Lake County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program provided Lake County with funds to assist eligible households who were unable to pay their rent and utilities as a result of the epidemic. The following website provides general information about this Federal program: Emergency Rental Assistance Program | Department of the Treasury of the United States
For rental assistance, Lake County has set aside $9 million, with an additional $1 million set aside for utility assistance. Click on the Apply button at the bottom of this page if you would like to submit an application for rental assistance.
DETAILS OF THE PROGRAM, ELIGIBILITY AND AWARD AMOUNTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
The maximum amount of rental assistance that can be awarded to a household is $15,000. The maximum amount of utility assistance that can be awarded to a household is $1,000.
- Qualified households may be eligible to receive up to 15 months of back rent, plus the current month’s rent, if they meet the requirements. When the ERA application is submitted, all eligible applicants will receive an additional three months of prospective rent (prepaid rent), which will be applied toward their rent. Click on the Apply button at the bottom of this page if you would like to submit an application for rental assistance.
- A household’s eligibility for assistance is determined by the amount of past-due utility bills plus the amount of current month’s utility charges that the household has accrued.
- Only costs incurred after the household’s COVID-19 financial hardship date will be eligible for reimbursement under the program’s guidelines. Example: If one of the household members became unemployed in December and the household’s rent has been past due since May, the Applicant will only be eligible for assistance with past due rent incurred in December and subsequent months after becoming unemployed (past due rent for the months of May to November will be ineligible).
- In order to qualify, the applicant must reside in Lake County, and the leased premises must serve as the applicant’s primary home.
- The applicant must be contractually obligated to pay rent. It is necessary to have a written lease with terms and conditions. Both the tenant and the landlord must sign the lease agreement. In order to be included in a lease, the following terms must be included: the landlord’s name and address, the tenant’s name and address, the start and end dates, the amount of rent, the frequency of payment (monthly, weekly, etc.), any clauses related to non-compliance with lease terms (for example, a termination/eviction clause), where/how rent is to be paid and to whom. Other allowable fees must be specified in detail in the lease agreement in order to be considered eligible.
- Rental obligations must be past due, and the failure to pay rent must be the result of a loss of income as a result of COVID-19.
- The Applicant must demonstrate that the household is at risk of becoming homeless or experiencing housing instability by providing a Lake County Rental Ledger demonstrating that the Applicant’s housing costs have fallen behind schedule. The landlord must sign and date this form before it can be used. To access the Lake County Rental Ledger Form, please visit this page. Please call (352) 742-6539 for assistance if you have a disability and need assistance completing this form; if you are deaf and/or hard of hearing, call 711 or (352) 253-1840 for assistance.
- The total household income for the calendar year 2020 must be equal to or less than 80 percent of the area median income for Lake County in order to qualify. It will be necessary to add together the adjusted gross income (IRS Form 1040 Line 11) for each household member who received income during the calendar year 2020 in order to calculate the total household income for 2020. You can find income limits by household size in the following chart, which is divided into sections for each county in the state of Michigan: Income restrictions of up to 80%.
1) Landlords are not permitted to reside in the same unit as tenants (s).
2) There are no verbal leases permitted.
3) Roommates may apply, but they will be assessed as a single household, and income tax returns (IRS Form 1040) will be required for all members of the household who received income during the calendar year 2020 (including roommates).
THE DOCUMENTATION/INFORMATION THAT IS REQUIRED
1) A written lease with terms and conditions that is signed by both the landlord and the tenant is required. In order to be included in a lease, the following terms must be included: the landlord’s name and address, the tenant’s name and address, the start and end dates, the amount of rent, the frequency of payment (monthly, weekly, etc.), any clauses related to non-compliance with lease terms (for example, a termination/eviction clause), where/how rent is to be paid and to whom. Other allowable fees must be specified in detail in the lease agreement in order to be considered eligible.
2) The mailing address, phone number, and email address of the landlord.
3) For each adult in the household, complete the following:
- Government-issued identification card
- Mail sent by the government to link household members to the leased property address AND to the leased property owner.
- A completed 2020 Tax Return (Form 1040) for each adult household member who received income during the calendar year 2020 (if married filing jointly, only one copy of the return is required; however, both adults must be listed on the joint return if married filing separately). Tax returns that are mailed or faxed must be signed. Applications for electronic filing will require the applicant to submit Form 8879 or an electronic confirmation page from the tax preparation and filing software/organization in order to be considered.
4) For each minor child in the household, documentation that establishes a link between the child and the household (the documentation must include the child’s name and the address of the household). Here are a few illustrations:
- The child who is listed on the tax return
- DCF benefit statement should be addressed to the child’s name (SNAP, Medicaid, etc.)
- Medical documentation
- Official school documentation that includes the minor child’s name and the address of the leased property
5) Lake County Rental Ledger Form, which shows charges, payments, and balances due for each month in the rental agreement. The landlord must sign and date this form before it can be used.
6) The primary applicant’s gender, race, and ethnicity. This information will only be used for reporting purposes and will not be shared with anyone. However, this information is required by the federal grantor, and it will not be considered during the decision-making process.
There is no first-come, first-served policy in place for this program. If an application does not qualify for at least one of the priority groups listed below, the processing of the application may be slowed down. According to federal regulations, applications must be prioritized in the following ways:
- Families with total household income equal to or less than 50 percent of the area median income for Lake County are considered low-income. You can find income limits by household size in the following chart, which is divided into sections for each county in the state of Michigan: Income Limits are set at 50% of the gross income.
- Households in which one or more members are unemployed as of the application date and have not been employed for the 90-day period preceding the application date
Household Member: Persons who live in the household other than a live-in aide are referred to as “other residents” (someone who is not obligated for the support of a household member). Included are: the head of household, his or her spouse, co-head, another adult, dependents, full-time students over the age of 18, and foster children under the age of 18.
Allowable Property Types: Single-family homes, multi-family homes, apartments, manufactured homes, condominiums, co-operatives, and other types of housing rented under contract for a specific period of time are all examples of contract-rental housing.
Rent: It is the amount of money that a household is contractually obligated to pay on a regular basis to the owner of a piece of property or an apartment complex Included in the rental costs are the following: base rent, late fees, manufactured home lot rental, non-itemized utility expenses, and pet fees. The costs associated with the lease must be specified in the lease agreement. Security deposits are not included in the calculation of rent.
Utilities: In the case of rental property, utilities and home energy costs are separately itemized charges that are associated with the occupancy of the property. As a result, utilities include separately stated electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal, and energy costs, such as fuel oil, among other things. Telephone, cable, and Internet services delivered to the rental dwelling are not considered to be utilities under the definition of the term. Utilities covered by the landlord and included in the rent will be considered rent.
Income: The components of Adjusted Gross Income, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. Included in income are wages, unemployment benefits (including pandemic-related emergency unemployment compensation), alimony, taxable distributions from an individual retirement account (IRA), business profits, and other similar sources of income.
Unemployment: Unemployment compensation is a payment made to an unemployed person by the government or labor union. For example, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and state Reemployment Assistance are all types of disaster assistance.
QUESTIONS THAT ARE REGULARLY ASKED
Please see our FAQ page for answers to frequently asked questions.