County residents who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.
Availability of financial resources
The funds made available through this program will be used to make direct payments to landlords on behalf of tenants who meet the program’s qualifications. The following are the terms of such payments:
- The tenant’s documented past-due rent and up to three months’ prospective rent will be covered only for the period beginning on April 1, 2020, and not for any other time.
- Assistance is limited to 12 months of past-due rent arrears and up to three months of prospective rent (depending on the rental situation), with a maximum of $30,000 in assistance available per household. Please keep in mind that prospective rent cannot be provided if the amount exceeds the program’s maximum of $30,000; AND
- Any additional rental assistance received by the tenant or the landlord for the tenant’s past-due rent will not be considered duplicative of any other rental assistance. Any such duplicative assistance will be deducted from the total amount of the program’s payment.
Eligibility for a Tenant
Tenants who meet all of the following criteria and requirements are eligible to participate in this program:
- Their rent has been unpaid for at least one month at this point.
- They meet the residency and location requirements of the program (see the section below titled “Residency and Location Requirements” for more information).
- As described in the “Income Requirements” section below, their household income does not exceed 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
- In response to the high cost of living, they or an adult member of their household qualified for unemployment benefits experienced a decrease in household income, incurred significant unreimbursed costs, or experienced other financial hardship as a result of the high cost of living.
- They are experiencing difficulties with their housing.
- The transient rentals tax, also known as the “hotel tax,” does not apply to their rental agreement with their landlord, which is a relief from the burden of the tax.
- As part of this agreement, they agree to comply with all of the program’s terms and conditions, including providing the County with any documentation that may be required to confirm and verify the program application.
- Room rentals in a homeowner’s occupied or homestead property are ineligible for this program.
Residency and geographic restrictions apply.
Applicants for coverage of past-due rent on a rental property that meets the following criteria must apply:
- Their primary place of residence
- Located in the county of Orange in Florida; and
- The property is located outside of the city of Orlando.
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 is because the City of Orlando received its emergency rental assistance funding allocation from the Federal Government.
This exception is only applicable to rental properties located within the city limits of the City of Orlando and does not apply to any other properties. Rental properties located within any of Orange County’s other towns and cities will be considered to be “located in Orange County, Florida” for this program if they are “located in Orange County, Florida.”
Remember that even though a rental property’s mailing address may read “Orlando, Florida,” the rental property may actually be located in unincorporated Orange County and thus meet the program’s location requirements although the address reads “Orlando, Florida.” Please use the above address locator tool to double-check before submitting a program application to be certain that the address is correct.
Minimum Earnings Requirements
A tenant’s household income must not exceed the maximum qualifying income levels listed below for them to be eligible for rental assistance under this program, according to the Federal Government.
|Maximum Qualifying Annual Income*
In the table above, the “Maximum Qualifying Annual Income” represents 80% of the 2021 Annual Median Income for the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Tenant Documents That Must Be Obtained
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:
- Documentation showing that the household receives benefits from a federal, state, or local government program that is based on federal income limits and that the benefits were issued on or after January 1, 2020; OR Provide documentation demonstrating that the household receives benefits from a federal, state, or local government program that is based on federal income limits and that the benefits were issued on or after January 1, 2020.
- Low-Income Community as defined by the United States Census Bureau: Confirm that your address is within a United States Census tract that has been designated as a low-moderate income community. Alternatively, you can use the ERAP Census Tract Address Lookup to determine whether your household qualifies for this option; OR
- Provide a copy of the household’s Form 1040 Tax Return for all adult household members, as filed with the Internal Revenue Service for the year 2020; OR
- Income Documentation for the Previous 30 Days: For each adult member of the household, provide verifiable income documentation for the previous 30 days. Wage statements, paycheck stubs, unemployment statements, Social Security statements, and other similar documents are examples.
They must have a fully executed lease with the landlord demonstrating that they are the named primary tenant who is responsible (in whole or in part) for making rental payments to the landlord for the residential property under consideration.
It is their Social Security Number (or SSN).
Late Notice: A copy of any late notice or eviction notice they may have received from their landlord is required.
Photo identification: Each adult member of the household must have a valid, government-issued photo identification card.
A documented proof of a direct high cost of living impact that resulted in an involuntary 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 for the high cost of living program.
Applicants who are experiencing difficulties uploading documents to their online application or who are unable to upload documents to their online application may bring their documents to one of the Orange County Community Centers listed below, which are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This option is only available to applicants who have completed and submitted an online application. (PLEASE NOTE: This option is only available to applicants who have completed and submitted an online application.)
Requirements for this option:
- You must personally deliver the required documents to the Community Center for staff to copy them and return the originals to you.
- Employees are unable to accept your documents unless you have completed and submitted your online application previously.
- You must include your application number in the body of each document that you submit, or the documents will not be considered for acceptance.
Documents Delivery Locations:
East Orange Community Center – 12050 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32826 (map)
Holden Heights Community Center – 1201 20th St., Orlando, FL 32805 (map)
John H. Bridges Community Center – 445 W. 13th St., Apopka, FL 32703 (map)
Pine Hills Community Center – 6408 Jennings Rd., Orlando, FL 32818 (map)
Taft Community Center – 9450 S. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32824 (map)
It is NOT possible to accept documents at a delivery location unless an online application for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has been completed and submitted. Please contact the Orange County Government Information Help Line at (407) 836-3111 or dial 311 if you have any questions.
The following are the requirements that landlords must meet to be eligible to receive payment under this program:
- They must have eligible tenants (see the section above on “Tenant Eligibility”).
- They must consent to it.
- Waive any court, eviction, and legal fees, as well as any penalties and interest associated with the tenant’s past-due rent.
- Accept the payment made by the tenant by this program as complete payment for all past-due rent and associated fees that have accrued and are owed to the landlord.
- They must agree to pay the program fee upon acceptance of the program.
- In addition, the tenant will be relieved of any obligation to pay any rent that has accrued and is owed more than the amount of the program payment; AND
- Request that they or one of their agents or associates withdraw any eviction and collection actions that they or one of their agents or associates filed against the tenant for failure to pay rent and associated fees owed.
- To be eligible for this program, they must agree to abide by its terms and conditions, which include submitting any documentation requested by the County to confirm and verify the program application.
- Residential real estate, as well as homeowner-occupied rentals, are not eligible.
Required Landlord Documents
Among the information that landlords will be required to provide is the information listed below.
- W-9 or equivalent IRS documentation;
- The eligible tenant’s rent statement/history 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.