CA launches rent relief program for tenants, landlords

Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

CALIFORNIA has announced the launch of a statewide COVID-19 rent relief program, intended to help income-eligible households pay rent and utilities, both for arrears and future payment.

Supported by the Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief provides financial assistance to income-qualified tenants experiencing housing instability and provides rent reimbursement to landlords for unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Landlords who participate in the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program can get reimbursed for 80% of an eligible renter’s unpaid rent between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, if they agree to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent during that specific time period.

Requirements include: 1) All payments must be used to satisfy the renter’s unpaid rent for the period between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021; 2) renters must take steps to verify that they meet eligibility requirements and sign the application; and 3) renter’s household income must be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Eligible renters whose landlords choose not to participate in the program may apply on their own and receive 25% of unpaid rent between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Paying this 25% by June 30, 2021 can help keep you in your home under the extended eviction protections in SB 91.

Renters are eligible to apply if one or more individuals in the household meet all the following criteria: 1) Have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to COVID–19; and 2) demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include: a past-due utility or rent notice or eviction notice; unsafe or unhealthy living conditions; or any other evidence of such risk, as determined by the program; and 3) Have a household income that is not more than 80% of the Area Median Income.

They will not be asked about their citizenship or be required to show proof.

Utility assistance

Eligible renters may also receive assistance for unpaid utilities and future payments.

Unpaid utilities accumulated from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 will be compensated at 100% of cost, limited to a total of 12 months.

Applications must include all required information, along with necessary verification items.

Once an application has been successfully processed, both the landlord and renter will be notified about the application status.

The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program is not on a first come, first served basis.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis. For all applications received, the state will first review and commit funds to applicants who are eligible and meet the priority requirement having income at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) to ensure those most in need receive assistance.

Resources and application information are available at HousingIsKey.com. A CA COVID-19 Rent Relief call center is available to get help answering eligibility questions, for application assistance, and to provide information on local assistance. The call center may be reached by calling (833) 430-2122 between 7 am and 7 pm daily. (AJPress)

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